PLEX And Other Personal Streaming Servers

My setup is pretty lazy: I added all of my music and videos to iTunes 20 years ago and they’re still there. Now I just drop new stuff on the app, tweak the tags a little bit and I’m done.


The thing for me, when people talk about how discs or the flashdrives will eventually die… well, not to be morbid, so will I.

I’m not so concerned about these things lasting at this stage in my life. But I’m sure if I was in my 20s or 30s, I’d be all in on this stuff, it probably is more convenient.


When I upgraded from PS4 last year, I was dismayed that the PS5 lacked a way to play video files from an external HD. So I figured out a reasonably robust/lazy Plex setup (streaming from my Mac desktop).

Now I’m running into an issue where my Plex streams are briefly freezing up several times during a movie, especially in the larger Rifftrax files, and especially when I’m doing anything else on my computer. The thing is, now the PS5 can play video files, but I’d rather stick with Plex.

I knew I should have waited until I came up with a better wish for that monkey’s paw.

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I’m absolutely with you on this. I gripe about all the crap that makes playing discs so unpleasant, but having discs is hugely important. I am all-in on physical media. The degree to which people trade common sense for convenience continues to amaze me.

One day, probably sooner than later, Spotify and Netflix and Hulu and all the others will no longer exist. Their idiotic business models will have finally collapsed. Physical media is important for tomorrow so that others can experience music and movies, and it’s important today so that I can experience them on my own terms.


One more thing then I’ll shut up about this. Found this great article just this morning:


The main agents it seems to draw metadata from are the TVDB and the movie database. Both of those are made by users, so there are errors. I had half of my Rifftrax shorts go wonky recently, even though I know I had them correct initially. I think someone changed the lineup in the TVDB and threw them all off by 1. Also, even though both databases have the same shows, the people who set them up may have labeled them differently, so what you think you have may not match what you see. This is especially problematic with specials which often don’t exist at all or are completely randomly assigned.
Most of my shows pull from the TVDB, but sometimes there are shows like Night Gallery or the 1980s Twilight Zone that had several segments show during one episode. The people on the TVDB decided that Night Gallery’s episodes needed to be chopped up by segment. One episode is now 3, which is not how it aired or comes on the discs. TMDB has the episodes listed as they aired which is how they still come (mostly). I had to tell it to pull that series specifically from TMDB for it to work. The 1980s TZ on both databases is chopped up by segment. Having 3 “episodes” come in one true episode can confuse it.
MST3K on the TVDB has all 13 seasons under one show, which is how I want it to be listed. TMDB has it separated into 3 shows: classic, Netflix, and Season 13. The TVDB doesn’t have any of the classic shorts we got, but TMDB does, so I just used the TVDB listing and then labeled all the shorts as super high numbers to get around that.

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I love my Plex. I have it installed on a NAS, and have it linked with some HDHomeRun OTA tuner devices.
With a Plex Pass, I have a DVR and Live TV.
I plan on canceling my Spectrum TV service, which should save me about $50/mo.

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I don’t currently have one, but once I get the house wired for Cat6, going to get a Synology NAS which supports running a plex server on it.

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It’s important that we never forget to insert the nanotated disc into the time tube.


“What does ‘nanotated’ mean?”


I just have NAS drives on my network and directly access them with my devices. I wasted far too much time trying to get plex to work.

That’s what we have. Great product.


Specials are just plain weird. Most work just fine. All of my Doctor Who specials, for example, list perfectly (knocks wood). And yet I have one Psych special that will. not. work. I’ve tried aired order, DVD order, neither one works. And it is numbered exactly as shown on their page.

I notice they’ve also gotten cute with the specials and have broken them out into different categories. I don’t really care, but I wonder if that broke something.

For ten years at least, I’ve had episodes numbered 101, 102, 103, etc for season one 201, 202 etc for season two and so on. Then suddenly last year, none of that numbering worked when I added a new episode/season of something. Like I said, everything still parses now, as long as I don’t make any changes in that folder. If I do, then everything else has to be renumbered to match.


I’ve discovered RiffTrax has two listings. One includes the shorts (sort of) the other is just the shorts. I’m going to try pulling them out to a separate listing and see if that works better.

They aren’t the only ones. It seems every API does this and they do it for animation too. Their reasoning is each segment has a different writer/director/and maybe cast, so they list the segments to capture the cast and crew stuff. I keep trying to explain but I can’t break the episode out into two or three different parts, so you’re API is useless for what I need, but nothing changes.

Ahh well, even with these hiccups, it’s still a great system. Frustrating at times, but darned useful to have.


Add me to the Synology NAS folk. It came with the option to install Plex and I occasionally update it when Plex recommends it. Once I realized that MST3K is a TV show and not a bunch of movies (:woman_facepalming:t3:), things worked much better. I haven’t had issues with the TVDb numbering, but then again, I only have a couple of shows. I don’t have any fancy paid Plex features, but it works just fine with my Roku. I now have my TV shows, a slew of movies, and I’ve used the excess storage for pictures, etc.


I will say I’ve been interested in a Plex type situation, but I’m pretty sure my antiquated AV technology couldn’t handle it.


Are you labeling your show as 101 for season 1 episode 1 and so on? That could be your issue. It wants the format of s01e01, but will otherwise do the best it can. If that’s the case, I can see why you don’t want to rebuild the file names of over 200 shows(!). I’ve only had this for 2 years and don’t know what changed over time.
A program like MKVtoolnix can cut and merge files, but who has the time for that?
Definitely a very useful system and kind of fun to play with.


So the hierarchy was

Folder: Stargate Atlantis -->Folder: Season 01 → 101 Rising

That naming worked for years. (I actually hate the s01e01 naming it bugs me for some reason, probably all the extraneous clutter)

So now the hierarchy seems to be

Folder: Stargate Atlantis → Folder: Season 01 → 01 Rising

So 211 shows and 11,953 episodes that would need to be retitled. (and that number goes up every time I buy a new DVD season set. :scream: )

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Is metadata the reason people have been talking about problems with filenames? I don’t care whether any metadata is retrieved, and none is for any of my shows.
When I said I didn’t have any problems with file names, I didn’t realize that’s what was being referred to. I just meant everything was working fine.

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Whenever I’ve made the mistake of trusting someone else’s metadata, I usually spend as much time correcting it as it would have taken to input it all manually.
That goes for both my music and my video collection. Thankfully, Foobar2000’s metadata editing options work on MP4 files as well as audio, and can either take metadata from the filename or rename the file from the metadata, which is a useful timesaver which also helps keep your information consistent.

I’ve been kicking around the idea of putting Plex on a DIY Linux file server. Does anyone have any experience with this? Any guides you can point me to?