Well, it’s been a little while since we brought you the previous Most Requested Plex Feature Ever (trailers and extras), and as it turns out in the intervening months a new contender has taken the crown.
Luckily, we never stop working to bring you, our community of loyal Plexians, the features that matter most. Sometimes it takes a little longer than we’d like, but we’re big believers in doing things right. Like a fine wine, we’ve had this one aging in French oak barrels for over two years, and we think it’s just about ready to bottle up and ship out to our loyal Plex Passers. Grab a glass and read on.
Plex started over seven years ago. It’s easy for me to measure because Plex was born just three months after I got married, so basically if I forget how old Plex is I end up sleeping on the couch. It’s a comfortable couch, but not exactly on AirBnB, if you catch my drift.
Now seven years is a long time, and not just if you’re stuck in Tibet. That’s enough time for a pimply-faced teenager to become the parent of his or her very own three-year-old who knows how to use Plex.
With all this power, however, comes great responsibility. “I don’t think my kid is ready for the old ultra-violence, how can I stop him from finding A Clockwork Orange!?” you asked. “My husband is allergic to Daleks!” you exclaimed. “Please, Plex, give me a place to stash my goat pr0n!” you bleated. Well, whatever your reason, we realize this feature is an absolute must-have for many of you.
And although it’s been over two years since the insanely popular feature request was initially posted on our forums (I’m looking at you MTII), I’m happy to announce that parental controls and more are available today in the form of an awesome feature we like to call Plex Home. And now we’d like to walk you though it.
Plex Home is, at its core, an acknowledgement that no man is an island, and no woman is a peninsula. After the Great Recession, all the Millennials moved back home with their Plex installs, and now spend their waking life watching Weeds and trying to keep their little brothers out of their Anime collections. So we set out to make Plex a better place for families with fine-grained access controls by moving all the server management inside the web app, and allowing you to easily specify the exact content ratings accessible by all your friends and family.
Now that alone that would be worthy of much rejoicing, but we really wanted to take this to the next level. We wanted to allow even finer-grained control over sharing, and we’ve added a flexible sharing mechanism via labels which allows you to share exactly what you want. For example, you can share individual photos with your parents, or just a few Arcade Fire albums with your hipster friend who will mock you for your Coldplay collection (no, trust us, he will).
Another really important part of being in a home with multiple family members is that creating accounts should be really easy, especially for the younger ones in your household, who may not even have an email address of their own yet. So we’ve added managed users, which are incredibly simple to create, and don’t require a unique username, email address, or password.
Now that you’ve created accounts for everyone from Sneezy to Drooly, we wanted to make it really easy to jump between accounts, so we added fast user switching. Note that you can also set PIN protection for any user too!
Another thing you’ve told us is that everyone in your home should be able to use the apps which come with a Plex Pass without further ado. It was frustrating to use a separate account for a family member, only to discover that they couldn’t use the Roku app without paying for it. So we’re working on fixing that: with a Plex Pass, everyone in your Plex Home will get access to the same apps you do. We’ve already submitted an update to the Roku app, and we’re in the process of updating others.
That’s not all. As of today, even if you don’t have a Plex Pass (and really, why wouldn’t you?), we’ve made Multiuser and Now Playing free for everyone. So now everyone you share with gets their own view history, and you can see what’s being streamed, in real time! Finer-grained sharing, multiuser Homes, and fast user switching are still limited to Plex Pass holders, so if you like what you see, pick one up today!
So how do you start using Plex Home today? Very simple:
- Download the latest v0.9.11.4 Plex Media Server release (or if you’re on Windows or OS X, use our brand new auto-update mechanism inside server settings!)
- Use one of the apps which has been updated for Plex Home support: Plex Home Theater, Roku, and of course the web app.
- Make a Plex Home, as described in our excellent support section.
We’ll be adding Plex Home support to our other apps in short order!
Barkley is most definitely in my Plex Home.