Plex for dummies

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by azdunerat, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. azdunerat macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    #1
    Ok I was torn between plex and boxee, but boxee loosing Hulu pretty much ended that. I downloaded plex and I see a ton of potential however I have no idea where to start to make it wife and user friendly.


    Is there a resource, something along the line of a plex users guide. I looked at the forums and I really dont want to spend hours serching though posts so I can get this up and running.

    Just looking for some pointers. Thanks
     
  2. emegmac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    #2
    I have asked a few times on here and never came up with a good answer. You can read the wiki on plex's website. I spent about 2 weeks trying to make it easy to use and ended up using front row for everything and deleted plex altogether. The one thing I wish front row could do is 5.1. But having the wife and kids pick up the remote and everything is easy to use is worth not having 5.1. I don't really see any other advantage to plex. It can't read all the meta data I have spent hours tagging, it wants to use IMDB instead.
    I am happy with front row, but others on here love plex. Good luck
     
  3. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #3
    What's so hard about Plex? We use it every day, my wife has no problem using it. Especially now that it has Logitech Harmony support built in, it's really a snap.

    The only slightly tricky part is setting up your sources. The first bit is pretty straightforward: just add the directory(ies) where your video files live (this is done through the top-level "Video" area). Then you have to use the little "drop down" looking thing above that to indicate what type of source it is -- TV or Movie. After that, if you've got the files named properly, you're done -- browse them through the top-level "TV Shows" or "Movies" sections. If not, you may have to spend some time renaming them in one of the many recognizable formats. I've got Plex managing almost 2TB of TV and movies and my extremely non-technical wife has no trouble using it. I tweaked my Harmony to automatically sleep my Mini when we switch away to another activity, and initiate a library rescan whenever we switch TO the Plex activity.
     
  4. iJaz macrumors 6502a

    iJaz

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    #4
    Now you can use Hulu in Plex and lots of other plug-ins are also available!
     
  5. azdunerat thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    #5
    Well after some frustration I finally was able to wadle through it. I was able to get some help on the plex boards. Amazingly they didnt seem to have the eat chit and die attitude for asking simple questions that seems to be so prevalent on this forum.

    My bigest gripe was that there should have been an add source function in the movie section. Instead it is in the watch video and then the movie section is how Plex manages your library. But once this is done it works like butter. I am by no means an expert but it was very easy once you get past that road block. I thought I was going to have to use FR and I am extatic that this worked.
     
  6. emegmac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    #6
    Congrats on getting it set up properly. I never could figure out why there is a video and movie section. It is one of the reasons I gave up on it. That and cannot use metadata. Could you explain why there is video and movies. I have asked questions but no one ever answers me.
     
  7. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #7
    I think that people accustomed to the ease of use of the Apple TV and Frontrow are put off by the Plex user interface, where you have to go read instructions to figure out how to do basic tasks like adding your movies.

    I found the interface non-intuitive, in that the menus *seem* hierarchical, but sometimes aren't.

    Given that it's a work-in-progress I don't think it should be condemned out of hand, but I fear that like most open-source projects once the technical parts are done it will be considered 'finished' and the user interface will never mature.

    A.
     
  8. azdunerat thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    #8
    The video is your "file" folder while the movie section is the plex library compilation. Basically you load your movie folder from you hard drive into the video directory and that tells plex where to look. The watch movie section is actually Plex organizing and giving your your movie data and IMDB art in a coherent manner.
     
  9. aki macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2004
    Location:
    Japan
    #9
    in general i agree.... i have wanted to use plex for ages and downloaded twice but usually with a new app even a complicated one you can sort of get it doing something just by clicking stuff for ten or twenty minutes.....but with plex i dont know it just wouldnt do what i expected and i always gave up and trashed

    i know plex is developing and changing all the time but i do think a plex 101 for u know just the very very basic front-row/iTunes-type functions would be very welcome for lots of people
     
  10. azdunerat thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    #10
    If someone would put together a youtube tutorial on setting up your DVD library and music just to get started would be awsome. Now that I have the library set up it is amazing. I rip a movie to my DVD Library folder and plex automatically recognizes it and load the media art for it. Cant get much better than that.
     
  11. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #11
    Um, I legitimately asked what exactly you were finding hard, since you didn't specify. In general, there's a huge Getting Started document on the Plex wiki, so no one's going to rewrite all of that here without at least some indication of where you're having difficulty.

    I agree, the Movie and TV sections should also have the function to add a source. This part is not at all intuitive. But this is exactly what I tried to explain in my post.

    I love Plex though. Once the tricky source bit is out of the way, it works beautifully.
     
  12. rockstarjoe macrumors 6502a

    rockstarjoe

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Location:
    washington dc
    #12
    I can't seem to sort out how to get it working with my setup. I have a macbook connected to my TV, but all of my content is on another mac. I have Plex media server running on this computer and I followed the instructions to add plex://ipaddressofmediacomputer/video/iTunes but none of my videos show up under Movies or TV shows. Any advice?
     
  13. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #13
    All my content is also on a different Mac than the one I run Plex on, I started using Plex before that media server thing came along, so I just don't use it. I simply have the folders shared out on my main Mac, and those are mounted on my Mini where Plex runs. I then added the mounted network folders as sources in Plex. So if you can't figure out the media server thing, you can at least try simple network sharing.
     
  14. kingtj macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Location:
    Brunswick, MD
    #14
    My thoughts, exactly!

    I used to use a Linux based MythTV box as my media center, attached to a DLP projector in my basement. Since I already have a Mac Pro system set up down there (which I usually use for my music and MIDI gear), I figured it would be wise to consolidate things and let the Mac perform double-duty as my media center.

    Plex was the obvious media center choice, since Front Row was way too limited. But I find Plex to be frustrating to navigate around in, and like others said, very non-intuitive.

    I stumbled around until I was able (after reading someone's forum message) to get my folder of movies properly added as my "source" for Plex to index and use in its "Movies" menu. But now I have issues, like a couple foreign films that it improperly identified as other U.S. based movies. As another example of a problem, I had all 6 of the Star Wars movies in my collection, but Plex only identified 3 properly. It tagged two of them as though they were both the first Star Wars (A New Hope) movie. I renamed them a couple of times, until I had the filename named in a manner that caused it to get the correct movie info for them ... but now they have duplicate entries in Plex! It's not real obvious to me how to correct this. If I muddle through menus until I find an option to delete one, will it delete the erroneous duplicate data and cover art photo, or will it delete my movie file too?

    I read someplace you can force Plex to index a problem movie properly by adding some kind of specially formatted text file to the folder, with the info it needs in there? But once again, this is NOT an intuitive way to update movie data - and I can't find any details on just what format this file should be in?

    Also, every time I start up Plex, I have that "scrolling news ticker" across the bottom of the screen, giving me info about Plex and its version status. It seems like that would be configurable to scroll an RSS newsfeed from your choice of many valid sources? But again, I find no menu option to select different feeds for it?

    MythTV was no picnic to set up and get working, but honestly, its hurdles were mostly in the initial configuration. (You had to do your reading to find out why some TV tuner card failed to initialize or why some transcoding settings were bad defaults for your particular hardware, or ??) But once you had it right, daily usage was really straightforward. Any movie data it imported could easily be edited with your computer keyboard, or missing things filled in just by typing them in. Plex seems really lacking in these usability areas, to me.


     
  15. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    #15
    Easy. Select the movie with the wrong name and hit c. From the menu select 'edit movie title'. Type in the real name. Go to the movie info and hit refresh. It'll scrape the correct Movie info.

    You can remove movies from the menu that comes up when you hit the c key. Just select Remove from Library.
     
  16. DAMAC3 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Noblesville, IN
    #16
    Holding down the play/pause button on the Apple remote will take you to the same submenu just in case you don't have a keyboard hooked up.

    Go to Preferences -> Video -> Refresh Library

    That will have Plex rescan your folders and remove any content showing up in the GUI that aren't in the folders anymore. It is also handy to turn on "automatic scanning when opening Plex" from that same menu.


    I didn't understand how to get my movies and TV shows into Plex properly when I first tried it. If you take the time to read the getting started guide and/or watch the videos under help in Plex, you will not find it so difficult. The getting started guide will take a little while to read the whole thing, but you will save time in the long run.
     

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