What’s a Media Server?
I am not going to re-explain that a server is not necessarily a big closet full of electronics (well, it can be that too), but it can be as well a software instance that is running on a PC and that acts as content/service provider to an array of clients. So here, we are in the latter case and are going to install a software on our Home Server (here the Server refers to the machine, … confusing ugh??) and that software will be the backbone of our media distribution all over the house (and further).
Plex Media Server
For that task, I selected Plex, the reason is simple, it is the only one I found that got all the tickboxes checked :
- Can organize an extensive library of content (Movies, TV series, Music, Photos): Plex gives a nice library view with CD covers, movie poster, movie plot, TV Series organized by seasons …
- Can keep track of what has been watched or not: nothing worse to see your favorite TV series and not remembering which was the last episode you watched then have to browse through few of them to find out.
- Works on a server/client architecture with a centralized library: I do not want to switch on the TV in the bedroom to realize the movie I want is not accessible here for X or Y reason.
- Allow for remote playing: with Plex, I no longer need to have music stored on my phone, I can simply stream it from home (as long as I have Internet and a Plex Pass)
How to Install?
To install Plex Media Server, that is extremely simple.
Download the .deb package from https://plex.tv/downloads
run sudo dpkg -i plexmediaserver_0.9.8.18.290-11b7fdd_amd64.deb (replacing the last filename with the name of the package you downloaded)
Create a Plex account
Although, a Plex account is totally free, I will be here advocating for the paid version as it gives you quite a lot of things extra, my favorite one being the remote access, with that, I can access my media from everywhere, my couch, the metro during daily commute or from my parents place halfway accross the world.
Head to their website for the different pricing.
Finish your Plex Media Server configuration