One of the great things about Plex—aside from using it to create your own private, sharable streaming library—is just how many platforms it supports. You can use the service (and server) on Android, iOS, PC, Roku, smart TVs, and even your web browser.
Plex recently released a new desktop client that aims to consolidate its Windows, Mac, and web clients, as well as the separate Plex Media Player, into a single app. And for Windows users, this new version of Plex isn’t (currently) available on the Windows Store. Here’s a quick rundown of what that means for you and all the new features that come with Plex’s updated program.
The new Plex replaces old apps
Plex’s new app replaces the previous Windows and Mac desktop apps entirely. In fact, as of today, Plex is no longer available in the Windows Store, and it’s unclear if this version will show up there at some future point. So if you’re using the Windows Store version of Plex right now, uninstall it—since Plex isn’t updating it—and grab the standalone version instead.
Plex is also going to be phasing out its Plex Media Player app in favor of packing everything under one roof. That also means a few feature changes:
“For the TV layout lovers out there, we want to be clear about this: the long-term plan is for the new desktop app to replace Plex Media Player as our only desktop solution. The new desktop app is notably lacking TV mode, which means that we’re going to stop supporting the traditional HTPC setup (using a desktop computer connected to your TV or home theater) with this app. There. We said it. It marks the end of an era for us, and we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t a little bittersweet. But take heart. We looked at how most people were using the app, and most of you will have an equal (if not better) experience with a streaming device and our new players.”
If you’re not quite ready to transition, the Plex Media Player will receive updates through January 30, 2020. After that, it’s transition time.
New Plex’s new features
When it comes to playing media, the new Plex desktop is functionally equivalent to the apps on other platforms—such as Android and iOS—but with the addition of the Plex web client’s server management tools. This means you’ll be able to add, remove, and organize your server’s media files from within a single app on all PCs.
More importantly, the new app comes with a revamped “offline” mode—now called “downloads” instead of “sync”—that can dump your media onto your device faster than before. You’ll get more information about your downloads, and they will (hopefully) not suffer nearly as many bugs as Plex’s expired “sync” feature. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that you’ll still need to be a Plex Pass subscriber in order to watch media offline.