If you’re like me you’ve probably got movies spread all across your house. You’ve got DVDs, Blu-rays and movie files.
related: How I save $2000 switching to Roku
In the days of digital streaming, high-definition video and surround sound it seems antiquated to pull out a DVD binder full of movies.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have all this movies backed up and saved on a hard drive for you to watch anytime you want without having to pull out the disc? Sure, people have been backing up their movies for years onto hard drives and CDs, but the system always seemed clunky slow or just plain technologically daunting.
Plex server is the solution to that problem. It allows you to store all your movies on a central server and watch them anywhere you want. You can watch them on your TV on your phone on your iPad or on your computer both home and away. You can even share them with your friends.
It’s so easy your whole family can use it.
Here’s how to set it up…
Plex Media Server
First, you’ll need to setup your media server. You can either setup a dedicated server or just throw the server software on a desktop in your house. I actually have a circa 2008 Macbook (Apple fans are gasping) running ubuntu Linux. It’s a plenty powerful setup to run two Roku boxes streaming two movies at the same time.
The great thing about Plex is that you can run a server from a box running Windows, OS X, Linux, or even a NAS appliance like ReadyNAS or unRAID. It’s whatever works for you. I simply chose Linux because I enjoy the novelty of have a Linux server in the house.
One big thing to remember about your server is storage space. You’re going to need lots of it. If you DVDs are either 4.7 GB or 8.7 GB for a dual layer. Blu-rays can hold up to 50GB. Now, once you rip the movie and compress it, it’ll take significantly less space, but still you’ll be looking at needing a lot of space. Buy the most storage you can afford, but not any more than that. By the time you fill up that 2TB drive 10TB drives will be out.
Check out the Server options: Plex Media Server Overview.
I’ll keep this brief. I run the whole network off of an old, cheap wireless access point on 802.11g. If you are using any modern access point, you should have enough bandwidth for the whole system. I did notice a bit of a buffering problem at first, but then I hardwired the server to the router instead of running it over the WiFi and that helped out a lot.
Pick a Client
Plex has about a billion ways to watch your content.
They have the MyPlex which will let you watch your server anywhere you have internet, home, work, school or airport bathroom.
As you might have guessed, they have apps for iOS, Android, and even Windows Phone.
But, if you want to watch your movies on your big screen in the livingroom, well, you’re in luck. Plex has a great app for the Roku, Google TV, Samsung TVs and LG TVs. There is even a way to shoehorn Plex on to certain Apple TVs.
What do you think?
Do you have an alternate media server setup? Maybe XBMC?