Can someone explain Plex+ATV3 to me, as if I were five years old?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by arnamak, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. arnamak macrumors member

    Dec 8, 2012
    I've been reading about Plex, and how you can reroute some DNS dealies or something, and click on the "trailers" icon on appletv to access your files.
    Basically my parents have this gigantic DVD collection that just collects dust and takes up a whole lot of space. I was thinking I'd try to make their lives a little easier and more efficient.

    What I've pieced together, which is quite likely not the case and I'm misinterpreting something—is that I could take rip all these DVDs to an external hard drive or an NAS (using something called Handbrake I think), plug my drive/server into my router, and use Plex to access all of it via appletv. Is this at all doable? Am I completely missing something?

    Is Plex user friendly? Could I upload cover art, descriptions, and subtitles for everything? Could I have separate folders and categories? If I have 10 seasons of Friends, can I have a separate folder for each season? Is Handbrake easy to use?
    More importantly, is it super easy to use once everything is set up? Will my parents be able to access their library of movies as easily as they do stuff on Netflix via appletv? Is the technology not quite there yet?

    Lastly, if none of the above is possible, is there a different method to this that could work?
    For what it's worth, I have a very solid home internet connection. I'd be connecting the hard drive to the Airport Extreme in my room, and the appletv would be connected via ethernet to the Airport Express running on Bridge Mode in my living room.

    I'm not totally inept when it comes to technology. It's just that a lot of this media server stuff, including all the guides I've read and so-called "beginner" tutorials, feature a lot of jargon specific to this topic, and it gets to be overwhelming trying to piece it all together.

    tl;dr: I'm curious if there's a way to access files on an external hard drive connected to a router on an appletv via plex or other means. And also what this program called Handbrake is about.
  2. callorchat macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2010
    There are two components (or separate applications) in plex : 1) Plex Media Server 2) Plex Media Client.

    Handbrake: You can rip your entire dvd collection using Handbreak to an external drive/nas. I would suggest create separate folders for Movies, TV shows and music and copy the ripped files to the corrosponding folders.

    Plex media server: You need to install this on a computer. This computer must be running whenever you want to watch content using Plex. There are separate sections for movies, tv shows and music in plex. You need to configure each section by pointing it to the corosponding folder created above. If you name the ripped files movies/tv shows properly then plex, most of the times, automatically downloads cover art etc., For tv shows seasons, there is a naming convention which i don't remember properly, but it should be something like S01E01 (i.e., series 1 and episode 1).

    Plex media client: ATV can act as plex media client provided you install a small app called PlexConnect on the computer running plex media server (strictly speaking, it doesn't need to be running on the same computer) and change the dns ip address of the ATV to the ip address of the computer running PlexConnect.

    Plex user interface on ATV is pretty simple and even my 5 years old daughter navigates through it very easily.

    Alternatively you can rip all your dvd collection into mp4 and use iTunes homesharing to stream content onto your ATV. This way you don't need to install any software, i am not sure whether iTunes pulls down all cover art etc., automatically or not.
  3. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    I can't really help you with Plex Connect but at this point in time it a little "techie". If you go with it, there is no need to transcode the files with HB as Plex does that on the fly. Not sure about the quality of the on-the-fly transfer though. If you go with HB, there is lots of info on this forum about it and you might be best to come back with specific questions about using it.
  4. diver511 macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2007
    You do not need Plex. Use Handbrake, and MetaX Handbrake to do the conversion to mp4 and MetaX to take care of adding all the meta data you could ever want. Then just drop into itunes and as Sheldon would say "BAM!" Now you have an awesome always available dvd library. I set the same thing at my house, it allowed me to get rid of all my physical DVD's. I now have an itunes movie library that contains roughly 300 movies. Also if you do this, I suggest you do so on an external hard drive ( raid is the best option for protection) that way you do not fill your computer up with movies. I have a g5 tower that is the dedicated server right now in my case. If you have any other questions on the set up feel free to ask.
  5. jmcgeejr macrumors 6502


    Oct 7, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    As everyone has said here, if you are just doing this to populate your parents atv2-3 with a dvd library, just use handbrake and make them into MP4 and import into their itunes library on their desktop. Then play from the atv, no need to mess around with plex. (Dont get me wrong I love plex and would never go back to anything else) but for your usage you would be best to stick with itunes.

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