iTunes library compatible with Plex and other programs?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by gpspad, Dec 8, 2016.

  1. gpspad macrumors 6502

    Feb 4, 2014
    I have been back and forth on whether I should set my video library up with iTunes or use Plex or some other system. As a result I started doing both, its not working out well and all Im doing is wasting space and the project never gets done.

    Can plex or any these other media front ends scan and share the iTunes media library at the same time?

    That would allow me to keep iTunes going and play around with another front end w/o throwing iTunes away.

    How do you guys setup you library?
  2. rjmurry macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2014
    I'm not sure how useful my information is you to, but this is my experience.

    I personally use iTunes to serve all my movie and TV shows to the rest of the house. I used to rip the movies I had purchased with MAKEMVK --> Handbreak --> Subler. Subler would add all of the metadata and cover photos. This last step with Subler really make my iTunes library 'POP' because it added all the metadata for the movies and TV shows effortlessly. All the actors names and synopsis's were added from either the iTunes store or IMDB as the source for all the data. I did this with every rip. Then I would add it to my iTunes library and it was available to all my Apple TV's and other iDevices.

    A good friend of mine has a Plex setup and he really likes it. I personally have never tried Plex since iTunes has always worked well for me and my needs. Now I rarely buy DVDs, instead I buy the iTunes movie codes from others on the internet for the movies I want. I usually pay between $2 to $10 for movies which typically cost $10-$20 in the iTunes store. I like this better because the movies are available in the cloud and I have access to all the movie extras.
  3. rhett7660, Dec 8, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016

    rhett7660 macrumors G4


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    I use both.

    I have itunes loaded up with all of my media and I also have Plex loaded up.

    I have the media stored in a single folder with sub folders.

    iTunes is pointed towards the folder A.
    Plex is pointed towards the folder A.

    I only load the files into iTunes and unless I want the file now, I have Plex set to read and update the folder once a night or something along those lines.

    I have had zero issues with this. I will say, I do not have playlists so I do not know if that carries over or not.

    Just to make things interesting, I even have Sonos reading Folder A prior to them supporting Plex. I still have Sonos pointing towards the folder though.

    The only piece of software I actually manually load is iTunes. Everything else is set on timers or the like to automatically search for updated content.
  4. red41 macrumors regular

    Aug 11, 2006

    I agree with everything you said in here and operate much the same way. One big thing with the itunes part is that I don't have itunes copy the media to a new folder when it's loaded. I just have itunes pointed to use the same media folder that Plex does. I also bought iflicks to convert all my media to .m4v files and send it into itunes with the proper meta data.
  5. rhett7660 macrumors G4


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    I do the same thing. I don't let iTunes manage my music, I just point it to the main iTunes folder and I manually load my files into iTunes and I maintain the same location for those files. I don't let iTunes move or manage them!

    Now that Plex is on the AppleTV I pretty much use it to access all of my media. I can rip my blu-rays into the MKV container and watch them via the plex app. I rarely fire up iTunes on my AppleTV anymore. Although I do find that I rent quite a few movies from iTunes. I haven't bought anything from them though.
  6. mpainesyd, Dec 8, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2016

    mpainesyd macrumors 6502


    Nov 29, 2008
    Sydney, Australia
  7. iDento macrumors 6502


    Sep 8, 2011
    iCloud Servers
    Plex only because Apple TV sucks at Home Sharing, it works but the UI is a disgrace to Apple, I don't want to go to Computers, click multiple times on a boring list to play a movie! Plex UI is so cool I can't use anything else now.

    Also, I ripped all my movies in HEVC format which iTunes doesn't support, better quality and saves tons of storage.
  8. EmPPgamer macrumors newbie


    Apr 13, 2014
    Agree with the above. iTunes maybe OK IF you have a small library. I have a a few hundred movies ripped from DVD / Blue Ray and several hundred albums. Enjoy ENDLESS scrolling through that lot if you can! Annoying too that scrolling up from 'A' doesn't take you to 'Z' in the iTunes scrolling experience meaning LOADS of scrolling. And if you are in 'Unwatched' and mistakenly slide your finger slightly on the remote and go into 'All', flick back to 'Unwatched' and you're back to 'A' again. In addition, TV OS 10.1 removed the auto play of next episodes in TV series.

    The Plex views are far better IMO, it allows next episode auto-play, better meta-data support (esp for music with a paid Pass account) and media sync (again with a paid Pass) for pre-travel downloads to IOS. Plus with Plex installed, others can watch my media when visiting even if they don't own IOS devices.

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