Having an HTPC or a home theater setup is a great thing. It allows you to enjoy movies and other media in the comfort of your own home, but with the feel of a movie theater. With HTPCs, you can rip all your media (Blu-rays included) to a hard drive and watch movies without those pesky FBI warnings. All this is great, but wouldn’t it be cool if you could access your movie library not only in your home, but anywhere in the world? This has been possible for a while, although the setup is a little too technical for most people. However, with Plex, an HTPC software program similar to XBMC, remotely accessing your media library has never been easier!
What you’ll need:
* A Wireless Router that is capable of port forwarding. Most routers today are able to do this, just make sure yours does.
* Plex Media Server. You can find versions for Windows, Mac and Linux here.
* Plex Media Center. Download here.
* Plex App (if you want to stream media to your cell phone or tablet). The app is available for Android and iOS. It’ll cost you $4.99, but it’s definitely worth the price.
* A MyPlex Account. Get one here.
Basically, the way it works is as follows: You will install Plex Media Server on the computer where you have all of your ripped movies and TV shows. Once this is set up and you have a myPlex account, all you have to do is log into myPlex through a computer (Plex Media Center) or phone (Plex App), and all of your movies on the computer running Plex Media Center will be available to you!
Step 1: Create a myPlex account here.
Step 2: Once you’ve created your myPlex account, download Plex Media Server onto your computer with your ripped media and install it.
Step 3: Once installed, open the Plex Media Manager. There should be a Plex icon in the system tray (Windows) where you can access it. Right click the icon and select “Media Manager.”
Step 3: Under the section “Add Media to Your Library,” you can add any type of media, including movies, music and home movies. Select the type of media you wish to add, and then select the folder where you store that media type on your computer.
Step 4: While still in the Plex Media Manager, select “Preferences” in the top-right corner. Then select “myPlex.” Here, you can sign in with your account credentials and oublish your server to myPlex. This allows any Plex client with your account credentials to access the media on your Plex Media Server.
*** If your router doesn’t support automatic configuration, you can select the option to manually enable it in Plex Media Server.
Step 5: Open up your Plex client. If you are on a computer, this means opening Plex Media Center. If you are on a phone or tablet, open the Plex app.
Step 6 (Computer): On Plex Media Center, go to Preferences->System->myPlex. Once you are here, sign in using the credentials of the account you just created. You can also set the stream quality that you prefer in this menu.
Step 6 (Cell Phone/Tablet):Open the Plex app. It should automatically prompt you to sign into myPlex, but if not, head over to the settings and you should be able to find where you need to enter your account credentials. This is what it should look like:
Step 7: Enjoy! You should now be able to stream your media library wherever you are as long as you have an internet connection.
There are plenty of other streaming solutions out there, but the reason I like Plex so much is that it presents your media in the same library view, complete with plots, runtime, and artwork. Other solutions usually just bring up a folder view where you can select the files. Another benefit of using myPlex is when you have to stop watching a movie, you can resume where you left off, regardless of which device you are using as long as you are signed into your account.