Cult of Mac favorite: Plex Media Center

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In computer software circles, there’s a lot of discussion about the “10-foot UI,” designed for interactions from across a living room. Now that streaming video has truly come into its own, the space has exploded. Apple’s Front Row is a 10-foot app, as is Boxee.

But if you’re a Mac user, especially a Mac mini owner who keeps it hooked up to an HDTV, there’s only one choice: Plex Media Center, a Mac-only offshoot of the Xbox Media Center software. Basically, Plex pulls all of your content — whether on your hard drive, your network, your Tivo — and blends it with everything on the entire Internet, including Hulu, Pandora, BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and The Daily Show, then wraps it in a stunningly beautiful interface that makes it a snap to navigate all of the world’s video and music with arrow keys are a simple remote control. Better still, it’s an open architecture, and people are adding to it like crazy.

It’s been around as Plex since last July, but many of the best features, like the Netflix plug-in, are recent arriving in the last two weeks. What’s maybe most exciting is that Plex has plug-ins that the original XBMC application lacks. The Mac development community is passionate enough to dramatically improve their offering beyond other versions. Heck, it has its own App Store. And it’s 100 percent free, running on all Intel hardware running Leopard.

This is the media operating system of the future. Now, if they’d just release a companion remote application for iPhone, this thing would really take over the planet.

Thanks for the heads-up, Mike. This thing rocks!

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