Media center software maker Plex has rolled out a new Android app that allows users to share media stored on their personal computers to their mobile devices. The application will also eventually give Android users the ability to control video they’re watching from Plex’s Mac software on their TV screens.
Like Boxee, Plex’s media center software is based off of XMBC code, and also like Boxee, its Mac-based software makes it easy for users to navigate a wide range of online video content with a 10-foot user experience. While it got its start on the Mac, the software maker is rapidly expanding to other devices.
“Plex’s long-term goal is to be the media manager and to keep track of what you like and your preferences,” Plex founder and CEO Cayce Ullman said in a phone interview. “Our goal is to eventually be embedded into anything that has video capabilities.”
The Android app extends Plex’s reach onto a new range of mobile devices, after it already released an iOS app that works with the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. But its ambitions go well beyond place-shifted video viewing on mobile devices: the software maker has also partnered with consumer electronics manufacturer LG to embed the Plex software into connected TVs and Blu-ray devices, and it is looking for other CE deals. (For more advanced users, the Plex app is also available for installation on jailbroken Apple TVs.)
While the Plex media center software is free, apps for iOS and Android devices sell for $4.99. That provides the startup with some revenue now, but Ullman said that its goal is to not make all its money from app sales and licensing in the future. Instead, it could leverage user preferences to provide personalized recommendations and targeted ads against content that viewers watch. In the meantime, Plex will continue to try to reach as many users as possible, growing its user base and trying to get on as many devices as it can to reach a critical mass of users.
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