TV | July 24, 2019 11:13 am

Cancel Your Netflix? Plex Could Replace All Your Paid Streaming Services — If It’s Legal

The shared media site is rife with piracy, but also a legit platform

Community servers on Plex have helped people share movies for free

With all the different streaming services available now and more on the way (Disney+, HBO Max, WarnerMedia), it’s tough to figure out what to buy and how to find what you like.

If there was one app that could unite all the media platforms — and do it for free — that would be ideal. And probably illegal. Which is where Plex comes in.

Bijan Stephen of The Verge looked at the (legit) media streaming service and the way it’s being used to circumvent the walled, paid streaming platforms. As Stephen explains, Plex is actually two components: A organizer for your own media, and a program that “lets you and your friends and family stream … content from wherever you are on just about any device.” All on a program that looks a lot like Netflix, but customized to your (and/or your friend’s) media. As well, the software allows you to stream live TV and set up a DVR.

Which is great in theory, and again, a legal piece of software that’s been running for over a decade.

The issue is that the media available on the customer-run servers was possibly downloaded illegally and most definitely being shared with thousands of people for free, running afoul of copyright law. While you’d need to know someone or get an invite to join a shared server, nobody is policing these communities filled with free access to films and music.

Unlike underground (and shuttered) services like Pirate Bay, it’s a clean experience and “you’re not taking a risk on some random tracker,” as one Plex user notes, adding, “It’s [from] people you know and trust.” And because it works so well, it doesn’t “feel” illegal.

To be fair, most of the users quoted by The Verge were simply supplementing their Netflix and Amazon Prime habits with shows that were difficult to find, though some admitted using it for movies still in theaters and shows on less popular streaming services like CBS All Access. Even so, most of the users commented that it was all about the shared experience. “Streaming from someone’s library feels categorically different than watching the same thing on Netflix,” Stephen writes. “What I mean to say is that each Plex server is special because it’s made for people.”

Editor’s Note: RealClearLife, a news and lifestyle publisher, is now a part of InsideHook. Together, we’ll be covering current events, pop culture, sports, travel, health and the world. Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.