How to Setup Plex Media Player – Video Tutorial

UK Home Automator turned podcaster, Don McAllister, is famous for his high quality video tutorials for the Mac.  This week he comes back to his roots covering a true smart home application and an Automated Home favourite – Plex.

Like us, Don is “blown away” by the OpenSource media player / library manager and the show is a great resource for anyone setting up Plex for the first time as well as showing some of the more advanced features if you are already a Plex user.  Links to the 46 minute long Free HD video below.

This week I couldn’t wait to show you PLEX, a stunning media centre application for Intel based Macs running OSX Leopard. This follows on from the recent Mac mini Media Centre episode, where I started the process of using the newly upgraded Mac mini as a full blown media centre. PLEX is based on the original code for the XBMC (XBox Media Centre) but has forked into a separate development specifically for Intel based Macs running OSX Leopard.

Now that the Mac mini supports full High Definition playback, PLEX allows you to manage your Movies and TV shows with a beautiful high resolution interface. With some sophisticated “scraping” technology, PLEX seamlessly integrates with a host of Internet based services to add rich textual and graphical metadata to your media automatically with full support for DVD artwork, ratings and even Fan artwork. With a multitude of selectable views, browsing your media collection has never been such a joy.  With the introduction of the PL

PlexEX Media Server, PLEX now integrates with your local iTunes and iPhoto libraries, giving you access to your music and photos without any additional configuration, it just works.
Rounding off and already impressive suite of functionality, PLEX also has a plugin architecture allowing third party developers to create plugins or applications to access external web based video and photo services directly from PLEX. Available and installable from within PLEX itself, within minutes you can have direct access to such services as HULU, BBC iPlayer, 4OD, Ted Talks, The Daily Show and many other streaming video services (geographic limitations may apply for some services). The full show covers:
  • Sharing Media Files on a Network
  • Installing & Configuring Plex
  • Calibration Your TV for Overscan
  • Audio Setup
  • Adding & Watching Movies
  • Adding & Watching TV Shows
  • Music & Pictures
  • iTunes & iPhoto Integration
  • Selecting & Installing Applications”

ScreenCastsOnline.com Plex Tutorial  :  Plexapp.com  :  Our Plex / Mac mini Setup Video

7 Comments on "How to Setup Plex Media Player – Video Tutorial"

  1. Interesting … depends where you’re coming form, I guess, but for me it went into detail on things that seemed obvious & left other things quite unexplained …

    sound quality not great – didn’t quite catch a few of the unexplained things ! and Plex is not as polished as I expected, if this is any guide, which rather surprised me …

    Seems to need ripped material, but how do people find the time ? … and/or good streaming ability – what sort of broadband connection is needed, minimum. I wonder ??

  2. It’s impossible to cover everything in an app like Plex – What in particular was “unexplained” that you don’t get?

    Sound quality is fantastic here. Which format did you view – the HD one? One what hardware??

    Plex isn’t polished? Can you explain? It looks stunning to me.

    Broadband – any broadband connection is fine for scraping. And most for streaming. Anything that will do iPlayer for example will be fine.

    “Seems to need ripped material” – now you seem to be complaining you need actual media to play on your media player!?

    I’m sad you’ve only negative things to say about a) Plex – a FREE app, and B) Don’s excellent FREE tutorial video.

  3. aye, sorry to be negative, and do agree it’s impressive – must have been my disappointment !

    sound – yep, the HD one … played on our iMac with some Grado SR125 headphones …

    unexplained – eg: just from (time) 3:20 the symbols are because he’s using … didn’t catch it … and they’re mirrored (?) drives – didn’t understand the significance – OK – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID tells me it’s something to do with RAID & redundancy, but …

    polished – eg: intuitivity not as neat as anticipated, lots of layers & setting-up which, on the face of it, might still be simplified a lot more … so WAF not likely to be good – ie: shows a lot of promise in that direction, but not there yet – IMO – would really want her to be able to set it up & keep feeding it, not just use it to play things … / eg: coverflow implementation clunky … / eg: not sure it offers a really good way of navigating around a large collection of movies …

    ripping … SWMBO has quite a few DVDs – so maybe I was just imagining how long it might take to rip them, just to get into a starting position with PLEX !

    broadband – we get 3 to 4Mbps usually, but a lot less at peak evening times … so I guess I was wondering what sort of programme streaming that would be good for … and, eg, the iPlayer clip from Apprentice that was included towards the end (around 41:50) was not encouraging …

    free – yep, not complaining … and the potential is definitely there !

    sorry, just what I thought …

  4. > do agree it’s impressive – must have been my disappointment !

    Strange sentence.

    > polished – eg: intuitivity not as neat as anticipated, lots of layers & setting-up
    > which, on the face of it, might still be simplified a lot more

    Its simple. Point Plex to your share, tell it if its TV or Movies. It goes away and does everything else for you!

    > so WAF not likely to be good

    Our family use and love Plex. Not sure where you are seeing the complexity? The setup described in the video is done once, after that it’s simple to use.

    > would really want her to be able to set it up & keep feeding it,
    > not just use it to play things …

    Turn on the option to automatically add new items on start up. Then anything you drop into you Movies or TV folders just appears in your library. Simple

    > eg: coverflow implementation clunky … / eg: not sure it offers
    > a really good way of navigating around a large collection of movies …

    As shown in the video, coverflow is only one of several different ways of viewing your library. I use “Media Preview” as did Don in the video. This view shows Rating (PG, 12A etc), IMDB score out of 10 , a good size movie poster and synopsis of the movie. No better way browse and choose your movie.

    > ripping … SWMBO has quite a few DVDs – so maybe I was just imagining how
    > long it might take to rip them, just to get into a starting position with PLEX !

    Ripping IS time consuming, but that’s hardly a PLEX issue. It’s the same for any media streaming solution.

    > eg, the iPlayer clip from Apprentice that was included towards the end
    > (around 41:50) was not encouraging …

    In what way, because of the buffering? Streaming doesm’t start instantly, do you use iplayer in a browser for example, it’s exactly the same. Again nothing to do with PLEX.

    What’s the alternative? For £0.00 you have something that’s not a million miles away from some of the high-end video library system installed by integrators that costs tens of thousands of pounds.

    What do you use currently to play your media – what features does your current setup have that aren’t in PLEX?

  5. at the moment we do it all via iTunes & DVD Player & great piles of DVDs … but we’ve been keeping an eye for something better, hence the interest …

    OK, maybe I’m misunderstanding what I’m seeing – looks like it should be PLEX … what would you recommend for the NAS, how about a Drobo Pro ? … and for the ripper, presumably Handbreak (to be rid of all the peripheral stuff) ?

    Time-consuming – I did try Handbreak a while back, but didn’t get very far with it … sounds like I should give it another go …

    thanks …

  6. Does Plex differ much from XBMC ? I know it was basicly a branch from the XBMC project. Im running XBMC on Windows and its great. Always intrested though if PLEX has took it a stage further. Given the development thats going on I guess there both on an equal footing

  7. Thank for this post.

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