This post is about my own experience looking for an alternative for a streaming service and also to save a few bucks in my pocket. After using Hulu and Netflix for a few months, I got tired of same content or incomplete series so I found a couple of alternatives for my home entertainment center (yes first world problems) Kodi and Plex. This post is about Plex since is the one I chose for my personal use.
What is Plex? Well is another streaming service, where you choose what media to stream, movies, series, music and live TV.
The server can be a high end computer to a Raspberry Pi. I will go over a few settings and changes I made and maybe it will answer the questions that somebody may have.
Plex offers different plans were you can select between free plan, monthly, Yearly and lifetime. Try plex pass and if you like it purchase the life time you will not regre it.
Plex is multiplatform you can download the app and use it in any mobile device, console, smart TV and PC. Also has an Alexa Skill.
If you want to try the free service have in mind that you will have to open your server link and and cast the movie to your Chromecast or Roku (if you have one) or open the link in your console’s browser.
The first server I set up was with a Raspberry Pi that I bought in Amazon with some other items
- Raspberry pi 3 B+
- Raspberry pi case with fan and power supply
- Micro SD 32GB class 10
- 1 TB external hard drive
I tried two different Operating systems in order to get a better performance and to test new things out since the Raspberry Pi is a computer but is basic.
- raspbian: Recommend OS to run on raspberries, the repository is not bad and the Plex package works fine.
- Open Media Vault: Performance is better cause theres nothing consuming resources this is a NAS software basically will add an interface fot you to connect locally for options, set up and folders, theres no graphical interface.
Note: if you are using Open Media Vault with an external hard drive and the format of the drive is NTFS the feature to share folders will not work, you have to use a linux format in order to get that advantage of OMW
My plex worked fine for a while then I wanted to add more content with better resolution so I bought a refurbished computer in Amazon with the following hardware.
- 3.2 GHz Core i5-650
- 8 GB SDRAM DDR3
- 1 TB mechanical_hard_drive
- Intel Integrated Graphics
Now, that is the main media center of my apartment the one that shares all my media to all my devices. The app is so easy to install that you will think you are doing something wrong but no, is basicaly download and install, no networking settings needed!.
If you want to share your libraries to family and friends they have to have Plex pass in order to take advantage otherwise you will have to share your server link, User and Password.
You can do more with Plex you can for example, share your Home server link to others so they can watch outside of your network. Even share live TV if you want but for that you need a better PC, Cable box and Cable card but that is for another post.