I was recently introduced to Plex by a coworker and after wandering around its user interface I quickly became obsessed. For those that don’t know, Plex is a media player that organizes and gives you access to all your media on all your devices, fancy! The coolest part, if you can refer to it as cool, is that you can share your media libraries with friends and family via their Plex accounts. I decided to take a whack at installing Plex Media Server to establish a real feel of what it was capable of and understand the difficulty level of setup.
I started by installing the aforementioned Plex Media Server from here! There are two options for installation, computer and NAS. I chose computer, which I was surprised to see it had an installer for Windows, Mac, Linux and FreeBSD platforms. What a world we live in! The NAS option seemed nice but my brand of NAS was sadly missing. The install was quick and painless. The only tricky part, for the less experienced, was to set a static IP address for the computer you are using as a server and to open the default port plex uses for outside connection (this lets your friends have access) on your router. After completion, the last step was to simply point Plex to your media folders and watch the magic happen.
The Beauty of Plex
It was hard to contain myself as I watched my hefty music collection begin to become available in front of my eyes and join the internet of things. Plex even found artist’s posters and album arts by itself! However, it did miss a few and most people that know me can attest for my persnickety ways when it comes to albums and artworks. Luckily, this was a quick fix and the final product was great! So great, I was rapidly influenced to find more media to add to my collection.
It was time to share my media with friends, so I sent library invites to a few of them and was quickly made aware that streaming did not work outside my network. After reading through some troubleshooting tips, verifying router settings and attempting a few possible dangerous setting adjustments in my router I found the culprit! The computer hosting Plex Media Server had a secondary static IP that was used earlier to troubleshoot a Buffalo NAS in EM mode (that story will eventually find it’s way here). I deleted that sucker and we were in business!
Overall, Plex was a relatively simple setup and I am astounded by how well it finds your media, updates libraries as more content is added, and really just works on it’s own. The Apps on my ADT-1 (old school android tv) and smart phones work great as well.