[Tutorial] Setting Up Plex Media Server

Plex is a media server application that will help you share your music, movies, and your other media collection. Install it on one computer, add your media, and then watch or listen to it from your other computer, TV, PS3, Xbox360, Android, iOS, and other DLNA-certified devices locally via home network connection, or remotely, as long as you have a Internet connection.

Instead of just capable for playing your media, Plex will give you a related info about your media in its beautifully designed interface. For example, when you access your movie, Plex will show you a poster, synopsis and other info about the movie. The same thing happens when you change to your music directory, you will find the artist picture, biography and the artwork on their albums.

In addition to your local media, Plex also gives you various Internet channels to stream to. So you can watch YouTube or Vimeo videos, or listen to what's hot on SoundCloud right from your Plex, and there's a tons more you can discover on it.

Here's a few screenshots :



Let's get started ...

1. Installation 
First of all, verify your soon-to-be media server computer or NAS at least meets the PMS minimum system requirements. You can't find details info on the Plex main site but you can check on their wiki page.

Download the right version for your platform from this page and then install it. After you successfully installed the application, you're ready to set it up.

*I'm using PMS on my Windows 7 and haven't try it on another platforms. You can expect some differentials on setup & preferences on Mac or Linux on the setup process.

2. Setup (Part. I)
Launch PMS for the first time. On Windows, you will have to control PMS from your browser, so right-click the Plex icon on the toolbar and left-click "Media Manager", your browser will open a page where you can start settiing up your library.

Plex will give you a basic steps about adding your local media (Music, Movies, Home Movies, TV Shows & Photos), adding channels, and setting up your Plex account to play your media remotely.

Let's take a look to Plex settings menu, in this page you will find many options like : Set your server name, library update preference, and agents. Be sure to enable agents on your media so Plex can fetch info from the Internet.

But wait, before you add your local media folder on each section, you have to ...

3. Organize and Verify Media Names
Having your media in an organized location and correct names (including metadata) & format is one of the most important factor in this process. Store you music files on the same root folder for example, will simplify the adding media folder process later on. Correct media names will help Plex get more info about your media   from the Internet via its plugin (i.e. artist info, album art, movie poster, etc.).

Place your each media in one specific folder and separate all the contents with a folder again and then follow the filename format below :

[Movies Root Folder] -> [Movie Title (Year) Folder] -> [Movie Title (Year)] :
  • Movies
    • The Amazing Spiderman (2012)
      • The Amazing Spiderman (2012).mkv 
    • Total Recall (2012)
      • Total Recall Extended (2012).mkv

TV Shows
[Shows Root Folder] ->  [Show Title Folder] ->  [Show Season Folder] -> [Show Title - sEEeYY] :
  • TV Shows
    • Fringe
      • Season 1
        • Fringe - S01E01.mkv
        • Fringe - S01E02.mkv
      • Season 2
        • Fringe - S02E01.mkv
        • Fringe - S02E02.mkv
    • Game of Thrones
      • Season 1
        • Game of Thrones - S01E01.mkv
        • Game of Thrones - S01E02.mkv
In addition to get the subtitles from the Internet, Plex also supports your existed SRT, SMI, and SSA / ASS subtitle format, just make sure you put them in the same name and folder as the movie / tvshow files. Append language code so Plex can show you the subtitle language info when you access your movie / tv show :

The Amazing Spiderman (2012).en.srt or The Amazing Spiderman (2012).eng.srt  for English,
The Amazing Spiderman (2012).id.srt or The Amazing Spiderman (2012).ind.srt  for Bahasa Indonesia,
The Amazing Spiderman (2012).la.srt or The Amazing Spiderman (2012).lat.srt  for Latina,

[Music Root Folder] -> [Music Artist Folder] -> [Music Album Folder]
  • Music
    • Alex Skolnick Trio
      • Veritas
    • Muse
      • Showbiz
      • The 2nd Law
And don't forget to check if your music tracks are already have a correct tag / metadata info.

If you already finished organizing your media, you can continue on ...

4. Setup (Part II)

Go to Media Manager, select your root media folder to each section on Plex, and wait while Plex adding your media to the library. It may takes some minutes, even hours if your have a very large library. Your Internet connection also have effects on this step, because as soon as your media added to the library, Plex will fetch any additional info for your media from the Internet.

That's it, now you will only have to ...

5. Connect Another Devices to Your Media Server
So, after you finish the setup you can start connecting your computers and DLNA devices to the media server and stream your media.

On your other computers, you can access your media by typing "[PMS Server's IP]/web/" from your browser. Use fullscreen on browser (F11) for more enjoyable experience. 

There's an app for your Android, iOS , Windows Phone 7, and even Windows 8 & Windows RT. But that's not a free app, it'll cost you $5 (excluding Windows 8 & RT, $3). Is it worth it? Right now I'm using the Android app on my tablet, and so far so good!

You can find the media server on your PS3 too. Haven't try on Xbox360 though.

Transcoding on-the-go
Plex supports wide range of media formats, if your device supports it, Plex will stream it directly, if it doesn't, Plex will transcode it to an acceptable format for your device. Your computer server will do this, not your target device. 

Wired or Wireless Connection?
It's always better to use wired for more stable connection. But I'm using a wireless connection haven't experiencing any connectivity problem, as long as it's direct play / streaming.

Find out more on :

1 comment:

  1. Here's a video tutorial for: The Basics, Setting up your server to share with friends and family, Subtitles, and Subtitle agents :) Hope it helps!

    The basics:

    Media Sharing:


    Subtitle agents:


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