Go Big or Go Home Plex Server

criccio

Fully Equipped
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
12,758
Ahh, right. Mobile and embedded device viewing. That explains it.

I've never had any interest in watching my content on anything but my home theater setup, which makes things easier.

In fact, I prefer if my content is never transcoded, and kept as close in format as possible to the source.

I usually use MakeMKV to pull the unmolested video and audio tracks of my choice off of my BluRays and then store them as mkv's on my NAS for viewing. It's a little hefty at 20-40GB per 1080p title, but that's one of the reasons I have lots of storage.
I have a large collection of all MKV's and never use the mobile functionality of it other than using my phone to browse then play things to my home theater on the Chromecast. You can even tell it to not transcode and play in what they call, "original quality". The UI and interaction with your phone to find and play media on your TV is the selling (well.. its free) point for me. It's easily the slickest way to manage and play a large library of media.

Some of that mobile integration, while I don't take advantage of it myself, is also super slick. I could be watching something on my TV, click the Cast To button on the Plex app on my phone then its now playing on my phone right where it was on the TV. Once I get back to the couch, press it again and it picks right up on the TV. That's a dumb use case but it gives you an idea how well it works.

You really need to just set up the server portion and play with it yourself. Its an incredible piece of software (multiple pieces, really) that makes library management and playback on anything super seemless. Gone are the days of needed an HTPC and Windows in your home theater. I've replaced those with simple Chromecasts.
 

ThreeDee

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Sep 5, 2001
Messages
10,733
I run FreeNAS with Plex installed in a jail for my server .. If I had the bones for a ThreadRipper setup , I'd definitely consider one..

How do you "share" Kodi?

With Plex you can invite others (Friends) and select what categories you share with them .. I created free accounts for my wife and 9yr old daughter and share only stuff they like and/or are age appropriate. So when my daughter pulls up her plex account on her computer, her login on our XBOX One, Roku 4 .. I don't have to worry about her watching something she shouldn't.
 
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
2,644
I wish I could get my plex server available outside my network.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't....
I had a similar issue with my new edgerouter , I ended up putting a static IP address on my server and port forwarding the port 32400 for Plex just for the static IP of the sever and haven't had an issue since.
 

Fleat

Gawd
Joined
Jun 29, 2005
Messages
965
Theater is running a HTPC with 1060 gtx and Kodi, upstairs TV has the Plex app built in but I usually use the Xbox one for Plex play back as it's hard lined. Tv in the bedroom is on a 4k Roku premium on 5g and work's great, can stream lossless quality with no issues over the wireless. Parents have a Samsung smart TV with the app built in, it's an older tv 4 years old or so now. Streamed from my house did fine but wasn't but 720p as their tv is on the far side of there house and my upload speed is only 20. Played fine and fast , but just wasn't super clear. I have had pretty good luck with Plex.
Ah okay. I moved away from the HTPC setups a couple of years ago as the Nvidia Shield replaced it for me in my theater, living room, and bedroom. The Plex app on the Shield does bitstreaming without any issues. You can also run Kodi with the Plex plugin or PlexKodiConnect (I prefer the first option). I have used that with great success as well.
 

bman212121

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 18, 2011
Messages
1,617
They also used Windows 10 Pro instead of a Server 2016 or 2012R2 OS then complain about updates. If you are running a server, use a server OS.
2012 R2 is the last one that lets you choose what and when to install. I definitely would have went that route if I were building this system. My "file server" is just running plain old Windows 8.1 still, and I'll likely run that until it's EOL.

I was just about to rant about how Microsoft thinks everyone works bankers hours, and that your business is only active for up to 12 hours a day. But I see someone came to their senses and now allows active hours to be up to 18 hours. I can actually work with that, and would probably set active hours from 6:00am to 12:00am. Using that plus feature deferral, you should be able to somewhat control when you get updates in a stand alone environment. Defer the big upgrade for 365 days, but then at some point flip that back to 0 then try to update again. Windows should pick up the feature upgrade pretty quickly so you can make sure it comes back online. As far as breaking your workflow, it's not really different than service packs of the past, so you'll just have to suck it up and deal with them at some point of you're going to be dropped out of scope. Now we just need an official way to install the updates from a file. I do see people have figured out a way to convert the downloaded installation so you can extract the ISO contents, and just run setup from a network share, so halfway there.
 

ppilot

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 1, 2003
Messages
99
Everything this guy just said plus the fact that you are using untapped CPU potential of the server to re-encode the file ON THE FLY. Sure, you can get a Kodi app for many devices, but what happens when the device it is installed on doesn't have the right codec for playback or the media itself will likely choke the device?

Examples where Plex shines over just plain Kodi:

1. You have a bunch of movies in h265 format in 4K resolution stored on your server. All the phones, tablets, Android/Apple TV boxes, Roku's, Chromecasts, etc. in the household are extremely likely to choke trying to process that file as you play it over the network. Some of the devices may even refuse to play the file extension such as mkv. Run the Plex app and the server will re-encode it on the fly to something the device can play like a generic mp4 file.

2. Your at work on lunch break, at a hotel for the night, or just chilling at your friend's house. For the sake of argument, assume you already own the media you want to enjoy and don't want to pay for some other streaming service or even re-download it to your device again. Your choice of connection is shitty local Wi-Fi or equally spotty 4G that may even be throttled or bandwidth capped. HD resolution and 7.1 Audio isn't entirely necessary when watching on your 5" phone screen, especially when you don't want to deal with buffering. Run your Plex app and the media could be streamed in 2ch audio, less than 720p resolution, and eat up less than 2mbps of bandwidth.

3. You know that really old stuff you downloaded in the wild west times of the early days of the broadband era? The movies or rare shows you still have on your drive that you can't find newer DVD/Blu-ray versions of? That awesome show that was encoded in some dumb as fuck codec by someone on Napster/Limewire/Bearshare/Kazaa that hasn't been used since 2001 (e.g. realplayer or similar)? Don't worry, Plex probably has those near extinct codecs in it's repository, will download it to the server automatically, and will make it play on any devices with the plex app by re-encoding it.
Good lord man, why would you try to transcode 4k video? Pretty much everyone at Plex recommends creating a 1080p version of files that will be watched on non 4k display devices due to the insane hardware requirements of 4k transcoding (and it is still fairly buggy)
 

vxspiritxv

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 10, 2001
Messages
1,523
Did I miss something, they talked about qnap performance, but not their own "kick ass" system's true wire performance?
Windows 10? Don't they know that has a limit of 20 concurrent smb connections? o_O


Dell T630, 6 x 4tb raid6, Intel 10GbE fiber, just over 600mbytes/sec real world from fastest client which has a 960pro.
Waiting patently for ESXi 6.7 with 4kn drive support.
 

steakman1971

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 22, 2005
Messages
2,433
I'm using a server I bought off of Ebay - came with 2 Xeon processors and 32 GB ram. It's loud but runs Plex just fine.
 
Joined
Aug 17, 2016
Messages
704
You guys are way more advanced than me. I just built a multi-purpose PC for my theater, the HTPC part is with MKV's and Kodi. I could see the benefit of being able to call it up from other TV's in the house although I'd probably not use it. I only digitize movies and I only watch my movies in my theater. The PC it is on is portable so if I go on a long vacation it's coming with me anyway. It does seem that Plex would be better if you wanted access to loads of media on lots of devices and away from home.

For TV shows I have Tablo which does that so I'm sort of covered.
 

Ragenrok

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 15, 2007
Messages
4,151
Love plex, super easy to setup for multiple devices and for on the road streaming. I travel alot so being able to just open my laptop or phone and watch a show like its netflix is a huge thing for me. I also love being able to make multiple accounts so on my kids devices they can only access the kids movies and tv shows instead of everything on my server.

I like kodi and use it on my HTPC/Media server with also hosts my plex server. But as far as trying to stream to other devices plex is way way simpler to setup.
 

Taco

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 2, 2001
Messages
1,465
From everything I've read in this thread, Kodi is significantly more complex than Plex. Plex just works out of the box, hardest part is the remote access, but that's just some port forwarding on the firewall. You can of course run Plex on the server and Kodi client side. Simply being an added application layer does not translate to a more complicated experience, sometimes it accomplishes the opposite.

I'm also using it to record OTA now and watch live TV. 1 Antenna in house, but I can watch from any TV, phone, tablet, laptop no matter where I am in the world. Still a bit glitchy, but signiicantly more stable now than it was only a couple months ago.

Hell, I've streamed movies to my laptop midflight on an airplane.

Love me some Plex. I've got it sitting on a QNAP NAS and have a lifetime license.
 

CaptNumbNutz

Bulls[H]it Master
Joined
Apr 11, 2007
Messages
20,928
Good lord man, why would you try to transcode 4k video? Pretty much everyone at Plex recommends creating a 1080p version of files that will be watched on non 4k display devices due to the insane hardware requirements of 4k transcoding (and it is still fairly buggy)
True. I was thinking more long term as 4K gets accepted. It will happen eventually.

Either way, take my statements and leave out 4K and focus on H265 in 1080p (which is where everything is going now)... the examples still apply.
 

farscapesg1

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 4, 2004
Messages
2,597
I had looked at Kodi, Plex and Emby (Media Browser) when SageTV got bought out. I didn't like the Media Browser interface and the idea of maintaining HTPCs for Kodi at the time since I was used to the SageTV extenders (set and forget). We really wanted a similar experience and Roku with Plex provided that, along with the option of play part of show on one TV and switch to another. With 2 kids we used that A LOT! Kids take a shower, we could start a "grownup" show like Outlander downstairs.. stop it when they were done and resume it in the bedroom after they went to bed. Or the kids be watching one of their shows downstairs, stop it and go finish it upstairs while I turned on the news or something downstairs.
I also used the remote access at work to catch up on some shows I never had time to watch at home by myself because the family wasn't interested, and when travelling. I usually pack a Roku Express and a travel router for business trips if I'm going to be more than 2 days so i can watch in the hotel room. Nothing like catching up on 3-4 episodes of Gotham, Walking Dead, whatever while stuck on a business trip sitting in my hotel room.
 

aokman

Gawd
Joined
Jan 3, 2012
Messages
977
PLEX is a pile of shite these days with x265 and 4K constantly trying to transcode content that can play natively.

Best thing I ever did was moving to Apple TV 4K’s and Infuse 5 pro... Plays absolutely everything I have with native x265 decoding even though according th PLEX its impossible haha.

For the amount of money you would spend on a threadripper, you could buy tons of media players that handle the content natively and you essentially need is a fileserver.
 

Fleat

Gawd
Joined
Jun 29, 2005
Messages
965
PLEX is a pile of shite these days with x265 and 4K constantly trying to transcode content that can play natively.

Best thing I ever did was moving to Apple TV 4K’s and Infuse 5 pro... Plays absolutely everything I have with native x265 decoding even though according th PLEX its impossible haha.

For the amount of money you would spend on a threadripper, you could buy tons of media players that handle the content natively and you essentially need is a fileserver.
Glad you found a solution that worked for you.

You mention PLEX having difficulties playing x265 and 4k along with buying a media player that can handle the content natively (which led you to purchasing Apple TVs).

With the Nvidia Shield, X265 4K works natively without any issues. I never see any transcoding and it even seems to play 10bit content without any problems. It also seems to work natively on Rokus and several of the built in TV apps at this point. See this thread for people who came to the same conclusion.

I know it seems like I am pushing the Shield TV pretty hard, but I have had my theater shield for 2.5+ years now and it seems to keep getting better. It just seems to be a great match with Plex and most media playback in general. It also greatly simplified my home setups because I was able to get rid of 3 HTPCs after purchasing two more Shield TVs.

What were the clients that you were trying to use with Plex?
 
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Navilor

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
193
The only instances where you might want to use PLEX transcoder are:

1) You do not convert your content to streaming media specifications.

2) You do not know how to convert your content to streaming media specifications even though you would like to.

3) You need Adaptive bitrate (ABR) content when connecting through a crappy network.

Because I have worked in the streaming media industry since 2008 and a large number of people do not know how to create streaming media compliant content I decided to write an article on how to use FFmpeg to do just that.

https://videoblerg.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/ffmpeg-and-how-to-use-it-wrong/
 

aokman

Gawd
Joined
Jan 3, 2012
Messages
977
Glad you found a solution that worked for you.

You mention PLEX having difficulties playing x265 and 4k along with buying a media player that can handle the content natively (which led you to purchasing Apple TVs).

With the Nvidia Shield, X265 4K works natively without any issues. I never see any transcoding and it even seems to play 10bit content without any problems. It also seems to work natively on Rokus and several of the built in TV apps at this point. See this thread for people who came to the same conclusion.

I know it seems like I am pushing the Shield TV pretty hard, but I have had my theater shield for 2.5+ years now and it seems to keep getting better. It just seems to be a great match with Plex and most media playback in general. It also greatly simplified my home setups because I was able to get rid of 3 HTPCs after purchasing two more Shield TVs.

What were the clients that you were trying to use with Plex?
I had the NVIDIA shield also, unfortunately I found it too buggy with android and the horrible remote. Also it did have the transcoding issues also unless I changed everything to force direct play. Also the WIFI performance is horrific, I can stream a 50gb x265 HDR file on the Apple TV and my Samsung 4K Bluray player the Shield just choked on it. Well it choked on alot less to be honest... I run Ubiquiti AP AC Pro's and have excellent throughput so I don't really need to cable anything much these days.

The only instances where you might want to use PLEX transcoder are:

1) You do not convert your content to streaming media specifications.

2) You do not know how to convert your content to streaming media specifications even though you would like to.

3) You need Adaptive bitrate (ABR) content when connecting through a crappy network.

Because I have worked in the streaming media industry since 2008 and a large number of people do not know how to create streaming media compliant content I decided to write an article on how to use FFmpeg to do just that.

https://videoblerg.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/ffmpeg-and-how-to-use-it-wrong/
Sorry but PLEX support gave me the same garbage response and it simply not true. I use the exact same content between PLEX and Infuse 5 Pro. Infuse plays everything (x265 / HDR / Lossess audio) all natively on the Apple TV 4K while PLEX constantly tries to transcode it. I tell it to direct play, it ignores it and still tries to transcode and there are no options in the app to force it.

The content I have is what it is, I am not going to recode my 4K content to 1080p just to make PLEX happy and fill up my storage even more. The Apple TV 4K with Infuse literally plays every single bit of content I have, doesn't matter if its an old DVD rip with stuffed up frame rates or 4K x265 HDR with lossess audio. It just plays... hence why my PLEX pass is gone now, they seem more focused on useless crap like PLEX cloud and PLEX VR than improving the core software anymore.

My server is only an i5 2500 so transcoding is out but personally I don't see a reason to even bother with it if you have the right type of media players.
 

ND40oz

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Messages
11,775
The only instances where you might want to use PLEX transcoder are:

1) You do not convert your content to streaming media specifications.

2) You do not know how to convert your content to streaming media specifications even though you would like to.

3) You need Adaptive bitrate (ABR) content when connecting through a crappy network.

Because I have worked in the streaming media industry since 2008 and a large number of people do not know how to create streaming media compliant content I decided to write an article on how to use FFmpeg to do just that.

https://videoblerg.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/ffmpeg-and-how-to-use-it-wrong/
The defeats the entire point of Plex. When I play any piece of media, I just want it to play on whatever device I'm requesting it on and that's what Plex does. Build a beefy Plex server, use it for a few years, hardware refresh when it's no longer working for your newer media. Just like you need to upgrade your storage for Plex as you outgrow it, you need to do the same on the CPU side.
 

Navilor

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
193
The defeats the entire point of Plex. When I play any piece of media, I just want it to play on whatever device I'm requesting it on and that's what Plex does. Build a beefy Plex server, use it for a few years, hardware refresh when it's no longer working for your newer media. Just like you need to upgrade your storage for Plex as you outgrow it, you need to do the same on the CPU side.
I currently run Plex as a plugin on my FreeNAS box that has an AMD E-350 Processor and 8GB of RAM. I have no need for epic hardware in my workflow.

I encode my stuff like Netflix does sans ABR content to help save space and use the right birate for that specific episode in that TV series. In addition you would not believe some of the quality issues I have with source VOB and m2ts files that were made by "professionals." I also watch my content only on my Roku box using Plex or the now dead to me Roksbox Roku channel.


With that said I am happy that you have a workflow that works for you and if it works for you don't change a thing.
 

Blazestorm

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jan 17, 2007
Messages
6,940
I'm using a server I bought off of Ebay - came with 2 Xeon processors and 32 GB ram. It's loud but runs Plex just fine.
I also bought a Supermicro board w/ 2 5520s for pretty cheap. It came with some obnoxious 2U heatsinks that I finally replaced with some 4u Heatsinks from Supermicro and they are whisper quiet and keeps it < 60c under full load.

Bought them from Supermicro directly (was actually the cheapest place I could find them): http://store.supermicro.com/heatsink/4u-heatsink/4u-active-cpu-cooler-snk-p0040ap4.html
 

steakman1971

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 22, 2005
Messages
2,433
I also bought a Supermicro board w/ 2 5520s for pretty cheap. It came with some obnoxious 2U heatsinks that I finally replaced with some 4u Heatsinks from Supermicro and they are whisper quiet and keeps it < 60c under full load.

Bought them from Supermicro directly (was actually the cheapest place I could find them): http://store.supermicro.com/heatsink/4u-heatsink/4u-active-cpu-cooler-snk-p0040ap4.html
I'll check it out. From my memory, my case has something like 4-6 fans in the front that send the air over the CPU's (which have passive heatsinks, it's a bunch of fins). There is a plastic shroud in the case to direct the air flow.
When that case is not under load, it's just mildly unpleasant. I bought another system that is running pfSense - it's older Xeon's and it is obnoxiously loud. (It's also overkill for my pfSense system - but I bought that computer for $75 so it was a pretty good deal. I plan on replacing that one one of these days - don't need 2 Xeons + 32 GB ram for pfSense at my house :) )
 

Blazestorm

Supreme [H]ardness
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Jan 17, 2007
Messages
6,940
I'll check it out. From my memory, my case has something like 4-6 fans in the front that send the air over the CPU's (which have passive heatsinks, it's a bunch of fins). There is a plastic shroud in the case to direct the air flow.
When that case is not under load, it's just mildly unpleasant. I bought another system that is running pfSense - it's older Xeon's and it is obnoxiously loud. (It's also overkill for my pfSense system - but I bought that computer for $75 so it was a pretty good deal. I plan on replacing that one one of these days - don't need 2 Xeons + 32 GB ram for pfSense at my house :) )
I realized I also replaced the original fans in the NORCO 4220 with some quieter ones. I live in a loft and the server sits in an open closet on the 1st floor. So there's nothing blocking the sound between our bed and the server. If it was stuck in the garage or some other closet I probably wouldn't care as much.
 
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