There are lots of users who are well aware of Kodi and what it is capable of. There is also another alternative, and this is Plex Server.
Users can have large amounts of movies, TV shows or music on their system, but they don’t have a means of sharing this content between devices easily.
Files might have to be converted to be viewed on mobile devices or copied to flash drives, or even uploaded to the cloud to be accessed when away from home.
Here we will look at what it is, and how it can help you sort out all your media access problems.
Plex Server: What is it?
No matter how tech savvy you are, it can be a pain to sync all your devices to one library of content.
Plex is a centralized media server which can manage your media collection while making it accessible to any device you have.
The way it works is that you have all of your data on a single computer. This will have Plex server software installed, and each of your other devices will have a Plex client installed onto them.
Plex supports a considerable number of devices such as:
- Android and iOS
- Amazon Fire TV
- Game consoles and many others
Aside from just streaming to a large number of devices Plex keeps your files organized. It indexes all your media and allows you to access this one location from anywhere.
Plex can access your home library while on the go and will convert files to the ideal format for viewing on smaller mobile devices.
Plex Nas Server
One of the beauties of Plex is you can install it on network attached storage (NAS) rather than on the hard drive of your computer.
Although it is convenient for access to your media centre when away from home, there are a couple of requirements you need to consider.
Because of file conversion, there needs to be transcoding carried out. This is either software transcoding or hardware-accelerated transcoding.
The NAS for Plex must have enough processing power for this operation, and if you want to use the hardware-accelerated option, then you need an active Plex Pass subscription. The NAS Plex compatibility guide can be found on the company website.
Installing and Setting Up Plex Media Server
Plex performs the best once all of your personal media libraries is organized, and it should all be on the same device be it your PC or any attached storage device.
- Organize your content. Movies and TV shows and music should all be separated into their own categories.
- The second step is to install the Plex server application. To start, head to the Plex website and create a free account. Perform a Plex Media Server Download and run the installer. Once installed you will be presented with a web interface.
- Navigate to http://127.0.0.1:32400/ on your computer. Or if you are using a NAS, you can access it with the network address of your NAS device.
- You will accept the user agreement and asked to sign into your account. You can use the free version which might offer enough features, but you can see all the additional features a premium account brings.
- Close the box to return to the setup. Here, you will name the server (by default, it takes the network name of the device where it is installed).
- This step is how to add movies to Plex in the set-up process.
- Click on the add library option. Home videos, movies TV shows and pictures can be added among others.
- Browser for media folder and click on the folder which holds all your content, movie folder for movies, etc. Click add-library to complete this process.
- The crucial part of the process is to allow remote access to the media server as well as send anonymous data to Plex. You will see, both are checked by default. It is recommended to leave them this way.
- You will now be taken to the web control panel, and depending on the speed of your system, you will see it is updating libraries.
Accessing and Using Plex Media Server
Now all the media content has been catalogued, it is time to access your library from your other devices.
The best example being a smartphone. You should already have the Plex client installed on your machine, so start the app and click on the Plex app sign in option.
What you see on your device should be all of the content that is stored on your primary device. From this point, it is just a couple of clicks before you can access anything from your Plex library.
Depending on your setup for your home connection, you might find a message “Plex can’t find server,” in many cases, this is down to users using VPN software.
There are a couple of ways to avoid this message. The first being using split tunnelling and all of your Plex streams go outside of the VPN tunnel, or the recommended version if your library contains any content that treads on the toes of copyright infringement.
These simple instructions can have your Plex connection up and running while being encrypted from your ISP or anyone else who tries to see what you are doing:
- Assign your Plex server a static IP address and write down the settings
- Go into your router and turn on port forwarding
- Head back to your VPN app and set it to allow unrestricted access to Plex
Another reason for using a VPN for Plex is there was a security breach. Plex.tv was listed as one of the affected websites.
If you have a concern you can quickly go to the sign in page and hit the Plex forgot password option on the “continue with email” page.
Enter your email address and then hit submit.
Installing Plex on Kodi
For Kodi users, it is handy to have the Plex Media Server Software installed into Kodi so everything can be accessed through one app.
- Enable ‘Unknown Sources' in the settings
- Click on File Manager and enter the following address exactly – https://troypoint.com/repo
- Name the Repo Plex or any other name you want
- Navigate to the Kodi home screen and select the Add-ons menu item
- Click the open package icon in the top left corner
- Select ‘Install from Zip File' and select Plex or the name you assigned earlier
- Select the Plex Kodi Connect Repository zip file and wait for install success box to be displayed
- Click Install from Repository
- Click on the Plex Kodi Connect Repository option and choose Video Add-ons
- Click the Plex Kodi Connect add-on and wait for success box to be displayed
- Launch Plex Kodi Connect and go through the Plex sign in and setup process
This Kodi setup is now ready to access all of your content.