I use Infuse with a network connected HDD, no need for my Mac to be running to use it, and it's fantastic app
Just have Plex do direct play?Plex is good, but not for me.
For me, it does too much... Different uses.. I enjoy ripping via HB... I don't need or even wannt know or other software automatically converts my stuff before playback..
With HB u are in control more at least u know what settings u have applied. and can adjust most of them
Native all the way..
Just have Plex do direct play?
You don't have to disable the transcoder. If your files are supported by the device you are playing on it won't transcode. And it settings you can force direct play so even if the formats weren't supported it still wouldn't transcode.I used Home Sharing for years on my aTV 3. I use Plex now. Home Sharing is too limited (in term of interface, search, etc). But, I have disabled the transcoder in Plex (only removed the executable) so I continue to have a pure Apple-compatible library (allowing me to use Apple's Video app on iOS). Also, I favour my embedded tags over Plex agents to keep some consistency over iTunes, iOS and my aTV.
I use Infuse or MrMC - why setup, maintain, and run another server if you don't need to?