Large library home sharer's - ATV4 worth it? Time for Plex?

watboy

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 7, 2012
24
2
So I have a greater than 10TB iTunes library. Was eagerly looking forward to ATV4, but it no longer seems worth it to me.
1. No improvement for local media browsing. Still have long lists of movies and TV show's still can't group seasons.
2. No 1080p24 support it seems
3. No Siri for local library, for now at least

My options, continue with ATV3 for now, wait to see if new TvOS versions include features I want. Or time to finally make the move to Plex. Question on Plex, I have to basically, import my iTunes library over. So if I have a 16TB iTunes library, i need 16TB of available space?
 

StuMcBill

macrumors 6502a
Jul 11, 2011
619
79
Aberdeen, Scotland
So I have a greater than 10TB iTunes library. Was eagerly looking forward to ATV4, but it no longer seems worth it to me.
1. No improvement for local media browsing. Still have long lists of movies and TV show's still can't group seasons.
2. No 1080p24 support it seems
3. No Siri for local library, for now at least

My options, continue with ATV3 for now, wait to see if new TvOS versions include features I want. Or time to finally make the move to Plex. Question on Plex, I have to basically, import my iTunes library over. So if I have a 16TB iTunes library, i need 16TB of available space?
I'm not sure about iTunes library, but when I use Plex on my Chromecast, all I need to do is point Plex to my video files, no copying needed?
 

TrueBlou

macrumors 68040
Sep 16, 2014
3,779
2,488
Scotland
So I have a greater than 10TB iTunes library. Was eagerly looking forward to ATV4, but it no longer seems worth it to me.
1. No improvement for local media browsing. Still have long lists of movies and TV show's still can't group seasons.
2. No 1080p24 support it seems
3. No Siri for local library, for now at least

My options, continue with ATV3 for now, wait to see if new TvOS versions include features I want. Or time to finally make the move to Plex. Question on Plex, I have to basically, import my iTunes library over. So if I have a 16TB iTunes library, i need 16TB of available space?
Plex only points to the location of the files, wherever they may be. It doesn't actually copy files to its library. So whatever the size your library is, it will stay that way, no extra files are created or duplicated.
 

From A Buick 8

macrumors 68040
Sep 16, 2010
3,114
126
Ky Close to CinCinnati
So I have a greater than 10TB iTunes library. Was eagerly looking forward to ATV4, but it no longer seems worth it to me.
1. No improvement for local media browsing. Still have long lists of movies and TV show's still can't group seasons.
2. No 1080p24 support it seems
3. No Siri for local library, for now at least

My options, continue with ATV3 for now, wait to see if new TvOS versions include features I want. Or time to finally make the move to Plex. Question on Plex, I have to basically, import my iTunes library over. So if I have a 16TB iTunes library, i need 16TB of available space?
I use playlist to group my iTunes Library the way I want. It is a couple extra clicks to get down to the playlist but it works very well (IMHO).

I believe that Siri will allow for local library search soon.
 

jmbrown91

macrumors member
Jun 9, 2011
68
1
Northampton, UK
The issue with Plex seems to be if you allow iTunes to name your files upon import Plex doesn't seem to understand that TV episodes are actually TV shows and puts them in the 'Movies' Library (if that is how you split your media that is). Do any other Plex users have a way around this? As I'd rather not have to manually change each TV show file name just so Plex recognises the correct video type.
 

Scarpad

macrumors 68000
Jan 13, 2005
1,880
366
Ma
I use a Mac App Identify to Tag all my Movies and TV shows before importing into ITunes and plex, works great
 

ZeRoLiMiT

macrumors 6502a
Jun 6, 2010
832
82
Southern California
I have over 1,000+ movies! Scrolling to the X movies from A takes forever. On Plex it doesn't. Plex I can put a collection of movies (Disney, Pixar, WarnerBrothers ect...)

Its more organised! I have all my movies on MP4 format with 5.1 sound and never have issues with sound or video playing directly with any transcoding.

Trust me before I use the iTunes/Home Sharing! Once I found Plex! there was no going back! Look and feel out ways home sharing! honestly look at how it looks!!
 

Attachments

  • Like
Reactions: TheAppleFairy

danny_w

macrumors 601
Mar 8, 2005
4,383
117
Austin, TX
The issue with Plex seems to be if you allow iTunes to name your files upon import Plex doesn't seem to understand that TV episodes are actually TV shows and puts them in the 'Movies' Library (if that is how you split your media that is). Do any other Plex users have a way around this? As I'd rather not have to manually change each TV show file name just so Plex recognises the correct video type.
When I installed Plex server it asked me to add libraries for movies, music, tv shows, all separate. I just pointed each to the correct iTunes subdirectory so I don't understand your problem. Just don't assign the same top level directory to each type, but use the specific subdirectory for each type and there should be no problem. What am I missing here?
 

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2001
5,064
4,346
Denmark
When I installed Plex server it asked me to add libraries for movies, music, tv shows, all separate. I just pointed each to the correct iTunes subdirectory so I don't understand your problem. Just don't assign the same top level directory to each type, but use the specific subdirectory for each type and there should be no problem. What am I missing here?
Plex does not necessarily parse your files, unless they are named correctly based on what Plex expects. Sometimes it picks then up without an issue, but other times, it will just silently skip them.

Also, depending on which parser you use, some series or movies are not picked up.
 

jmbrown91

macrumors member
Jun 9, 2011
68
1
Northampton, UK
When I installed Plex server it asked me to add libraries for movies, music, tv shows, all separate. I just pointed each to the correct iTunes subdirectory so I don't understand your problem. Just don't assign the same top level directory to each type, but use the specific subdirectory for each type and there should be no problem. What am I missing here?
I have movies and TV shows separated into separate directories within the iTunes folder on my NAS, Movies work fine in this instance.

TV shows are separated by TV show > Season > Episode Title

As I have iTunes currently set to keep the iTunes folder organised, I move files into the 'auto add to iTunes' which then moves the files into the correct folders with the episode file name like this, as an example -

The Walking Dead > Season 6 > 6-04 Here's Not Here (HD).m4v

It appears Plex doesn't like the fact that the TV shows start with the '6-04' instead of S06E04 - at least on mine it doesn't.

I set Plex to have two separate libraries, one for Movies and one for TV shows, both pointing at their corresponding file types, yet some, but not all, show in the Movies Library instead. That's the odd part.

I might just remove the libraries and try setting it up again and see what happens?
 

danny_w

macrumors 601
Mar 8, 2005
4,383
117
Austin, TX
Plex does not necessarily parse your files, unless they are named correctly based on what Plex expects. Sometimes it picks then up without an issue, but other times, it will just silently skip them.

Also, depending on which parser you use, some series or movies are not picked up.
...which is why I abandoned Plex years ago. I recently reinstalled it to see if things have improved but sadly it doesn't sound like it.
 

watboy

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 7, 2012
24
2
So I should be able to just point Plex to my where iTunes organizes the media files and it will figure itself out. Also, I use an app that tags the meta data for the files and renames them according to iTunes convention for TV shows. Then I just drag and drop it into the Add to iTunes folder, TV shows are put in their places and movies in theirs. Plex should automatically find these then? Seems like it works for some but not for others.

If this is the case, then when Plex for ATV4 is out, it could be my new solution.
 

richtea123

macrumors newbie
Apr 26, 2012
23
9
Chelmsford, UK
I also have a very large collection, as I've just been ripping and remuxing all my blu ray discs. AT4 is fantastic as it's the first device I've tried that will actually play the remuxed blu ray files reliably, having tried ATV3, PS3 and Samsung Blu Ray player Plex app. I use iTunes to organise the library (kept on an external hard drive) and just point Plex to the files. Plex will then also allow streaming to devices when I'm not at home by reencoding as needed. So I use both iTunes and Plex and all works fantastically, especially on the AT4. I can heartily recommend.
 

spinningblade

macrumors member
Nov 3, 2015
39
13
I'm going to try Plex tonight. Sounds like a clear winner over the Apple TV "Computers" app.

Also, Apple said that Siri Universal search is available to any devloper who wants to add that function to their app. So you may be able to have Siri search your library via Plex in the future.
 

darknyt

macrumors 6502a
Sep 17, 2009
599
90
Air Video HD is a no-frills option. Love it on my iOS devices. Still testing on ATV 4. Seems promising.

But yeah, pretty . . . listy. Not much org options.
 

watboy

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 7, 2012
24
2
It sounds like one could run Plex without altering your iTunes library, so you could also run iTunes/standard home sharing at as well. So its not an either or option? This would be perfect for me because a good portion of my iTunes library is purchased iTunes content.

I bought into the whole Apple ecosystem years ago. The seamless integration and UI was always worth the loss of flexibility or functionality. But me thinks AppleTV is going to route of cloud and streaming, which just doesn't work for me. I still miss my ATV1, with its ability to group TV seasons, I only moved to ATV3 to get 1080.
 

scapegoat81

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2012
730
130
Philly
I also have a very large collection, as I've just been ripping and remuxing all my blu ray discs. AT4 is fantastic as it's the first device I've tried that will actually play the remuxed blu ray files reliably, having tried ATV3, PS3 and Samsung Blu Ray player Plex app. I use iTunes to organise the library (kept on an external hard drive) and just point Plex to the files. Plex will then also allow streaming to devices when I'm not at home by reencoding as needed. So I use both iTunes and Plex and all works fantastically, especially on the AT4. I can heartily recommend.
Stupid question, when you drop movies/tv shows into your iTunes directory, can the media be any format or does it have to be .m4v ?
 

dotnet

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2015
1,153
791
Sydney, Australia
I have a largish (6TB) movie and TV library, too, but not in iTunes. I like to keep my iTunes library on-disk on my Mac.

My movies and TV shows are all on a Synology NAS. iTunes movies also get stored there (courtesy of TunesKit). Previously (up until two days ago) I watched them through a PS3 via DLNA. Now I'm running a Plex server on the NAS and the Plex app on the ATV4 and couldn't be happier. This is many orders of magnitude better than what I was used to. I can't even begin to describe it.
 

richtea123

macrumors newbie
Apr 26, 2012
23
9
Chelmsford, UK
Stupid question, when you drop movies/tv shows into your iTunes directory, can the media be any format or does it have to be .m4v ?
I wish you could. iTunes will only import files it can play, so if you want to use iTunes to keep your media tidy and keep the option of iTunes playback then you have to make sure it will accept the file. It will only accept certain video and audio formats. Can't remember exactly which. m4v is the standard container, but that doesn't mean the codec within that container is compatible. Took me ages to work out why some of my m4v files wouldn't import until I realised this. Both video and audio have to be compatible.

I rip a blu Ray to mkv with mkvtools. Then, if the video is h264, I convert the mkv container to m4v with mp4tools, which will also convert the audio to Dolby digital, and that file will then import to iTunes. Most blu Rays have video encoded in h264. A few use the vc1 codec which iTunes won't accept. I have to transcode those files with handbrake.

The advantage of plex is that it will play almost anything without the need to do all that transcoding/transmuxing , but I like to use iTunes to keep everything tidy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: scapegoat81

Che Castro

macrumors 603
May 21, 2009
5,671
511
I switched to plex from homesharing
Do it now , plex is much better
You don't need plexpass so is all free on the Apple TV 4

Also you can share you library of movies with friends and family for free
They just need to create a free plex account and you add them as friends

So if your cousin in another state has a roku , they can watch your movies for free
 

InsideTJ

macrumors regular
Mar 18, 2012
114
13
I'm trying plex (mini for server, synology for storage) and it works great when it displays my media. TV shows and movies which I have properly named show up fine.

But I have some oddball TV show specials that do not show up at all. I put 5 Disney park specials (documentaries, specials) in a new TV Shows folder. Only one of them is even displayed in flex for playback. Does flex rely on metadata in the file? or simply the file name? confused.
 

Crazy Badger

macrumors 65816
Apr 1, 2008
1,147
472
Scotland
Plex finds everything in my library, except for a few files I still haven't got around to converting from an ISO format (I really should do that soon), and for 99.5% of it the correct metadata is found and added. Where it's not, you can just update it manually, or even edit the stuff it has found if you're not happy with it. I've been tagging my 3D films manually, as in some cases I have both 2D and 3D files.

If Plex isn't finding it, it's probably not in a supported format.
 

scapegoat81

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2012
730
130
Philly
I wish you could. iTunes will only import files it can play, so if you want to use iTunes to keep your media tidy and keep the option of iTunes playback then you have to make sure it will accept the file. It will only accept certain video and audio formats. Can't remember exactly which. m4v is the standard container, but that doesn't mean the codec within that container is compatible. Took me ages to work out why some of my m4v files wouldn't import until I realised this. Both video and audio have to be compatible.

I rip a blu Ray to mkv with mkvtools. Then, if the video is h264, I convert the mkv container to m4v with mp4tools, which will also convert the audio to Dolby digital, and that file will then import to iTunes. Most blu Rays have video encoded in h264. A few use the vc1 codec which iTunes won't accept. I have to transcode those files with handbrake.

The advantage of plex is that it will play almost anything without the need to do all that transcoding/transmuxing , but I like to use iTunes to keep everything tidy.
Ok I thought that was the case but wasn't sure.

I was debating on pointing my Plex Server at my iTunes folder, but now that I'll have to encode them anyway I'll just stick everything in Plex.... Or Air Video TV.

The feature that I'm really looking for is to have some kind of Parental Controls with these media servers. I have 2 young boys & like to hide some videos from them. I know with Plex I can subscribe to Plex Pass & have the ability to do this, but hopefully Air Video TV has this functionality already built in. I still have to install on my Mac & test it out