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Plex Teams Up With Amazon to Offer Cloud-Based Media Server

Fresh off the launch of its DVR service, digital media center maker Plex just announced another major feature addition: Plex users can now run their media server on Amazon Drive, with no need for a local computer or network-attached storage drive anymore.

This won’t just make for a lot simpler Plex experience — the startup boasts that setting up a Plex server on Amazon’s servers takes just 60 seconds — it also adds a whole lot of new functionality to Amazon’s consumer cloud storage service. Users of Amazon Drive now have the chance to stream their media to pretty much any device, be it their phone, smart TV, game console or even Sonos speaker.

Plex has long been known as one of the best solutions for personal media collections, but the Achilles heel of the app has always been that users need to run a server on a device in their home.

Some users dedicate an entire computer to this task, while others instead buy a network-attached storage drive, which can double as a backup solution for personal data. Recently, Plex also extended server support to the NVIDIA Shield game console. Still, even with all of these options, the need for a dedicated server has always been a considerable barrier of entry for new users.

Plex’s cooperation with Amazon could solve this issue, especially since it comes with an enticing promise: Amazon Cloud Drive offers paying users unlimited storage, which now also extends to cloud-based Plex servers. In addition, media will automatically be transcoded, so a stream to a mobile or TV-connected device will always play, no matter the source format.

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Plex is rolling out support for Amazon Cloud Drive to a select group of beta testers at first. To qualify, users need to pay for Plex Pass, the paid Plex tier that costs $40 for a year’s worth of service. They also need a subscription to Amazon’s Cloud Drive, which costs $60 a year.

It’s worth noting that Plex Cloud, as the product is officially called, doesn’t support all of Plex’s functionality at launch. For example, users initially won’t be able to automatically upload their photos to their cloud-based server, and the newly-launched DVR also isn’t supported for cloud-based servers. However, the startup wants to add at least some of these features to Plex Cloud in the coming months, and may also add support for other cloud providers over time.

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