PLEX is a nifty media app that can stream all your media content to your phone, tablet, smart TV, or console if connected on the same home network.
To get PLEX up and running is pretty simple, and you can do it in 3 easy steps:
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1. Download the client and prepare your library
To get PLEX visit the official website. Create a free account and download the program. The program is around 100MB, so while that downloads get into your folders and sort out your files.
Your media files should be sorted in a specific way to make full use of PLEX. I have mine in the following order:
- TV Shows/Game of Thrones/Season 5/Game of Thrones S05E01.mp4.
- TV Shows/Game of Thrones/Season 5/Game of Thrones S05E02.mp4.
To get the most out of your media try rename your TV shows by indicating the name, season, and episode number. PLEX will try its hardest to recognise your files, but just in case it can’t, rename them as I’ve suggested and it should pick them up.
2. Install PLEX and add files
Once you have the program, install it. PLEX will create a shortcut onto your desktop, open that. At the bottom right of your screen you will see the PLEX icon. This icon is present when the media server is up and running, you will need to double-click on this icon to open the program.
Once you are in you will see the UI, don’t feel threatened, it’s easy to understand. What you want to do first is to add new folders to the program so that PLEX can build a library for you. Click on the tab that you want to start with – TV Shows or Movies. Then follow these steps:
- Click on the gear situated at the top right;
- Click Edit Library > Add folders > Browse for Media Folder;
- Here you will go through your PC and find the folder where your media is saved. It is recommended that you choose the root folder in which your media is saved to. So instead of choosing the folder Game of Thrones, choose TV Shows/Game of Thrones;
- Click save changes.
PLEX will now search all the folders within the chosen path. It will add poster art, episode descriptions, running time, etc. As you add new media to your folder, PLEX will automatically recognise new content. You won’t need to go and add the folder again if it is in the settings as it will do this automatically.
3. Get Watching
PLEX will now be visible on your network. If you have a Smart TV or any other device that has a dedicated app store, then you will find the PLEX app on that store.
This app will replicate your PC library onto your phone, tablet, or console. It will include the poster, episode description etc. The app may require a once off purchase depending on what device you own.
- Media Server
Some home theatre systems and TVs have a media server feature. This allows them to find media hubs that are connected to the same network as it. If you have PLEX running and have a media server capable device, then you will see PLEX. Although not as pretty as the app, the server allows you to go through the folders and find your shows. There are folders created to make your life easier like recently added, recently viewed, or sorted by name.
Some other tips
- PLEX needs to have the file name readable. Try and keep it clear with the name and episode number. In terms of movies the same goes.
- You will need to launch the PLEX app on the PC before you will be able to watch on another device.
- PS4 and Xbox One owners will need to purchase a PLEX Pass subscription to use the apps made for their consoles. This pass is a monthly $5.99 prescription. Although the app is pretty and gives your boxarts and posters of all of your media. you can just use the dedicated media app on your console as it has its own media server capabilities.
- If your new media does not show up, then you will need to click on refresh library situated next to the gear.
- You can also add custom poster and information to your media. Hover over a file and click on the pencil (edit) icon. Here you will be able to upload posters, edit release dates etc. I used this the most when PLEX does not find the correct poster for the media.
Once you have PLEX up and running you will no longer need to copy files to a USB to watch on your TV or console. If you thought that laziness could not get any lazier, think again!