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post #1 of 15 Old 01-01-2016, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Local Plex server/client advice

Hi there,

I'm just getting into Plex and there is a world of various configurations and setups, however I think the way I want use Plex is fairly simple.

Currently I have my laptop connected to my TV/Receiver via HDMI. On my laptop I have the client and home theatre software installed and it all works great. However I don't want to keep moving my laptop to and fro from behind my TV and would like something more permanent.

From what I have read, I don't think I need to do any transcoding to other devices as I just want to direct stream/play straight from my NAS to my TV locally so I don't think I need any beefy hardware. (Correct me if I'm wrong).

My main caveats are being able to play 1080p MKV/MP4 movies (some 3D) and TrueHD and DTS-HD audio and to have both client/server on the same system. (I.e. I would prefer not to have to use my laptop as the server.)

Can anyone recommend me something cheap (<£150) I can use that would be suitable.

Thanks
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post #2 of 15 Old 01-01-2016, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daan_vb View Post
From what I have read, I don't think I need to do any transcoding to other devices as I just want to direct stream/play straight from my NAS to my TV locally so I don't think I need any beefy hardware. (Correct me if I'm wrong).
With Plex you need a Plex server somewhere. So from what you have written, can I assume you have Plex server running on your NAS unit?

I run Plex. The problem with Plex is that the server is too good. As a result the various Plex clients tend to be second or third rate and depend on the server to transcode the content down to their level -- not good if you want to play 1:1 BluRay rips in their original quality on a big screen. Plex Home Theater, running on a modest HTPC (i.e. laptop) has sufficient horsepower to direct-play your content without any transcoding. It works well with NAS units running Plex server because the processors in NAS units are typically underpowered when it comes to transcoding and so typically can't/don't do it.

Plex is on the verge of releasing their new Plex Media Player which will replace Plex Home Theater. The new PMP will run under multiple platforms including as an embedded system on Raspberry Pi-2 or generic 64-bit boxes like Intel Nuc or Chromebox. That means you can get rid of your laptop and buy a Chromebox for $150 and turn it into a permanently attached Plex Media Player appliance that will stream from your NAS (assuming it runs Plex server) in full quality without transcoding. That is the direction I'm leaning in.

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post #3 of 15 Old 01-01-2016, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Kelson,

Currently I have both the Plex server software and Plex HT on my laptop that is connected via HDMI to my receiver and this plays all my 1080p/3D movies with HD audio with no problem on my TV.

My NAS is just a drive to hold all my movies that are pulled by the server on my laptop (its a WDMyCLoud so not powerful enough for Plex unfortunately).

Ideally I want a system where both server and client is installed on the one unit like my laptop. No transcoding to other clients is necessary

I want something as cheap as possible that will do this and was wondering what people could recommend....
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post #4 of 15 Old 01-02-2016, 05:47 AM
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This is just a suggestion. I have no experience with MyCloud.

Try using DLNA rather than Plex.

1) Turn on the DLNA server on you MyCloud see http://setup.wd2go.com/?mod=faqs&device=mc&faq=streamHd

2) Get a set top box that can run a DLNA renderer. Any Android based set top box will do the job. Fire TV, GBox Q etc. (around $100)

3) Install an DLNA renderer app on the set top box. Look in the google play store for BubbleUpnp

4) Install a video player from the google play store on the set top box. The most popular one is MX player.

Now you can stream movies directly from the MyCloud to the TV. Run bubbleUpnp and the movies you have on the MyCloud are listed. Select the one you wish to play and the BubbleUpnp will send the stream to the MX player. Note that this will only work if the MX player can handle the video stream, trancodong available on Plex is not available here.
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-02-2016, 05:58 AM
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Cheapest is to get a Raspberry PI 2 and load KODI, you'll want to add a remote control as well. Then you can access the files on the network drive as long as they are set up as shared directories. It doesn't make a lot of sense to run DLNA or other server apps unless you also expect to watch that content on other devices, as it is a quirky protocol to begin with. You can still use PLEX if you like.
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post #6 of 15 Old 01-02-2016, 08:12 AM
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Accessing the files from a share is also a option for an Android box. ES file explorer will allow you to access any file that is shared on a network.

I agree with DanPackMan that DLNA can be quirky, so you need to see how good the MyCloud implementation is. I found this article https://community.wd.com/t/faq-twonky-dlna-media-server-setup-use/95373 Seems like it works good as long as you set it up correctly.

Personally I think a Raspberry Pi is a poorer choice than an android box, First I do not think its a much cheaper option, it costs $35 for the PI, $10 for the WiFi, $10 for the SD card, $!0 for the case , $10 for the power supply, and $10 for a remote, so you are close to the price of an Android box. With and android box you also get Kodi. plus any app you care to download from the app store. Plus of course its all been integrated together and tested. PIs make great hobby projects, but if you want something you just plug in and it works I do not think this is the way to go.
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post #7 of 15 Old 01-02-2016, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice guys.

So with the Android box can I still access the files on my NAS using Plex without a server. The main reason I like using Plex is that i really like the UI, presentation, metadata matching and the ability to play HD audio.
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-02-2016, 01:58 PM
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Yes, you can access a server with or without PLEX with an Android box.

I agree there can be other costs with the PI, but Kodi is free and quite easy to install on the PI, and handles more video types than the Android, including pass-through capability. Android apps tend to be touch screen centric, very few work good with a remote. So, if have a power supply and an SD card around, you are getting better performance for less money.

But yes, if you want a package all in one solution, an Android box may be a good choice, albeit any device loaded with KODI is going to take some configuration effort by the user over time. I'd take exception to the 'integrated and tested' claim. That only goes so far.

KODI has a PLEX addon, that makes in work quite well with a PLEX server.

Last edited by DanPackMan; 01-03-2016 at 04:48 AM.
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post #9 of 15 Old 01-02-2016, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daan_vb View Post
Thanks for the advice guys.

So with the Android box can I still access the files on my NAS using Plex without a server. The main reason I like using Plex is that i really like the UI, presentation, metadata matching and the ability to play HD audio.
I do not think you will be able to use Plex. The Plex Client and server go together, and I do not think you can install the Plex server on you WD MyCloud (I could be wrong). With the new system you are using the DLNA server built into the WD MyCloud, and BubbleUpnp substitutes for the Plex Client.

I found this video
that shows you what it will look like. In the video BubblePnp on an android phone is being used as the controller, and a chromcast is being used as the renderer. In you system the android box will be used as both controller and renderer, but the interface will look the same.

If you have a high end WD MyCloud I believe you can install the Plex server, and use the Plex client instead of BubbleUpnp on the android box if you prefer that.
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-04-2016, 08:01 AM
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I keep hearing good things, soooo good things about Plex but I never have much luck using them.
I blame myself first, 'cuz maybe I over-expect, maybe I set the bar too high.
I've tried to setup a very simple network so that I can stream my bluray rip .mkv to my wifi-ready Sammy TV.
Here's what I have done
+ I'm using a i5-processor laptop as a server since there are a few video files on it. I installed Plex Server on the laptop. I don't know why I have to create an account and sign in. I don't want that part but I was forced to make one. Add library ... bla blah.
On the client side, my Sammy TV, I installed Plex app, had to sign in, then linked to server. Everything was good here.
Now playing
+ buffering most of the time. I do have high-speed internet, TV and the router and the laptop were virtually 10 ft apart. Note: streaming from Amazon Prime Video had no buffering issue. I've tried to set all mode from Original to down to 720p, still buffering.
+ I'm a fan of hifi audio, what can I do to get TrueHD, DTS-MA playing to my speakers?

Another note: I thought Plex app on Android is free, apparently not, it's $4.99.

I love to have the convenience of remotely streaming, but I found no method better than playing bluray .mkv from laptop --> to AVR via HDMI cable. That's way, no buffering, and enjoy hifi-audio track.
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post #11 of 15 Old 01-04-2016, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by malaugh View Post
I do not think you will be able to use Plex. The Plex Client and server go together, and I do not think you can install the Plex server on you WD MyCloud (I could be wrong).
You can install PLEX server on a PC or Laptop and add the shared network drive as a source. (You may also be able to do it on the Android App, but I haven't checked) Obviously in this case you'd keep that computer on when you want to use PLEX.
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post #12 of 15 Old 01-04-2016, 09:51 AM
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I tried for months to get a Plex server running on my NAS to no avail, the NAS was just too underpowered. I finally gave up and placed the server on a PC, the client on a Roku, with the file on my NAS. Works fantastically. And set-up was trivial.
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post #13 of 15 Old 01-06-2016, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinhvo View Post
I keep hearing good things, soooo good things about Plex but I never have much luck using them.
I blame myself first, 'cuz maybe I over-expect, maybe I set the bar too high.
I've tried to setup a very simple network so that I can stream my bluray rip .mkv to my wifi-ready Sammy TV.
Here's what I have done
+ I'm using a i5-processor laptop as a server since there are a few video files on it. I installed Plex Server on the laptop. I don't know why I have to create an account and sign in. I don't want that part but I was forced to make one. Add library ... bla blah.
On the client side, my Sammy TV, I installed Plex app, had to sign in, then linked to server. Everything was good here.
Now playing
+ buffering most of the time. I do have high-speed internet, TV and the router and the laptop were virtually 10 ft apart. Note: streaming from Amazon Prime Video had no buffering issue. I've tried to set all mode from Original to down to 720p, still buffering.
+ I'm a fan of hifi audio, what can I do to get TrueHD, DTS-MA playing to my speakers?

Another note: I thought Plex app on Android is free, apparently not, it's $4.99.

I love to have the convenience of remotely streaming, but I found no method better than playing bluray .mkv from laptop --> to AVR via HDMI cable. That's way, no buffering, and enjoy hifi-audio track.
Three notes on this:
1. 2.4Ghz WiFi and HD Video streams are hit and miss, even with a strong signal. Make sure your laptop and TV are both wired to your router and try again.
2. Plex does not do HD audio (currently anyways). AAC-based formats are the best you're going to hear.
3. Plex (currently) isn't designed for perfect playback of bluray rips. Kodi is the program for those people.

Referring back to points 2 and 3, when Plex Media Player is released to the public, it will handle 4k video, DTS-HD audio and be just as good as Kodi. Unfortunately your TV won't be able to run it. You're still stuck with the basic Plex app if you want to use your smart TV as the player. PMP is designed for use on a PC/Mac or embeded on a RaspPi2 or Intel NUC.
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Last edited by Dan0myte; 01-06-2016 at 02:13 PM.
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post #14 of 15 Old 01-06-2016, 03:56 PM
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Thanks Dan for clearing that up.
At least, I know what to expect.
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post #15 of 15 Old 01-09-2016, 06:56 PM
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Hey if Im running plex server with torrent also plex will eventually crash I found a fix last time but i got a virus and had to redo the rig but now I can't for the life of me find that fix anywhere wish Id made a worthy note to this when it did work anyway some help would be great, Tia

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