PLEX | Best Media Server



Plex Best Media Server


If you have been wanting to use the Plex channel on your favorite media streamer you're not alone. These are some of the top reasons why many choose to install and use Plex.




Why Plex?

  • Plex is hands down a great way to organize and watch all your stored media like photos, music and video files.
  • The Plex app or channel works on a wide range of media streamers including Roku, Chromecast, Android and Apple TV.
  • Remote viewing lets you access your content from anywhere in the world without lag.
  • Plex comes with a beautiful, easy to use front end that automatically organizes your media and adds poster art for all your media files.
  • Automatic transcoding allows you to easily watch your content right where you left off across multiple devices like between your Roku, Phone or PC.
  • While Kodi also does a great job of offering many of the same features as Plex, it does tend to be more complicated and require more ongoing maintenance and tweaking. Plex, on the other hand, is much easier to setup and use. Streaming from more than one device on Kodi is very difficult to set up. With Plex, you can easily have several users access your media from a simple login through a web browser from anywhere.
  • The Plex Unsupported App Store gives users access to much of the same content that can be found from 3rd party repos on Kodi.

What Is The Best Plex Media Server Solution?


While Kodi works as a standalone app on many devices except for Roku. Plex is entirely different since it requires both an app to run on a media streamer and also the Plex Media Server software which must be open and running at the same time while watching the Plex channel.

Almost all media streamers made today with exception of the Nvidia SHIELD, are really incapable of running the Plex server software. This is because the Plex media server software requires a powerful PC with a powerful processor to transcode your files into compatible formats which phones, tablets, and many media streamers can play.

The server software needs a more powerful processor which is typically found in a PC or NAS to perform file transcoding. The more users you have connected to and streaming content from your Plex Media Server at the same time, will pretty much dictate how powerful your NAS or PC must be to accommodate multiple users. Also streaming higher resolution content to multiple users, will also require a more powerful CPU.


Using Plex on a NAS is Like Having Your Very Own Cloud Media Server

A NAS is a great alternative for a Plex Media Server because it runs 24/7 and is always on and available. These are some great options for building or buying the best Network Attached Storage (NAS) to run the Plex Media Server software.


Plex-4K-Media-Server-NAS
BEST


Plex 4K Transcoding


Since Transcoding streams in 4K requires a very powerful media server, this pretty much leaves out most NAS models except the most expensive ones like a QNAP TVS-871 i7 that costs several thousand dollars. This uses an i7 Intel CPU and can easily transcode 4K videos.

A lower cost solution would be to build your own 4K capable Plex Media Server using an AMD - Ryzen 5 2600 3.4 GHz 6- Core CPU.

While a PC is a great alternative, a NAS is great because not only can it run the Plex Media Server software. A NAS is also useful as a media storage device for serving and backing up many terabytes of your streaming media, photos and, music files.



Synology NAS Plex 1080p Transcoding
BETTER



Plex 1080P Transcoding


When looking for a NAS that can transcode one or two streams in 1080p, the CPU requirements are not nearly as intense. In this market, segment prices drop rather significantly and these NAS models for running Plex are much more affordable.

We really like Synology for their intuitive and polished software. If you haven't yet, be sure to read our Synology Vs Qnap NAS guide.

For 1080p transcoding, two Synology models are very good options if you subscribe to Plex Pass so you can take full advantage of Hardware Acceleration. The Synology DS918+ and DS718+ both share the same processor and the only difference is if you need the extra storage space from four hard drives versus two.



Best NAS for 4K to 1080p Transcoding with Plex
GOOD




Plex Without Transcoding


This is the most affordable NAS because it does not need a very powerful and expensive processor.  Any device using even an ARM CPU can play your files directly. This is useful when you stream video files already in a format your media streamer can play. 

For example, if you have a large library of movies or TV shows you recorded or downloaded in mp4 or m4v already, then your Roku, iPhone or Apple TV could play them directly from your NAS Plex Server without any transcoding required. 

We still recommend getting something a little more powerful like the Synology DS218+ because it can transcode your 4K media files to 1080p and has space for two drives. 

While single drive NAS models exist and cost less, they absolutely provide no backup redundancy for your files. If the hard drive fails, your files are almost good as gone.

With a typical dual drive or more model NAS, you can replace the broken drive with a new one and the drive(s) that are there can start backing up your files to the new drive.


If you own an Apple TV don't miss the Infuse App which can play many more file formats.




WD Red Pro Plex Server NAS Hard Drive




Best Hard Drives For Plex Media Server


You won't need to buy Enterprise drives for your NAS. Both Western Digital and Hitachi make good drives for a NAS. Be sure to look for models designated for a NAS like the WD Red series or the Hitachi HGST

These are some of the most reliable NAS hard drives you can find for a long life duty cycle or highest mean time between failure (MTBF).


No matter which route you choose to go for your Plex Media Server, it will give you a lot more flexibility on how you can archive, stream and watch your media with either your family or your friends all over the world.

For more NAS Plex Media Server options, be sure to view our sortable NAS Model Guide








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