Plex, the fantastic media server which allows you to stream local movies and music to your TV from your computer now has an Alexa Skill. We’re big fans of Plex at SmartHomeGuide HQ and as such wanted to give this a shot right away.
We excitedly downloaded the skill to our Echo, opened up the laptop which has our Plex media server installed on it and gave a few commands a whirl.
As Plex notes above, you can query what is on your Plex server and it will tell you what you have available to watch. One you open the player on your TV (we were using a Playstation 4), you can even use a command like “Alexa, ask plex to play game of thrones” and in a couple of seconds BOOM you’re knee deep in Winterfell.
We did notice that some of our more obscure shows (like Man Seeking Woman) weren’t picked up by the Plex/Echo quite as well but when it works this skill really feels like living in the future!
However our favourite feature has to be the ability to control playback on Plex. As we said above, we were using this feature on a Playstation 4. As anyone with one of these consoles will tell you, the battery lasts exactly 5 seconds before dying. To get around this we have the controllers set to a battery saver mode which turns them off after 10 minutes. This means that everytime I want to pause Plex and get a cup of tea I first have to press the turn on button, wait for the controller to come alive, then press the pause button.
This isn’t exactly a hassle but the controller is then stuck on for 10 minutes which is a bit of a waste of battery. This is now all sorted by using the “Alexa, ask Plex to pause” command. It works an absolute treat and makes using Plex even better (which we didn’t even think was possible!).
Plex and the Plex Alexa skill are an absolute must have if you have TV shows on your computer that you want to watch on your TV.