Ditch the HDMI Cable and Stream Your Movies with Plex this Weekend

My next steps from here include setting up a separate file storage host accessible across the network and moving to a more power-efficient host that I can leave on for longer. As I do so, I’ll document and post it here. In the mean time, I’ll keep enjoying the fruits of my labor!


Plex is a great media hosting and cataloging solution that will let you watch your content on lots of devices and web browsers. I’m using Ubuntu Desktop 16.04.1 as my host, but you can use almost anything.

  1. Create a Plex account on https://www.plex.tv
  2. From the computer you’ll use as your host, download the appropriate installer from https://www.plex.tv/downloads/
  3. If you’re on another OS, step through the installer and skip to step 6.
  4. In Ubuntu Desktop, open Terminal, and run the command “sudo apt-get install avahi-daemon”
  5. Still in Terminal, run the command “sudo dpkg -i [path][filename]”, with [path] being the full path to your file, and [filename] being the full name (with extension) of your file. You can copy the filename and path by right-clicking and going to “Properties”
  6. (Optional) Create a MAC-address-based IP reservation for your host on your router to make managing the Plex server easier. In Ubuntu, get your IP address (shown as inet addr) and MAC address (shown as HWaddr) by running “ifconfig” from Terminal.
  7. In the host, go to http://localhost:32400/web or from another computer on your network, go to http://[yourIPAddress]:32400/web, with [yourIPAddress} being the the address from step 6. Log in with your Plex credentials.
  8. (Optional) Make sure your media file names and folders comply with Plex’s naming conventions, or at least are sorted into Movie/TV Show/Other folders. Plex’s naming conventions are accessible here: https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/categories/200028098-Media-Preparation
  9. Name your server media server and click “Next”.
  10. Click the “Add library” button” and browse to the parent folder containing your library’s media type (Movies, for example). Then click “Add”.
  11. Repeat step 10 if you’re adding multiple libraries (TV Shows and Movies would be two libraries). Then click “Next” and “Done”.
  12. Go to Settings > Server > Library, and set Plex to automatically update your library so you can add and index content on the fly.
  13. Watch your content from any number of apps or from https://app.plex.tv/web/app