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Plex Media Server - How to?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema & Hi-Fi' started by Megahurtz400, 18 Dec 2020.

  1. firstborn

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 3,209

    Location: Nottingham

    He's more or less stated that in another thread as he watches anything he wants in 4k but thinks physical media is a waste of money.
     
  2. jpaul

    Capodecina

    Joined: 1 Mar 2010

    Posts: 14,445

    Given wide codec support on phones and smart tv's now, I think transcoding needs should be limited to bitrate down-grading if you don't have an isp with sufficient upload speed,
    so his existing hardware should be ok;
    re-encoding/mix-down of audio, if the original doesn't have 2.0, track too, could be the issue (yes it is less cpu intensive, but not done on hardware)

    If I were spending on new hardware I'd want 4k support, but, for, potentially colour space mapping down hdr/2020->sdr, that's going to be software translation, is there any hardware that would help ? in particular nothing special on a shield.
     
  3. FrankJH

    Capodecina

    Joined: 6 Jun 2005

    Posts: 22,567

    Personally start as cheap as possible just to really appreciate your needs (and I agree with the others - only consider what you need in your home, don't start sharing with others at this point).

    You may well be amazed how much time it takes ripping discs and getting things set up to start with.

    I started (admittedly quite a few years ago) with two USB discs on my desktop, which then grew into a Unraid server with 9 hdd's over a few years before moving to an Synology NAS and storage has morphed from a sub 100Gb when I started to +30TB now (over 600 BRs and nearly 200 4k all at full quality) so start small, especially if you can use your current desktop as your plex server for the time being until you really know what you/ your family need.

    Plex certainly teaches you a little bit about networking and specially imo about how unreliable wifi and lan over power cabling can be if you don't take time to set them up.
     
  4. Megahurtz400

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 5 Jun 2007

    Posts: 8,255

    Location: Colchester

    Think i'll grab some cheap parts to get the size of my HTPC down to it's smallest and quietest and go from there :D
     
  5. HungryHippos

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 25 Mar 2004

    Posts: 9,683

    Location: Fareham

    I'd budget space and connections for at least 4 x 3.5" SATA drives though in whatever case you use.

    In terms of noise someone else said they had 15k rpm drives earlier in the thread, they would be noisy. Regular 5400rpm or 7200rpm drives should be better.

    Most importantly look into what cpu you need and build around that. You want something that can handle transcoding ideally.
     
  6. Psycho Sonny

    Caporegime

    Joined: 21 Jun 2006

    Posts: 36,749

    Best to get a £50 CPU and use a 1650 super.

    It has to be a 1650 super as it has the new codec compatibility. It's the cheapest option for transcoding and it's a lot faster and more powerful than any CPU for this kind of thing.

    My 3600 struggled at times with transcoding and that's pretty much a top end CPU in relative terms to the whole market and especially compared to the gear most run in such things.
     
  7. jpaul

    Capodecina

    Joined: 1 Mar 2010

    Posts: 14,445

    If you genuinely need transcoding (I'm not convinced he does if he has made judicious choice of how he had ripped his blu-rays) , the 1650/nvidia/cuda options whilst they provide a fast encode, it is at the cost of quality, so I would never use those to encode an archive copy of a blu-ray you were ripping;
    since shield is nvidia, it seems unlikely it has different hardware.
    if the transcode is for delivery to a mobile phone across the internet then maybe any loss of PQ is not an issue.

    transcoding for what type of devices ? - predominately just reducing bit rate to meet internet bandwidth available ?
     
  8. chroniclard

    Capodecina

    Joined: 23 Apr 2014

    Posts: 19,380

    Location: Hertfordshire

    Another Unraid user here, love it. I have an old 3570k box with a few random hard drives in. Use it for plex, newsgroups, etc etc.

    Great bit about Unraid is the dockers and the versatility of it, I can spin up game servers for the kids really easily. Have stuff like minecraft and rust server that they can play on. :)

    However, though its easy to install it get running it has a bit of a learning curve.
     
  9. Goose

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 4,505

    Location: Kent

    There's always Xpenology as well which, in case you dont know, is the synology NAS OS installed on a PC you build or buy yourself. I've been using it for a few years now.
     
  10. Street

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 17 Jan 2005

    Posts: 8,071

    Location: Liverpool

    I run my PMS on an old Dell Optiplex. It's a 3rd gen i7 with 32GB RAM and a RAID10 array of old disks. I use it for other things so it's got ESXi on it then Windows on top for Plex. On the front end, I use an Intel NUC i3. I would have gone for a Shield but wanted Windows on it as I use things like SkyGo. It's more than powerful enough and everything direct plays so no need for transcoding and it also bitstreams out to my amp.

    My server was relatively cheap. Most of it was old parts and the PC was free from an office upgrade years ago. The only thing that cost me were the RAID card and 4 port network card. I very rarely have more than one stream going at the same time and usually I've got enough bandwidth that it doesn't have to transcode much anyway.
     
  11. EssexBoy

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 13 Jun 2013

    Posts: 1,406

    Location: Essex/East London

    N54L - Xpenology - x264 containers - Direct Play = job done on the cheap
     
  12. ***F1ZZY***

    Hitman

    Joined: 5 Jan 2004

    Posts: 806

    Location: Wiltshire

    I'm running a very basic unraid server and Plex.
    Core2Duo and 4GB DDR2 put into old pc case that was lying around then acquired 4x2Tb discs from MM to give me 6Tb space.
    Serves up 1080p around the house to bedrooms etc. (4k just about works if file is small/compressed enough but I tend to stick to 1080p)
    Can transcode stuff on the fly if required (just about really, given the low cpu power but relatively small file sizes I've used)
    I haven't paid for premium Plex as don't intend to use outside of my house.
    I did pay basic licence for Lime, Unraid.
    I'm a Linux newb but just about managed to set it all up ok - GUI is pretty good and forum support and guides is good.

    So, on top of the parts bin stuff I spent about 100-120 quid I think. Been running fine for about 7 years. I might upgrade the hardware at some point and get 4k running better.
     
  13. NeilF

    Capodecina

    Joined: 15 Nov 2003

    Posts: 13,869

    Location: Marlow

    The i5 processor would be enough most folks. (I'm using an Dell i3 server)

    Simply download the server application to a PC. Install it, and then point it to where your library folder(s) is/are. It's very straight forward. Once it's up and running, install the Plex client on TV, or phones etc, and voila...

    Once you're up and running, then you can consider the best means to store you library. I have a 7TB external USB drive attached to my little server PC, and every month or so I simply mirror it to another identical 7TB unit. So if the first 7TB enclosure fails, I have a pretty upto date copy ready to replace it.

    Note: There's a slight art to storing your media, but basically keep TV episodes and Films in different folders, and then there's some simple naming formats to stick to.

    ps: YouTube should have plenty of videos to talk you through setting up the server.
     
  14. Tourm

    Gangster

    Joined: 25 Dec 2005

    Posts: 144

    I just added a large internal hdd purely for films/TV in my main comp (i5 3570K), installed Plex Server and went from there as the cheapest & simplest option.

    Ethernet connected TV's around the house all find the media server with metadata, no issues so far with any lag/quality whilst gaming at the same time.
    Seemed to be a little to easy if I'm honest!

    I do like the sound of the Nvidia Shield though, with an external hdd.
     
  15. tres

    Soldato

    Joined: 16 Oct 2007

    Posts: 7,185

    Location: UK

    Budget Intel CPU with Quick Sync.
    e.g. Celeron J3355 can handle a few 4k transcodes, at least 10x 1080p transcodes.
     
  16. barmyllama

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 20 Dec 2004

    Posts: 6,594

    Location: Tamworth

    Don't you need a Plex Pass in order to take advantage of Quick Sync?
     
  17. tres

    Soldato

    Joined: 16 Oct 2007

    Posts: 7,185

    Location: UK

    You do indeed
     
  18. Street

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 17 Jan 2005

    Posts: 8,071

    Location: Liverpool

    The lifetime passes pop up on offer at a decent discount quite regularly.
     
  19. barmyllama

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 20 Dec 2004

    Posts: 6,594

    Location: Tamworth

    Doesn't help if you need Quick Sync to begin with. And even then it's still a £75 ish cost with the 20% discount that's usually offered to me a couple of times a year.