Do you know about Plex? My short definition of Plex is “a robust platform for digitally sharing movies you convert from DVD, download or purchase with others on a variety of screens.” The English WikiPedia article for Plex (software) explains it is composed of two parts: the “Plex Media Server” and “Plex Apps.” As home media software goes, it’s an amazing solution which works on multiple platforms/devices and supports generous sharing. The December 2015 MacWorld article, “The best way to watch media on the new Apple TV: iTunes Home Sharing vs. Plex” explains many of these features in detail.

It’s possible to share your Plex video library with friends or other members of your family. To do this, they need to setup a free account on Plex, and then you (or the owner of the Plex library) can share to that email account, similar to the way a Google Document is shared. There is a free Plex app for the 4th generation Apple TV, which is VERY slick. Along with Netflix and the iTunes Movies we’ve purchased as a family, Plex for AppleTV has and continues to be a very popular option at our house for watching movies.

While it can be awesome to have access to a shared Plex video library, this can raise issues if the person sharing videos with you includes titles which have ratings (like R or NC-17) you don’t want your entire family to access. Fortunately, the person sharing a Plex library channel can choose to restrict which videos are shared with you. The person owning, hosting and managing the Plex library has to have an active, paid Plex account, but you (as the person with whom a Plex video library is shared) do NOT. A free account works for this.

Here is a screenshot of our AppleTV Plex app home screen BEFORE channel sharing restrictions were enabled. We asked for our “family Plex server sharer” to only share movies rated G, PG, or PG-13.

Here is a screenshot of the Plex homescreen again, right after restrictions were enabled. Note the rated “R” movies are no longer visible or available.

I’m very thankful to have access to a family member’s shared Plex library, but also glad it’s possible to limit / restrict which videos are available to use through the AppleTV app.

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