Google’s ChromeCast device has just got a whole lot more useful with a swathe of new apps supporting the $35 wireless media player. Key amongst those new apps supporting the device is — in our opinion — support for home media player Plex.
There are a few requirements to use Plex with a Chromecast, however, and at the moment the main one is that you must have a Plex Pass subscription, which costs a few dollars each month. However, for this, you get the convenience of being able to stream anything you have on a Plex server straight to your television.
The setup is easy. Simply open Plex on your Android device, and it will detect your Plex Media Server. If you’ve set it up well, you’ll then see all your movies and TV shows display on your Android handset, and pre-Chromecast, you’d select a media item, press play, and watch it on the small screen.
Now, simply press the familiar ‘Cast’ button on the action bar, and your Chromecast will display the screen shown above. Select your media item, press play, and voila, it will start playing on your TV! The process couldn’t be easier, and in testing this morning with a couple of different shows, the format matters not — Plex Media Server will transcode anything that requires it in order for your Chromecast to play it.
For those considering (or who may already have) a media centre PC attached to their television, the Chromecast makes a very cheap and stupidly-easy way to get your (legally acquired) movies and television shows straight from your server to your TV. This, to me, is the killer app for Chromecast.
Plex is adding Chromecast support to its iOS, Android and web apps, all of which offer access to local content, online video channels and personal media backed up to the cloud. However, for the moment, only video casting is supported, but Plex assures us that support for music and photos is on the roadmap and will be coming soon.
We also note that most features rolled out to paying PlexPass members usually end up being available to free users soon after.. so if you’re worried about having to pay for this feature, rest assured you probably won’t need to pay for it for very long.