Plex Home Theater 2017-2018 Full Free Download
Plex Home Theater is a comprehensive software solution for transforming your plain old PC into fully featured Home Theater PC. With incredibly easy to use interface and appealing design, you will instantly gain access to your multimedia content like never before. Plex can reproduce wide variety of video, audio and image files that are hosted on your local storage, but it also has a full support for all the most popular online streaming services.
Good home theater experience could not be achieved without fully streamlined interface that allows everyone to easily browse multimedia that is located both on their local storage, network drives and streamed via the web. Plex excels in this area, fully supporting full-screen interface that can be easily manipulated via mouse or via IR remote controller.
Main categories of the site enable you to easily access TV shows, Movies, Video/Music/Picture channels, Shared Content, your own playlists, and great search engine. The entire app has a very strong visual component.
One of the central features of Plex is its support for user created libraries. All your content can be sorted into specific categories, enabling you to always know where you can find your media. Don’t be afraid if you have a lot of old and uncategorized data, because all media you own will be inspected and their metadata will be downloaded automatically. With Plex and its stunning visual interface, your multimedia experience will become incredibly easy. Give it a try.
Digital audio can be a bit of a mess and there are most certainly better places to get a primer on it than this article, so the text here should just be considered a quick overview. What you need to know is that there are two major ways to handle audio in the digital age, PCM (or direct or LPCM) and passthrough (or encoded).
PCM/Direct means that the audio decoding is done in software (i.e. Plex Home Theater does it) and then sent to the receiver that “just” outputs the PCM streams (one stream per channel) to the speakers. Traditionally you can only pass two channels via PCM, but LPCM (linear-PCM) allows for up to 8 channels.
Encoded/Passthrough is what it sounds like: PHT just takes the encoded stream and passes it to the receiver which does the conversion from encoded formats to PCM and then outputs it. In theory, this might sound better since the receiver is probably better at doing that conversion, but the audio quality difference is not something most of us can actually hear.
One important difference is where downmixing is done. For example, if you have 2 speakers connected to your receiver and you have source media with 5.1 channels (or 5 speakers and material in 7.1), the audio needs to be downmixed to hear all the sounds. When you are outputting in PCM mode the downmixing happens in PHT; if you are running pass-through the downmixing will happen in the receiver. This is also true about volume amplification: that will only work if the decoding is done in PHT, otherwise volume must be controlled by your receiver.
There is no single digital format for audio, there are many. The most common are:
- MP3: Only carries 2 channels and is relatively low bitrate. Not that common for new releases.
- AAC: The closest thing we can get to a universal standard these days. The drawback with AAC is that while it can carry 6 channel sound, not many receivers handle it and it’s not designed for it. (It’s telling that Apple—the champion of AAC—doesn’t even support AAC as a raw format in their products.)
- Dolby Digital / AC3: The most common multi-channel format. It handles at most 6 channels (5.1) and is supported natively by almost anything. However, it’s relatively low bitrate so it might not give the best fidelity. Most TV shows have AC3 tracks.
- DTS: Most common for movies, handles 6 channels at most, and is pretty universally supported in mid-range equipment and up. Low end equipment usually does not support DTS natively since there are licensing fees involved. The AppleTV, for example, supports AC3 but not DTS.
- TrueHD: TrueHD is Dobly’s successor to AC3. This codec is lossless and supports 8 channels. High end equipment is needed to get native TrueHD support.
- DTS-MA: The successor to DTS. It is backwards compatible with DTS. DTS-MA is lossless and supports 8 channels.
- Others that you can run into but are not common: Vorbis, FLAC. Both supports multiple channels, but few receivers natively support them, even though at least FLAC is on the rise.
Setting Plex Home Theater Preferences
When you start PHT for the first time it will ask you for the type of connection you have. You can select Analog, Optical, or HDMI:
- Analog: You connect something to the headphone jack or using built-in speakers on your laptop/computer. This configuration is very simple and standard analog will not handle any multi-channel audio.
- Optical: These connections most commonly use a S/PDIF connector. This is built-in to all Macs and most other modern motherboards have it as well. The S/PDIF protocol can play 5.1 with two data formats: AC3 (Dolby Digital) or DTS.
- HDMI: This handles both video and Audio and is the best choice if you want to have full codec support. HDMI has the most available bandwidth in its current form and handles all formats natively (AC3, DTS, TrueHD, DTS-MA, LPCM).