Store the audio and video files on a local server, and have the option to play them on any device within the home or at a remote site, it is possible by configuring our Raspberry Pi in the correct way with the Plex tool.
The good news is that you don’t need the latest version of the mini computer to create a media server. Both the Raspberry Pi 1, and of course even the most current, can be converted into multimedia centers without problems, although you must bear in mind that, by consuming many resources, older models will get a little slow.
In this guide we take a walk through all the steps to follow to install Plex on a Raspberry Pi, you will know the minimum requirements that you are going to need so that everything works without inconveniences, you will know the ideal way to configure the configuration and what are other alternatives in case that application does not seem appropriate.
What is Plex and what is this tool for on a Raspberry Pi?
Plex is an application that allows you to view multimedia contentthat you have on your Raspberry Pi on any other device. For this to be possible, you must install Plex Media Server and have it running every time you want to use the files. Likewise, it organizes all your digital content (videos, photos and music) and encrypts remote connections with the Plex client.
The storage limit will be the one with your Micro SD card, pendrive or removable hard disk. It is key to note that there are versions for practically all platforms, including Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, macOS, Chromecast, PlayStation consoles, Xbox and for SmartTV. In summary, Plex is a useful tool, which in many cases facilitates entertainment, especially when we do not want to see them on a small screen but in the comfort of our TV.
What are the benefits of using the Raspberry Pi as a Plex media server?
One of the benefits is that you will not have the hard disk space of your conventional computer occupied with a lot of heavy files that you don’t use often, like movies, tv shows, or concerts. Second, you can access files anywhere. If you go to a meeting with friends or go on vacation to a distant place, by connecting with this multimedia center you will be able to observe what you want from your mobile device.
Third, Raspberry Pi card is low power consumption so you have it on for long periods of time. It does not take up much space as a conventional server would, and its installation is simple. And as a fourth aspect, we add that provide access to the GPIO, allowing a fast connection and secure to other devices without major complications.
What do I need to be able to install Plex on my Raspberry Pi? Essential requirements
Although it can work with most Raspberry Pi models, an excellent idea is to purchase a device that has good power and performance. The Pi 3 versions have expanded the capacity of their processor, being surpassed by the Pi 4. It is convenient to review the technical specifications that allow us to conclude that both the operating system and Plex will work together.
Review this list of the resources you need to install:
- Have available a mouse, keyboard and monitor.
- Have a pendrive or external hard drive.
- Feeding device original or trusted brand.
- It is recommended to use Raspbian Lite (Raspberry Pi OS), which is a Linux distribution.
Learn step by step how to install and configure a Plex server on your Raspberry Pi mini computer from scratch
The installation of the Plex application is simple, just by following this step by step you will reach the end without problems and keep your Raspberry Pi running optimally.
Go for it:
Update Raspberry Pi OS
The most convenient is have the Raspberry Pi operating system on the deviceAs well as it is not enough to check if there is an update, this way you will avoid that the system is vulnerable and you will be able to use the most recent functions. On the other hand, take this step it will prevent security from being affected when you connect to the internet.
To keep everything up to date, enter the following code:
sudo apt-get update
Install and activate HTTPS transfer
The only way to access the downloaded installation files is by HTTPS, since in the ARM architecture used by the Raspberry Pi these remain in the repository “dev2day”. In the most modern versions it comes by default, but to check, enter the following code:
sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https
Add the repository “dev2day”
To configure the repository “Dev2day” as the registered source of the files, an encryption key is required.
To obtain the password you must add the following command:
wget -O – https://dev2day.de/pms/dev2day-pms.gpg.key | sudo apt-key add –
When entering this code, you will see a key and after obtaining it you must enter the repository “dev2day” to the list of sources of the package:
echo «deb https://dev2day.de/pms/ jessie main» | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pms.list
And to finalize and confirm the changes made, the list of packages must be updated:
sudo apt-get update
Install the Plex Media Server
Once the previous steps have been taken, you can start to insert the installation of the Plex package to the card:
sudo apt-get install -t jessie plexmediaserver
When prompted, press the “Download” and the file will start uploading to your computer.
To have permissions in the Plex app settings on your Raspberry Pi, the default user must be replaced by the administrator functions.
To do this add the following command:
sudo nano /etc/default/plexmediaserver.prev
Next, a text document will appear where you must search for the phrase “PLEX_MEDIA_SERVER_USER = plex”. There you will replace the last word “Plex” by word “Pi”. Once you do, press on the keyboard “CTRL + X”, soon “Y” and so the changes made will be saved.
To check everything, enter the following command:
sudo service plexmediaserver restart
Specify the static IP address
To connect the device to the Plex server, it is necessary to have a static IP address. Thus, any device that wants to connect with the card will find it easily.
To configure this step, we first find out the current address with this command:
The result you get, you should write it down because you will be necessary later.
Now, enter the following command:
sudo nano /boot/cmdline.txt
Once you open the text document “Cmdline.txt”, in the final part add a line according to the shape “Ip = IP address”. After the symbol “=”, write down the address you saved earlier. Save the changes.
Restart the Raspberry Pi
To see the changes and how the process is progressing, restart the card using the following command:
Already with this, We guarantee that the Plex app has been installed and it is ready to be used.
Add your files to the Plex library
We continue opening the web browser, once it loads we will enter this address:
In the first part, you are going to write the static IP address that you have selected. To enter you must do so with a Google or Facebook account. When you enter, the interface will appear and using the option “Add Library” you will start uploading the files.
Create a connection to your files
The files are already uploaded and in a few minutes they will be synchronized. We are now going to see them from another device to check that everything is in order. To give permissions, go to the tab “Server” and once inside, press the option “Remote Access”.
Then click “Enable remote Access” and wait until the server accepts the changes. To use it from any device, you have to have the Plex application loaded and register with the data you already used. Thus, you will have access to the multimedia library that you have uploaded.
List of the best alternatives to Plex to turn your Raspberry Pi into a media server without problem
If you are looking for an option other than Plex, we are going to leave you other alternatives that you can consider and that also work as a multimedia file manager:
This application also us allows us to categorize our multimedia library by letting the computer do the server functions and viewing the same files on other devices. One of the advantages is that it allows create a local network within the home or office in which the content can be shared. It has several plugins with which you can multiply the options.
Although it only boots with the Android system, it also acts as a multimedia manager that works remotely. Once installed, all saved files appear. Other than that, when connecting with a device, transcodes in real time which guarantees good image transmission. There is a free version and a paid version.
A striking aspect of this application is that its player is inspired by Netflix. Organize files easily and the entire collection can be navigated intuitively. It has an episode browser that makes searching easy. It has a history with the last seen and, in addition, it allows you to continue playing where you left off.
This application organizes and reproduces the contents with an interface that supports different audio, video and photo formats. It is personalized according to the tastes of each person and you can also change the way the available media is managed. Kodi is one of the best options for this board.