How to set up a PLEX server on the NAS

How to set up a PLEX server on the NAS

If you have a large media library, full of high quality movies and TV series, you should consider setting up a media server. As can be guessed from the name, it is a device where you can store all your multimedia files, and then watch them in streaming from other devices such as PCs, tablets, smartphones, smart TVs and so on.

You could imagine the setup of a media server as a complex operation, but in reality it is not at all like this: thanks to PLEX, a software developed specifically for this purpose, creating a media server is very simple and it is possible to do it in very few steps. PLEX also doesn't just manage your media library, it also offers other features, such as streaming web TV or Hi-Fi music via Tidal.

Once you have found the software, you need to choose the hardware to use. Also in this case the choice is simple, since, since we need a reliable device with a lot of space available, it is almost natural to opt for a NAS that allows you to install several disks. For the occasion we have chosen a QNAP TVS-675, equipped with several features that make it fit for purpose.

The QNAP TVS-675 is equipped with a Zhaoxin KaiXian KX-U6580 8-core and 8GB x86 processor of DDR4 RAM (expandable up to 64GB) in SO-DIMM format, so it has all the hardware power needed to manage our media server. On board we also find two 2.5G LANs that can be aggregated (the so-called "trunking") to obtain transfer speeds up to 5Gbps, two PCIe 3.0 slots that allow you to install expansion cards or 2.5GbE, 5GbE or 10GbE, four USB ports to connect external devices and an HDMI 2.0 output with 4K 60Hz support, which allows you to connect the NAS directly to your TV or projector for viewing content, without the need to use an external device.

As for the actual storage, it is possible to install NVMe or SATA SSDs in the slots dedicated to the cache to improve performance, while for the storage there are six 3.5 ″ bays that support 3.5 "and 2.5" HDDs and 2.5 "SATA SSDs, plus two M.2-2280 slots. For our project we used two Seagate IronWolf510 SSDs, configured in RAID 1 to preserve data in case of any problems or malfunctions.

Among the features of the QNAP TVS-675 that make it a perfect tool to use as a media server there is also support for H.264 hardware decoding and real-time transcoding, which allows you to watch all your media streaming at the highest quality without any problem.

Now so we have identified the hardware to use, a NAS, and the software, PLEX. But how to combine the two? The goal of this guide is just that, to explain how to set up a PLEX server on the NAS to be able to use your media library from any device. Let's see what are the steps to follow to reach our goal.

Install PLEX Media Server on the NAS

On some devices, the PLEX Media Server application is available within the App Center, then you can download it from there. Alternatively, follow these steps:

Download the PLEX Media Server application from this address, selecting the correct platform. Open the App Center, then select "Install manually" by clicking the icon at the top right. In the window that opens, click "Browse ...", select the installation file downloaded previously (with the extension qpkg) and then press "Install". Once the procedure is finished, you will find the app installed and the icon to start it on the main screen of the NAS. Before proceeding further, we advise you to place all your multimedia files in a shared folder (you can create a new one by opening the File Manager by clicking on the folder with the + symbol and choosing Shared folder), in order to find them easily during configuration of PLEX.

Configuring PLEX Media Server on the NAS

At this point, starting the application a new browser window will open, where you can perform the first configuration steps. Log in, give the server a name and, if you are interested, check “Allow me to access the media from outside the home”.

Once this is done, you can add libraries to organize your files.

Click “Add Library”. Select the type of content (Movie, Music, Photo, etc.), give it the name you prefer and select the language. Now choose the folder where your files are. Click “Browse to find the media folder” and select the folders where you have placed them. Once this is done, continue and complete the configuration. Once completed, you will find yourself on the PLEX home page. Now everything is ready: in addition to some recommended programs, as you can see from the image above on the left you will find your libraries (in our case "YT Toms"). By clicking on it, you will access all your content, which you can directly reproduce and manage with various options, such as adding tags or a poster.

Using PLEX on different devices

Now that you have completed the configuration, you can take advantage of PLEX to view your content on all supported devices. Just install the application, log in with your account and enable synchronization to be able to access all your multimedia files. If you think you need features like parental controls or file downloads on Android and iOS devices, consider purchasing PLEX Pass - these features, along with many others, are exclusive to subscribers.

One after following these simple steps, you will be able to play videos, movies and music from your libraries exactly if they were saved locally, on the device you are using.

The PLEX client on Windows, connected to the newly configured NAS

Powered by Blogger.