Originally Posted by rolldog
I have been seeing a lot of articles lately about the ability to setup the Shield as a Plex Server. I installed the software, but I haven't really had time to set it up yet. I tried using Kodi once, but the learning curve was too steep, and I don't have the time to set down and figure out how to set everything up, look through all the plug ins, install the ones I want, etc. I mainly want to use it to view local media, which Plex sounds like it will work fine for this.
A couple of things:
1) As a long-time plex user that had never touched Kodi (and it's Shield-specific fork, SPMC) before I got my Shield, yes, there is a bit of a learning curve to Kodi. But, if you have local media containing a Dolby TrueHD audio track, and you want proper playback on Shield, you have to use either Kodi (transcoding only) or SPMC (both transcoding and bitstreaming). Plex *can't* bitstream it (yet), and although in theory transcoding *should* be supported and work, in practice myself and others have found that it generally does not work well at all. So if you needed motivation to overcome the learning curve, there it is. As far as Dolby TrueHD goes, it's the only proper tool in an NVidia Shield's toolbox right now. Many people are hoping Plex figures out whatever magical fairy dust Koying (the SPMC developer) used to get TrueHD bitstream working so flawlessly in his app...
2) Yes, a Shield can function both as a Server and as a Client. I only use mine as clients (I have an always-on Win7 desktop configured as my Plex server). Byte-my-bits, I believe, has a great youtube video review of a Shield as a Plex Server, I think he was able to run as many as 4 or 5 simultaneous Plex streams off of one Shield-as-server, which surprised and impressed both him and me...
Originally Posted by rolldog
I've also read about the compatibility of Plex using HDHomerun, which I'm also not familiar with. I looked on their website to familiarize myself with it a little bit, and it seems like you can get live streaming TV through one of these HDHomerun devices and use the Shield as a DVR device. Does anyone use a setup like this or can someone explain to me exactly what you get by hooking up one of these tuners? I'm just curious to know how many different channels there are, if they're channels from all over the world where only a few might be used, and if premium channels can be viewed, or would that need some kind of additional subscription to get premium channels, like HBO, Cinemax, etc.
If you're referring to the HDHomeRun Plex plug-in, it only works for older versions of Plex Media Server (0.9.6.16.xx, I believe, but you can check the plug-ins official website for more details). Newer versions of Plex Media Server have really hurt Plex's ability to handle live-and-recorded TV, both from my DVR (Windows Media Center) and just accessing my HDHomeRun Prime directly via that plug-in. I had to remux my entire .wtv library to .mkv in order to "upgrade" PMS to a version that supported their Beta DVR software.
Silicon Dust's own "view" app, HDHomeRun View, works quite well on Shield, though, for Live TV. We use it daily in my house.
Note that both Plex and Silicon Dust both have DVR software in Beta stages... Plex's requires a Plex Pass to use the Beta software. No word yet (to my knowledge) if, once out of Beta, the DVR will remain PlexPass only or not... Silicon Dust's is expected to cost something like $30 a year for Guide Data.
I currently use Windows (7) Media Center for my whole-home-DVR solution. And I access all of my not-copy-protected (which for me, as a Comcast subscriber, means everything but HBO/Showtime/etc) DVR recordings on Shield by way of Kodi (after properly installing/configuring ServerWMC on the PC that is handling my DVR'd recordings, which also happens to be the same PC that serves as my Plex Server).
I had a subscription to HBO and Showtime through my cable company right up until about 2 months ago. Although a valid paying customer (ie, not a pirate, not abusing someone else's log-in, etc), Comcast doesn't authorize Comcast customers to be able to use HBOGo or Showtime Anytime on Android TV devices (Shield included). And ServerWMC only gives Kodi clients access to unprotected DVR content (not HBO recordings). When I brought my first Shield home and got it all hooked up, it didn't take long for it to basically take over my Living Room. Both my wife and I really liked it, right away. We use it for almost everything, so having this limitation (having to open HBO or Showtime on our phones and *cast* it to Shield) quickly became an annoying limitation on what was otherwise basically by-far-and-away our preferred vehicle from which to consume media.
I finally got sick of it, cancelled HBO through Comcast, and bought-direct from HBO. Now I use the HBO Now app on all my Shields, tablets, laptops, and phones... and I couldn't be happier. I've never used/liked HBO so much in my life. YMMV, as your cable provider may allow you to use HBO Go natively on Shield, unlike mine...
Hope this helps!