Overview

Your Plex setup might include a big-screen TV and various mobile devices. Each modern Plex App registers itself as an available player with the Server and lets you fling media at it when on the same network. Each App works similarly when Flinging media.

Once all the devices are active on your network, you'll see a Player item in the App. Choose which player to use, then the media to play, and it will start on that target player. You can use the App to control the Player as well, making the entire setup a satisfying experience.

How it Works

It helps to understand what actually goes on when flinging media since that can let you know what to expect. Basically, we may talk about "flinging playback" from one app to another, but that's not actually what's happening behind the scenes. Rather, when you're playing something on one Plex App and then choose to fling to another App, what you're actually doing is:

  1. Ceasing playback on the current App
  2. Instructing the second App to start playback of particular content at a specific offset (i.e. at the same timestamp as you were watching)

So, the second App actually initiates the playback itself and thus the playback will be based on the settings and capabilities of that device/App. (Chromecast is somewhat of an exception here, where it can use some of the settings from the original App.)

Here is an example:

  •  You have an iPad running the iOS Plex App on your local network, with the App set to 720 Kbps local video quality
  • You have Plex Home Theater (PHT) running on your local network, with the App set to "Direct Play" local video quality
  • You begin playback of a 1080p movie with DTS audio on your iPad, which results in both audio and video transcoding for the content
  • While playing on the iPad, you choose to fling the content to PHT
  • PHT receives the request for playback, then checks its own settings as well as the media properties of the movie being requested
  • PHT determines that it can Direct Play the full quality movie and then requests it as such from the Plex Media Server

So, you were playing a fully transcoded movie on the iPad, then when you flung it to PHT, it was Direct Played (based on the App settings and the fact that the media was compatible with Direct Play in PHT).