Plex, the popular media player for streaming your own media collection to all of your devices including the Fire TV, has made a couple of announcements that should make for a better experience. First off, all customers can now use the “Automatically Adjust Quality” setting for their streams without needing to be a Plex Pass subscriber. If you are a subscriber, then you now get access to a new hardware-accelerated streaming option that uses dedicated hardware, that your server probably already has, to more efficiently transcode your media.
The auto quality setting in Plex has been around for a while, but was previously limited to only those who pay for a Plex Pass subscription. It lets Plex’s software automatically select the best video quality to stream, based on the available bandwidth and system specs. Users without a Plex Pass had to manually select the stream quality, but now all free users can use the automatic option. The feature may not be available in the Fire TV app just yet, but will hopefully arrive soon.
The other new announcement is hardware-accelerated streaming for Plex Pass subscribers. If the hardware running your Plex server has dedicated hardware for decoding media, like many modern CPUs and GPUs do these days, Plex can now use that hardware when transcoding your media. This should greatly improve your server’s ability to efficiently transcode media without maxing out your CPU. The feature is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers acting as Plex servers that are running Intel processors that support Intel Quick Sync. It is also available for some Windows and Mac computers with select AMD and NVIDIA GPUs.