Um. Suffice it to say that a lot has happened since we last blogged a few months back. This may not be your typical Plex blog post, but it’ll probably be one of the least crazy things to happen today.
Quite a few of you have reached out to share how much Plex has helped over the past weeks and how it fits in to your shelter-in-place regimen, whether it’s keeping kids from tearing each other’s hair out, or keeping family and friends fed with a steady stream of media to pass the time. To be clear, we’re on the far fringes of being able to make a meaningful contribution to returning things to normal. While we’re not working on the cure*, we’re incredibly honored to know that we’re working on something that may make the mitigation a little more tolerable for all of you. It gives us a renewed sense of purpose. We won’t let you down.
Days Hours Minutes Later
This isn’t a Hands Across America sort of post—no false platitudes. For us, the reason we built Plex was that we always loved getting lost in stories. Movies and TV shows, documentaries and anime, old favorites as well as wild new experiences. To share a personal guilty pleasure, in times like this we’re comforted by watching really bad, really stupid, “c’mon you can’t be seriously watching that” comedies. Other people curl up with a good zombie movie. Others binge all the reality shows that seemed so trite before but now just might be able to deliver a much-needed moment of zen. Whatever your go-to jam is, we hope you get a chance to take a break every now and again. Okay! Now on to the rest of our blog.
First, if you’re an educator quickly adapting to online classes, Plex might be able to help
To be clear, this is a bit of a stretch for us as we’re a relatively small company, but we have a platform that might be of value to educators out there. We are aware of a number of schools (and hospitals, churches, and even a submarine!) that have used Plex to stream licensed and teacher-generated videos in classrooms. We’ve recently helped a San Francisco Bay Area school that suddenly needed to figure out how to distribute this content remotely via tablets and web browsers. We were able to donate the costs associated with the remote software, as well as provide early access to a new feature we’re working on, single item sharing, so teachers can now share their playlists or specific content directly with their classes. If you’re an educational institution that may benefit from using Plex, email us details at [email protected] so we can understand what you are looking to do, assess the demand, and see how we might be able to help.
A few tips on Remote Working, aka how to have a conference call in your kid’s closet
From day one, we’ve been a completely remote company, working out the kinks of “working in your bedroom / dining room / garage / (hopefully sleeping) baby’s nursery” for the last 10 years. We’re spread across six different continents, so we’re well-versed in the tradeoffs of which time zone gets the short end of the stick to get up at 5 AM to make that conference call (sorry Team Australia). So at Plex, we’re all used to the hassle of video communication and with the paradise and the disaster that comes with working at home. For many of you, welcome to the new normal. If you’re new to the game, here’s a great post with 47 specific WFH hacks as well as a recent Forbes post (by our very own Keith Valory) on setting up your business for WFH.
Okay, another thing. For the next 3 months, Live TV will be free—no Plex Pass required
If you have an HD antenna and tuner, then now you can stream your free live TV to all your devices without Plex Pass through the end of June (DVR and other premium features still require a Plex Pass). And if you don’t, we got some of our hardware partners to offer them to Plex users at a discount for a limited time. You can stream reruns, new shows (treasure them!), news, or kids programming. Stream it all around your home or while you’re away. Maybe it will help educate, entertain, enlighten, or another e-starting-word. Get the details here. We’ve been working especially hard to fix lots of issues with Live TV based on thoughtful feedback from the community. Stay tuned for more details on that soon.
(*) Other ways to help
We’ll leave it to others more knowledgeable in your local communities and countries on how best to donate and support each other financially and emotionally. We do know many of you probably have some spare CPU and GPU cycles lying around, though, so we’d like to highlight an opportunity to put them to work with [email protected] (feel free to join “Team Plex” #249802 if you don’t already have a team). As they say, “Each simulation you run is like buying a lottery ticket. The more tickets we buy, the better our chances of hitting the jackpot.” So by all means, let’s go make some more lottery tickets.
And if you’ve read this far, yes, we do have an Official Unofficial Plex Coloring Book for you to download
The least we can do (and we mean that quite literally) is make a Plex coloring book. (Thanks again Team Australia!) After all the movies have been watched, board games have been played, podcasts have been, um, podded, and you get to that point of maximum boredom, we present to you the official unofficial Plex coloring book. Take your frustration out in colored pencil form. Print it out. Doodle. Draw. Or share your kid’s (or your) best efforts on Facebook or Instagram for a chance to earn some Plex swag. Download it here.
So in closing, during this period of uncertainty, hopefully you’ve got some family with you, some friends, or at least on-screen companions reaching out from their own couches, a town, or a country over. Just know we’ll be joining you, finding a moment of escape and perhaps even the briefest but most delicious slice of joy. Stay safe out there (or more likely, in there). We’re here for you.
So what are your hacks for surviving indoors in this unusual new time? Let us know in the comments down below.