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general plex server to replace streaming services?

joined dec 4, 2022

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joined dec 4, 2022

so i finally got a plex server set up on a tiny little VPS, which is something i've been meaning to do for a long time. to start, I only bought a $5/month server, which has 25GB of storage (obviously going to need to bump it up soon enough).

does anyone else here use Plex? And if so, do you use it to replace streaming services like Netflix or HBO or maybe even Spotify? If so, how do you like it as a replacement? I spent this weekend uploading a bunch of things and am quickly realizing it's going to be a pain in the ass to maintain. I'm typically waiting until night to upload, so my bandwidth isn't congested during peak hours, which is working out pretty good except for the times that it fails during the night. Overall, it's going okay, but going to take a lot of hours to build up a respectable library, and I feel like i might lost interest eventually.

For those who don't know what Plex is, it's a media server that you can either pay for as a service or host yourself and stream your own content that you upload to the service (or pay for content Plex offers). The benefits are a great out-of-the-box streaming experience for a lower cost than if you were paying for multiple different streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

posted 11/8/2023, 5:40 am

joined jun 30, 2023

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joined jun 30, 2023

I don't have Plex, but I too am curious, since I've been considering building a media server to host my massive collection of physical media.

posted 11/9/2023, 12:20 pm

joined dec 4, 2022

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joined dec 4, 2022

i have an update here after some time uploading files. so i spend the last week uploading the entirety of avatar the last airbender (roughly 19GB total) and working my way through uploading the entirety of Lost (about 33GB per season)

what i'm realizing is uploading television takes up a lot of space very quickly. i ended up attaching some more storage to my server, so now i'm paying about $36/mo for over 300GB of storage, which will get me pretty far, but i think i'm going to stop uploading TV and just focus on movies. that way, i won't hit my storage capacity any time soon.

so in short, i think plex can't 100% replace your streaming services if you like to watch TV, but could be a nice replacement if you just like to watch movies

i also don't think replacing spotify or apple music is in the cards either. those services are just too good at exposing me to new music, and i really value that (i use spotify)

posted 11/15/2023, 7:40 pm

joined nov 28, 2023

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joined nov 28, 2023

I use Plex for free, streaming downloaded videos from a spare PC to my Roku.

It doesn't replace streaming services but it lets me supplement them.

edited 11/28/2023, 4:19 am

joined dec 4, 2022

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joined dec 4, 2022

quoting Owlglass:

I use Plex for free, streaming downloaded videos from a spare PC to my Roku.

It doesn't replace streaming services but it lets me supplement them.

yeah i guess the one thing for me was to potentially be able to download stuff for when i take flights back home, which is frequent enough to where it's nice to have that option.

i'm assuming you mean your spare PC is just available on your home network

posted 11/28/2023, 5:45 am

joined jun 9, 2023

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joined jun 9, 2023

quoting orchids:

i have an update here after some time uploading files. so i spend the last week uploading the entirety of avatar the last airbender (roughly 19GB total) and working my way through uploading the entirety of Lost (about 33GB per season)

what i'm realizing is uploading television takes up a lot of space very quickly. i ended up attaching some more storage to my server, so now i'm paying about $36/mo for over 300GB of storage, which will get me pretty far, but i think i'm going to stop uploading TV and just focus on movies. that way, i won't hit my storage capacity any time soon.

so in short, i think plex can't 100% replace your streaming services if you like to watch TV, but could be a nice replacement if you just like to watch movies

i also don't think replacing spotify or apple music is in the cards either. those services are just too good at exposing me to new music, and i really value that (i use spotify)

I run a media server and have done for about three years now. Doing it on someone else's computer just isn't cost effective at all. You can use pretty much any old hardware and run plex or jellyfin locally, and those $36/mo, over a couple of months would buy several terabytes of disk space. I started off in 2020 with a NUC8 and ~15TB of drives that I got in black friday sales, and over the years (with some user donations thrown in) that's grown to about 30TB. No need to RAID or anything like that cause if a drive fails you can just suck it all back down from the "public cloud" (wink).

Currently serving something like 13K TV episodes and 1K movies (and my personal music collection for just me), got 20 users (friends and family) some of which throw me a bone sometimes. I set up Sonarr/Radarr to manage the library fairly early on, later on brought in Bazarr to pick up subtitles automatically and Ombi to manage requests from users, and I wrote myself a little dashboard so that I don't have to go and check on this stuff manually as much.

On the music front, I mostly use bandcamp to discover new stuff, then buy/DL and chuck it into a folder, and serve that out with Navidrome. There're a decent number of compatible mobile apps so I can get hold of all my music on the go.

posted 12/4/2023, 11:24 pm

joined jun 30, 2023

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joined jun 30, 2023

quoting eris:

I run a media server and have done for about three years now. Doing it on someone else's computer just isn't cost effective at all. You can use pretty much any old hardware and run plex or jellyfin locally, and those $36/mo, over a couple of months would buy several terabytes of disk space. I started off in 2020 with a NUC8 and ~15TB of drives that I got in black friday sales, and over the years (with some user donations thrown in) that's grown to about 30TB. No need to RAID or anything like that cause if a drive fails you can just suck it all back down from the "public cloud" (wink).

Currently serving something like 13K TV episodes and 1K movies (and my personal music collection for just me), got 20 users (friends and family) some of which throw me a bone sometimes. I set up Sonarr/Radarr to manage the library fairly early on, later on brought in Bazarr to pick up subtitles automatically and Ombi to manage requests from users, and I wrote myself a little dashboard so that I don't have to go and check on this stuff manually as much.

On the music front, I mostly use bandcamp to discover new stuff, then buy/DL and chuck it into a folder, and serve that out with Navidrome. There're a decent number of compatible mobile apps so I can get hold of all my music on the go.

quoting eris:

I run a media server and have done for about three years now. Doing it on someone else's computer just isn't cost effective at all. You can use pretty much any old hardware and run plex or jellyfin locally, and those $36/mo, over a couple of months would buy several terabytes of disk space.

As someone who's not necessarily tech illiterate, but has fallen out of doing computer stuff for about 10 years now, how would one get started using Plex or Jellyfin?

posted 12/5/2023, 11:15 am

joined dec 4, 2022

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joined dec 4, 2022

yeah i feel like i'd also be interested in knowing that too. i feel like getting my own hardware setup is juuuuuuuuuust outside of the level of effort i'd be willing to put in, but who knows shrug smiley

posted 12/5/2023, 3:46 pm

joined jun 9, 2023

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joined jun 9, 2023

It really depends if you want it just inside your house, or accessible from anywhere.

If the latter and you're not particularly techie, plex with the subscription works okay for this (but ofc, removes the benefit of just paying power bills). Plex is extremely simple, just download, run, point it at the drives you have your stuff on and you're good to go.

Jellyfin is a bit more involved but it's all FOSS, you can run it for your local network with the same amount of time investment as plex (i.e., just install and run, point at drives) but if you want it accessible anywhere you'll need to slap a webserver in front of it with reverse proxy config, optionally point a domain at your home IP, etc. If you've ever set up a web server before it's not particularly hard and there are example configs online that you can crib from. (You can also run jellyfin in docker if you are so inclined, not sure about plex in this regard)

The real bonus IMO is sonarr/radarr, they are basically like digital PVRs for TV/movies respectively, they hook into TVDB/IMDB and will manage grabbing releases from the web/usenet for you, and move it into directories where your media server will pick them up automatically, so in a lot of cases acquiring new content becomes zero-effort.

There are a few guides better than my rambling here: https://agatsyasingh.wordpress.com/2022/04/21/setting-up-a-media-server-with-docker-jellyfin-deluge-sonarr-and-radarr/ https://www.fuzzygrim.com/posts/media-server

posted 12/5/2023, 7:09 pm

joined apr 30, 2023

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I don't know what I'm doing

joined apr 30, 2023

I used to have a Raspberry Pi with a 1 terabyte SSD that I ran Plex off of. I only had it up for a few weeks because I accidentally formatted the drive, but during that time it worked decently well. Since I was using a Raspberry Pi, it struggled a bit to stream to my TV, but when it came to streaming to my phone, it worked decently well. If I was to do it again, I would probably use Jellyfin just because it is open source and free, but overall Plex worked quite well for me.

posted 12/6/2023, 12:32 am

joined jun 30, 2023

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joined jun 30, 2023

lol

I just remembered I have an old computer, I may be able to use. I'm not sure how old though, I'd estimate about 8. My dad sorta stuffed it into my car last time I visited, along with an unusable 3D printer.

At the very least I have a tower that I can put new hardware in.

posted 12/7/2023, 6:04 pm

joined feb 23, 2023

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Jail?!

joined feb 23, 2023

Does Sonarr and Radarr have their own UI? I don't need a full fancy frontend for watching things, but I do need something to help me find content. There are some shows/movies that are not on any streaming service and I don't know how to track down the items anymore. Does a full "stack" need to be setup or is there a way to just use those tools to get content and I can watch them with VLC or whatever manually?

posted 12/19/2023, 7:59 pm

joined jun 9, 2023

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joined jun 9, 2023

quoting brown-owl:

Does Sonarr and Radarr have their own UI? I don't need a full fancy frontend for watching things, but I do need something to help me find content. There are some shows/movies that are not on any streaming service and I don't know how to track down the items anymore. Does a full "stack" need to be setup or is there a way to just use those tools to get content and I can watch them with VLC or whatever manually?

Yeah, they have their own UI. You could use them without a media server just fine, they'll organize your stuff for you as well.

posted 1/18/2024, 9:27 am

joined jan 27, 2023

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Did You Get My Message?

joined jan 27, 2023

Playing DVDs and BluRay in Plex by andrei.xyz (2024-01-05)

posted 1/18/2024, 10:35 am

joined jun 30, 2023

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joined jun 30, 2023

I haven't done computer shit in 15 years, but I've managed to build a media server. I put it together a couple weeks ago, but for some reason Newegg shipped me a power supply from China, which came with a Chinese power cable, so I had to order one that would fit into an US outlet.

I got my cable last week, and installed Unraid, and this week I've been getting the software to work. Jellyfin, Jellyseer, and Sonarr are "working," Radarr is maybe? working.

Where I'm at today, is I can connect to Jellyfin with my TV, but there's nothing there yet. Jellyseerr can make requests to Radarr, but for some reason won't download, it won't make requests to Sonarr. I managed to download something via Sonarr though, but it's not showing up in Jellyfin.

I think at least when it comes to the episode I downloaded from Sonarr not showing up is that I need to change target directories. I feel like I'll be able to get things finally hammered out this weekend.

There was also the matter of me being too clever with user names on Saturday forcing me to uninstall and reinstall Jellyfin on Monday.

I am not good at computers anymore

posted 1/25/2024, 2:24 pm

joined jun 30, 2023

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joined jun 30, 2023

I got it working yesterday! As I suspected, it was my misunderstanding of directories.

Trash-guides.info is a wonderful resource, but damn if you're not in the swing of computer things, it's easy to get lost.

posted 1/29/2024, 12:28 pm

joined jun 30, 2023

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joined jun 30, 2023

Update if anyone is still paying attention.

My server has been running mostly solid (had to reboot it a couple times, plus a power outage made me realize the importance of a static IP). It's been pretty great. It's amazing just how easy it is to find things, even exclusives to certain streaming services.

I've been downloading Seinfeld and The Simpsons the last day or so. I have them on disc already, but it'll be nice to just hit shuffle and watch a random episode, instead of having to break out the discs from the shelf and pick one when I want to kill 20 minutes.

Definitely install Jellyseerr (or Overseer, if you're using Plex, although I can't speak for it), it works great for making requests, and makes it easy

posted 2/12/2024, 3:13 pm

joined dec 4, 2022

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joined dec 4, 2022

quoting NobodyFix:

Definitely install Jellyseerr (or Overseer, if you're using Plex, although I can't speak for it), it works great for making requests, and makes it easy

i've seen a lot of talk on these other clients. are they preferred just because the UI is better or is free vs. the Plex client wanting you to pay for streaming features?

posted 2/13/2024, 7:49 pm

joined jun 30, 2023

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joined jun 30, 2023

quoting orchids:

i've seen a lot of talk on these other clients. are they preferred just because the UI is better or is free vs. the Plex client wanting you to pay for streaming features?

I haven't used Plex, but I ran with Jellyfin because it's free, and doesn't lock some of the features behind subscriptions. It's also open source if that's a thing for anyone.

UI is pretty simple and easy to use, if you've used a streaming service, it's about as intuitive as them. There's a plug-in which gives you some themes to punch it up, and the Roku app works good, which makes it easy to watch things on the "big screen."

My favorite little feature is that the info screen where you start your video tells you what time it would end, which comes in handy.

posted 2/13/2024, 8:45 pm

joined dec 4, 2022

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joined dec 4, 2022

quoting NobodyFix:

and doesn't lock some of the features behind subscriptions

huh this is interesting I already gave Plex $5 just to stream my own content on cellular data sad smiley

posted 2/14/2024, 2:02 am

joined feb 26, 2024

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joined feb 26, 2024

I started using Plex many years ago. It seems I bought a lifetime Plex Pass back in the day. It must have been incredibly cheap. I recently started using it again, and I’m blown away with how professional some parts of it are. It has not replaced my streaming services though.

posted 2/26/2024, 12:57 pm

joined jun 30, 2023

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joined jun 30, 2023

quoting amykhar:

I started using Plex many years ago. It seems I bought a lifetime Plex Pass back in the day. It must have been incredibly cheap. I recently started using it again, and I’m blown away with how professional some parts of it are. It has not replaced my streaming services though.

I can say that my streaming hasn't been replaced, but we're down to Tubi and the lowest tier of Hulu, which I think is just about perfect TBH. Of course it's not like it's difficult for new TV shows to show up, my partner has been into Tracker, which airs on CBS, and the third episode showed up in my server the next day.

Really the only thing I think is missing is a good way to get blacked out sports via an M3U, so I can stream them through Jellyfin.

posted 2/27/2024, 12:20 pm

joined jun 30, 2023

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joined jun 30, 2023

Sorry about the double post, but I've run into a couple of issues with my server.

First, for some reason a lot of media defaults to French, which isn't a huge deal, since I just have to switch the language over and turn off the subtitles. It's more of a deal for my partner who doesn't retain how to do that no matter how many times I've shown her.

Second, transcoding is definitely a bigger deal than I thought it would be. I had noticed early on that some videos would randomly skip back in time, and I assumed it was just a bad rips. I eventually figured out that transcoding certain formats for my TV was pegging my processor, causing both the skips and sometimes loading screens. This lead to:

Third, I put an old video card in, hoping it would help out, but it's too old, and started filling up the log with errors, which caused my server to become unresponsive periodically. I should have a new, albeit cheap, video card with the proper chipsets for transcoding in tomorrow, also this should make it easier to transcode all the files I currently have into smaller formats considering everything is across the board right now, and my 12 TB drive is at 40% capacity already.

Fourth, some TV is just a bitch to find, like Seinfeld, it's there, but seems to clog up my queue with files that just hang there forever. I installed an optical drive, and set up MakeMKV and Handbrake, they work great at taking my DVDs and Blu-Rays, and converting them to a useable format, just pop the disc in and let them do their thing. The downside is unlike ripping my CDs back in the day where 99% of the time the track listings were pulled from CDDB, there apparently isn't anything like that for visual media. It's pretty much a crapshoot as to how things are named and organized, so I still have to babysit them on some level.

Really everything has been manageable so far, but just a bunch of "headscratchers" for someone who hasn't done computer things in 15 or so years now.

posted 2/27/2024, 12:59 pm

general plex server to replace streaming services?