Plex might have its roots mingled with XBMC, which was used mainly by the more technology-savvy users, but over the past few years, it has grown increasingly user friendly. This has especially been the case recently with the addition of DVR functionality to the Plex Media Server. Now the company is aiming to make its products even easier to use with its latest addition: Plex Cloud.
As the name hints, Plex Cloud is essentially Plex Media Server, but instead of working from a desktop or laptop computer, it operates in the cloud. At launch, Plex partnered with Amazon, which provided the horsepower behind the cloud server, making for much easier setup and eliminates the need for a constantly running computer in your home. Now, the company has added more storage options, making Plex Cloud even more flexible.
With Plex Cloud, users don’t have to worry about hardware maintenance but the cloud storage is not free. Amazon Drive costs $60 per year for unlimited storage, but isn’t available everywhere. Now the service has aded support for Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive, all of which offer their own pricing options.
Dropbox Pro offers 1TB of storage for $10 per month or $100 per year. Google Drive offers a range of storage from 15GB for free, to 1TB for $10 per month, all the way up to 30TB for $300 per month — no annual pricing is available. Finally, OneDrive offers 50GB for $2 per month, with more storage available to Office 365 customers, including 1TB for $7 per month, but this also includes access to Microsoft Word, Excel, and the rest of the Office 365 suite. You will also need a Plex Pass subscription, which costs $5 per month or $40 per year, though you can also spring for a lifetime subscription for $150.
Plex says the setup is simplified to the point that installation can be done with a single click. Plex Media Server’s powerful transcoding ability is even included, something that you would not necessarily expect from a cloud service. Plex Cloud is an entirely separate Plex Media Server instance, not a copy of your existing setup, so users don’t have to worry about giving up their home servers.
What you end up with is a Plex Media Server just like the one at home, only it is not driving up your electricity bill and you do not have to worry about your ever-shrinking hard drive space. Almost every feature of a standard Plex Media Server installation is here, though currently a few features like Camera Upload and Offline Sync are not available. Plex says it is currently working on those features and they will eventually end up in Plex Cloud. A few features that would not make sense in Plex Cloud — Cloud Sync, DLNA, and DVR — are also excluded.
Plex Cloud is currently in invite-only beta, so if you are a Plex Pass holder and want to have a look at the new feature, you will need to head to the Plex website and sign up. In the meantime, check out our hands-on coverage for a better look at what it’s like in action.
Updated on 12-02-2016 by Kris Wouk: Revised with information on newly added storage options.