PC Builder - Plex Media Center HTPC

Build a Perfect Plex Media Center HTPC

Replace multiple devices by building your own PC Plex Media Server

Plex is awesome, it offers a nice clean interface to give you quick easy access to your media library or online streaming. With the Unsupported Apps Plug-in you can get tons of Free additional channels and content. A Plex HTPC Media Center build can combine many different devices into one streamlined perfect little box.

Prefect Plex PC Builder HTPC

PC Builders have been building Kodi and Plex HTPC boxes for years. With recent advances in technology computer cases have been shrinking while processors have been getting faster. Now you can build a mini small form factor sized HTPC that can stream content from Plex to an iPad or Roku plus it can automatically transcodes anything that isn't compatible to the native h.264/MP4 format required by these devices. It will even repackage streams that are compatible in different containers. A Plex Media Center HTPC build also offers many additional benefits and features.

- Inexpensive to build compared to HTPCs from a few years ago
- Much easier to setup with almost zero config compared to Kodi
- Offers recurring monthly saving and will pay for itself once you cut your cable TV bill
- Small footprint can easily be hidden away
- Silent operation
- Play any music or video file types
- Access Tons of Free movies, TV shows and more with the Plex Unsupported Apps Plug-in

A HTPC does require more setup time and it's not click and play like a Roku or Apple TV. The sheer flexibility a HTPC offers is unmatched and hard to duplicate with almost any other device.

PLEX or Kodi

While both are pretty good our favorite media center software is Plex. Kodi setup can require a bit more tweaking and fiddling. For computer techies this is not much of a problem and once setup it works pretty well. Plex on the other hand is more a set and forget media center experience. Once you configure your server, updates are easy and you generally don't need to mess around with it much except to add plug-ins. Plex is more geared to streaming and offers some great utilities like Plex-It which will let you drop links to files you want to watch later on Roku into a queue right from your web browser.

HTPC Build

While there are many pre-built HTPC builds that work perfectly out of the box with Plex including two of our favorites the Mac Mini and Assassin HTPC. As a PC builder, your options are almost unlimited. Here is what you need to create a great low cost Plex Server. Keep in mind while this will still end up costing more than a comparable Roku or Nvidia SHIELD Android Kodi streamer.  It's still very much worth it if you want total flexibility that only a media center HTPC has to offer.

Case Motherboard Combo
Take a look at the highly rated Intel Nuc Computing Kit with HDMI, Thunderbolt, and Core i7 CPU.

Intel Nuc

Memory and Hard Drive are included so if purchasing from Amazon be sure to tick the boxes for the amount of memory and large enough mSATA Internal Solid State Drive.

This will give you a speedy package and with an 128GB SSD Drive the OS will boot very quickly. It will still hold enough videos and music specially if you only plan on streaming rather than downloading. For those that like to hang on to a large media library, plan on adding an external hard drive like the excellent WD My Passport Ultra 2TB Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive with Auto Backup.

Windows OS 10 works best with this box. Be sure to check out the user reviews on Amazon for helpful build instructions, tips and tweaks on the Intel Nuc i7.

Optional Network TV Tuner

SiliconDust HDHomeRun DUAL 2-Tuner ATSC DLNA/UPnP HD Compatible Streaming Media Player

If you plan on recording and pausing live over the Air TV channels, consider adding an Network HD tuner like one of the excellent models from HDHomeRun

Plex Server/Client Apps Downloads

Download Plex Software
Plex Server offers many different choices, for either PC, Mac, Linux or NAS. This software is free. If you want to watch Plex with your Roku you will now need to pay a one time fee to install the official Plex channel.

Free Plex Roku Channel Options:

RarPlex - FREE Roku Channel
PlexBeta (don't update or they will charge you)
DuffedPlex - Different Modded Version of Roku Plex Channel

Download and Install Plex Unsupported App Store Plug-in - Quick Guide
Warning: Since Plex stopped supporting Plug-ins and no longer give you access to Adult content check out these Roku and Android Adult Channels instead.

Windows Plex Install Tips

Plex Server on a NAS Drive

Plex Server can also be run on a NAS drive. A multi-core Intel based NAS is required to do file transcoding. QNAP and Synology both make very powerful Network Attached Storage models that have the power needed for transcoding although at a much higher price. NAS storage devices offer even more additional features and benefits. 

To learn more, please read Best NAS - QNAP Vs Synology.
Build your own FREE NAS

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