Plex Inc.

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Plex Inc.
Company typePrivate
FoundedDecember 2009; 14 years ago (2009-12)
FounderElan Feingold, Cayce Ullman, Scott Olechowski
HeadquartersCampbell, CA, U.S.
Key people
  • Keith Valory
  • (president and CEO)
ProductsClient–server software, streaming media
Number of employees
≈ 100 (2019)
Websiteplex.tv

Plex Inc. is an American software company that runs its namesake ad-supported streaming media service that provides television shows and movies to users worldwide, and allows them to discuss and discover content across all major subscription streaming services. Plex also develops media server software and a series of apps that allows users to stream their personal media collections from their servers to their various devices. Plex Inc. is based in Campbell, California.[1]

History[edit]

Plex began as a freeware hobby project in December 2007 when developer Elan Feingold created a media center application for his Mac by porting the media player XBMC (since renamed Kodi) to Mac OS X.[2] Around the same time, Cayce Ullman and Scott Olechowski—software executives who had recently sold their previous company to Cisco—were also looking to port XBMC to Mac OS X, and noticed Feingold's progress in the XBMC online forums. They contacted him and offered support and funding, and they formed a three-person team in January 2008.[3][4]

The team released early versions of the port, called OSXBMC,[5] intended for eventual full integration into Mac OS X.[2] The developers continued collaborating with the Linux-based XBMC project until May 21, 2008. Due to different goals from the XBMC team, they forked the code that became Plex, and published it on GitHub. The OSXBMC code was kept roughly in sync with the upstream XBMC code.[6] In July 2008, the project was renamed Plex, which the developers said was chosen because "it evokes 'cineplex' and the suffix means 'comprising a number of parts'".[7]

In December 2009, Plex, Inc. was incorporated with Ullman as CEO and Feingold as chief technology officer.[8][9][10][11] At that time, Plex had 130 apps, the most popular of which were viewers for iTunes movies trailers, YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, MTV music videos, BBC iPlayer and Vimeo. Feingold said Plex apps had been downloaded about one million times.[5][12] Keith Valory became president and CEO in 2013.[13]

As of July 2016, Plex had 65 employees.[14] In December 2019, Plex launched an ad-supported streaming service of movies and television shows from content sources including Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, MGM, Lionsgate, Regency Enterprises and Legendary.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22] As of August 2019, Plex had about 100 global employees.[23]

Plex Media Server[edit]

Plex Media Server
Initial release2008; 16 years ago (2008)
Stable release
Server: v.1.40.2.8395-c67dce28e (April 18, 2024; 4 days ago (2024-04-18)[24]) [±]
Operating system
Platformx86, ARM
Available in43 (server) languages[25]
TypeMedia server and player
License
Websiteplex.tv

Plex Media Server (PMS) is free software that allows users to create a client–server for movies, television shows, and music. Free Plex accounts can share personal media libraries among a user's own collection of devices or with friends. Plex Media Server organizes movie and television content and adds posters, plot summaries, cast and crew lists, technical details, critical reviews, and subtitles. Plex Media Server is also capable of transcoding files if the codec is incompatible with the device playing the media.[26] Plex does not support DVD and Blu-ray disk images and menus, saying, "these formats just don't fit into the idea behind the Plex ecosystem."[27] Plex Media Server can run on Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD, some NAS devices, some Netgear routers and the Nvidia Shield TV.[28][29] For music content, it can automatically organize files by metadata tags such as title, artist, album, genre, year, and popularity.[30][31][32] It can also acquire content from iTunes, iPhoto, Aperture and the Internet.[33][34][35]

Plex Web App is a browser-based interface for users to manage libraries, server settings, and watch content.

A Plex Media Server can function as a home theater PC and can stream content to Plex's front-end media player client applications that run on a myriad of devices and web browsers.[36][37][38] The media player applications are Plex, Plex Web App, Plexamp, and Plex Dash, which allow the user to manage and play content from a Plex server.[39][40] The Plex app is the successor to the Plex Media Player, and runs on a multitude of platforms including Android, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, Roku OS, iOS, iPadOS, PlayStation, Sonos, Oculus Go, webOS, Tizen, Windows, Xbox, and macOS. Player applications on computers and Smart TV platforms are free of charge, while the apps on iPhone, iPad and Android phones and tablets require a one-time $5 activation fee to stream from a server.[41] Plex's apps largely relied on the native video player and supported codecs of the streaming device's operating system. In 2018, Plex began rolling out a media player based on mpv to support additional codecs.[42]

Plex also offers Plex Pass, an optional paid-subscription service that adds additional features to its server software and player apps such as mobile synchronization, metadata fetching for music, multi-user support, parental controls, over-the-top live TV and DVR, trailers, extras, and cross-selling offers.[43]

In 2016, Plex launched Plex Cloud for Plex Pass subscribers, which supported cloud-based servers. Plex's launch partner was Amazon, and the service was compatible with Amazon Cloud Drive.[44] Users were critical of the service, noting that Amazon seemed to impose upload limits.[45] The service also supported OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive. The service was discontinued in November 2018 amid technical problems and concerns of pirated content.[46]

Plex Media Server has often been associated with pirated content. In 2019, The Verge headlined that Plex "makes piracy just another streaming service".[47]

Streaming media[edit]

In 2019, Plex introduced an ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) streaming service and free-to-stream live TV channels.[48][49] Its content partners include Warner Bros. Television Studios,[50] MGM, Lionsgate, Legendary, Crackle, Endemol Shine, Shout! Studios, Regency Enterprises, Kidoodle TV and A24.[51][52] Plex can also be used as a client for Tidal and hosts podcasts.[53] In 2022, Plex added a "Discovery" feature which aggregates content from other streaming media sources.[54] As of 2023, Plex had 16 million active monthly streaming users.[55]

In 2020, Plex announced that it would introduce a movie and television show rental marketplace.[56] Its movie rental service launched in February 2024.[57]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Plex (April 14, 2021). "Streaming Media Platform Plex Raises $50 Million in Growth Equity to Become the One-Stop-Shop for Movies and TV". GlobeNewswire News Room (Press release). Retrieved May 19, 2023.
  2. ^ a b "Interview with the OSXBMC Developers – Automated Home". April 29, 2008. Archived from the original on August 22, 2016. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  3. ^ "Behind the App: The Story of Plex". Lifehacker. July 30, 2014. Archived from the original on April 11, 2021. Retrieved March 20, 2021.
  4. ^ "Scott Olechowski Inventions, Patents and Patent Applications - Justia Patents Search". patents.justia.com. Archived from the original on July 6, 2022. Retrieved March 20, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "CrunchGear Interview: We talk to the lead developer of Plex Media Center for Mac OS X: It was doing Boxee-like stuff before Boxee was cool". January 15, 2010. Archived from the original on June 20, 2010. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  6. ^ "XBMC for Mac forked for a separate project called PLEX (formerly known as "OSXBMC")". May 23, 2008. Archived from the original on August 21, 2009. Retrieved March 13, 2009.
  7. ^ "Announcing Plex". Plex. July 5, 2008. Retrieved May 20, 2023.
  8. ^ Stephen, Bijan (July 23, 2019). "Plex makes piracy just another streaming service". The Verge. Archived from the original on November 6, 2019. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  9. ^ "Plex, Inc. Company Profile - Bloomberg Markets". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on July 27, 2020. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  10. ^ "Happy Holidays from Plex! – Plex". December 24, 2010. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  11. ^ "Laika Revealed – Plex". October 28, 2011. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  12. ^ Anderson, Kevin (October 7, 2009). "Thinking inside the box". Guardian. Archived from the original on June 5, 2016. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  13. ^ "Executive Bios". Plex. Retrieved May 19, 2023.
  14. ^ "About Plex – Media Server – Media Streaming Server". Archived from the original on August 4, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  15. ^ Salkowitz, Rob. "With Warner Bros Partnership, Plex Looks To Flex Its Media Muscles". Forbes. Archived from the original on July 8, 2020. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  16. ^ "Plex partners with Lionsgate to expand its ad-supported video library". TechCrunch. September 18, 2019. Archived from the original on July 8, 2020. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  17. ^ "Plex Is Making Itself Impossible to Ignore as a Go-To Streaming Service". Gizmodo. January 8, 2020. Archived from the original on May 14, 2020. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
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  19. ^ Hern, Alex (March 23, 2020). "10 streaming services to help get you through self-isolation". Newsweek. Archived from the original on April 13, 2020. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  20. ^ Ricker, Thomas (November 29, 2018). "Plex now streams cheap Tidal music subscriptions". The Verge. Archived from the original on April 17, 2019. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  21. ^ "Plex will stream free, ad-supported Warner Bros. movies and TV shows". Engadget. August 29, 2019. Archived from the original on September 6, 2019. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  22. ^ Roettgers, Janko (August 29, 2019). "Inside Plex's Quest to Become a One-Stop Shop for Digital Media". Variety. Archived from the original on December 3, 2019. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  23. ^ Roettgers, Janko (August 29, 2019). "Inside Plex's Quest to Become a One-Stop Shop for Digital Media". Variety. Archived from the original on April 22, 2021. Retrieved March 20, 2021.
  24. ^ "Media Server Downloads". Plex. Retrieved April 18, 2024.
  25. ^ "PlexMediaServer Translations - Get Localization". Archived from the original on October 8, 2014. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  26. ^ "Transcoding Media". Plex Support. Retrieved May 20, 2023.
  27. ^ "Why are ISO, VIDEO_TS, and other Disk Image Formats Not Supported?". Plex Support. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  28. ^ "Best Media Streaming Devices - Live streaming apps powered by Plex". Archived from the original on January 17, 2023. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  29. ^ "How do I set up my Plex Media Server on my Nighthawk X10 R9000 router?". NETGEAR KB. Retrieved June 6, 2023.
  30. ^ "Identifying Music Media Using Embedded Metadata – Plex". Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  31. ^ "Adding Music Media From Folders – Plex". Archived from the original on August 9, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  32. ^ "What metadata can an m4a file hold and how do I get at it?". August 25, 2015. Archived from the original on January 17, 2023. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  33. ^ "Plex 7 Adds iTunes and iPhoto Support and More". November 11, 2008. Archived from the original on July 6, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  34. ^ "Plex media center adds Aperture support, continues to shine – 9to5Mac". November 25, 2008. Archived from the original on August 27, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  35. ^ "Frankly my trailer, I don't give a playlist – Plex". July 31, 2014. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  36. ^ "Plex Media Server | 2021 Plex Pass Cost, Pricing, Plans & Free Trial". Cordcutting.com. October 15, 2016. Archived from the original on February 6, 2021. Retrieved March 20, 2021.
  37. ^ "What Is Plex?". PCMAG. Archived from the original on April 11, 2021. Retrieved March 20, 2021.
  38. ^ "Plex Terms of Service – Plex Media Server". Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
  39. ^ "Media software maker Plex launches new subscriber-only apps for music and server management". TechCrunch. April 16, 2020. Archived from the original on January 17, 2023. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  40. ^ "A Plex/Web Update – Plex". November 16, 2012. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  41. ^ "What is Plex Pass, anyway?". TechHive. Retrieved May 19, 2023.
  42. ^ Hollington, Jesse (December 6, 2018). "Plex begins rolling out Enhanced Video Player in Apple TV and iOS apps". iLounge. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  43. ^ "What Is Plex Pass? 10 Features Worth Paying For In 2020". AndroidPCReview. July 15, 2020. Archived from the original on April 14, 2021. Retrieved March 20, 2021.
  44. ^ Perez, Sarah (September 26, 2016). "Plex partners with Amazon to launch a hardware-free media server, Plex Cloud". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 19, 2023.
  45. ^ Perez, Sarah (December 2, 2016). "Amazon isn't playing nice with Plex's new cloud service". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 19, 2023.
  46. ^ Roettgers, Janko (September 11, 2018). "Plex Shuts Down Its Cloud Service". Variety. Retrieved May 19, 2023.
  47. ^ Stephen, Bijan (July 23, 2019). "Plex makes piracy just another streaming service". The Verge. Retrieved May 19, 2023.
  48. ^ April 2020, Marshall Honorof 26. "What is Plex? Everything you need to know". Tom's Guide. Archived from the original on March 1, 2021. Retrieved March 20, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  49. ^ Welch, Chris (December 4, 2019). "Plex launches its free movie and TV streaming service". The Verge. Retrieved May 19, 2023.
  50. ^ "Plex is launching its own ad-supported video service, starting with content from Warner Bros. TV". TechCrunch. August 29, 2019. Archived from the original on January 17, 2023. Retrieved March 20, 2021.
  51. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 25, 2020). "Atari VCS Will Offer Streaming Service Plex Following Game Console's November Launch". Deadline. Archived from the original on February 27, 2021. Retrieved March 20, 2021.
  52. ^ Harley, Nick (July 13, 2022). "The Best A24 Movies Streaming on Plex in July". Den of Geek. Retrieved May 19, 2023.
  53. ^ Perez, Sarah (November 29, 2018). "Plex teams with TIDAL to bring a discounted streaming music subscription to its media app". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 19, 2023.
  54. ^ Clark, Mitchell (April 6, 2022). "Plex's latest beta features can help you navigate every streaming service you have". The Verge. Retrieved May 20, 2023.
  55. ^ Plex. "Plex Closes Year with Billions of Minutes Watched; Doubles YOY Viewership". www.prnewswire.com (Press release). Retrieved June 3, 2023.
  56. ^ Perez, Sarah (January 5, 2023). "Streamer Plex finally ready to launch a TV and movie rentals marketplace". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 19, 2023.
  57. ^ Purdy, Kevin (February 8, 2024). "Plex, where people typically avoid Hollywood fees, now offers movie rentals". Ars Technica. Retrieved April 5, 2024.

External links[edit]