If you have one large media libraryfull of movies and TV series in high quality, you should consider creating a media server. It is, as can be guessed from the name, a device where you can store all your multimedia files, and then look them in streaming from other devices such as PCs, tablets, smartphones, smart TVs and so on.
You might think of setting up a media server as a complex operation, but that’s actually not the case at all: thanks to PLEX, a software developed specifically for this purpose, creating a media server is super easy and you can do it in just a few steps. PLEX also doesn’t just manage your media library, it also offers other features, such as streaming web TV or Hi-Fi music via Tidal.
Once the software is found, it is necessary choose the hardware to use. Again the choice is simple, since since we need to a reliable device with a lot of space available, it is almost natural to opt for one NAS which allows you to install several disks. For the occasion we have chosen a QNAP TVS-675, equipped with several features that make it fit for purpose.
The QNAP TVS-675 is equipped with a Zhaoxin KaiXian KX-U6580 8-core x86 processor and 8GB of DDR4 RAM (expandable up to 64GB) in SO-DIMM format, so it has all the hardware power needed to run our media server. On board we also find two 2.5G LANs which can be aggregate (the so-called “trunking”) to obtain transfer rates up to 5Gbps, two PCIe 3.0 slots that allow you to install expansion cards or 2.5GbE, 5GbE or 10GbE adapters, four USB ports for connecting external devices and an HDMI 2.0 output with support for 4K 60Hz, which allows you to connect the NAS directly to the TV or projector for viewing the contents, without the need to use an external device.
As for thearchiving real, you can install NVMe or SATA SSDs in the slots dedicated to the cache to improve performance, while for storage there are six 3.5 “bays which support 3.5 “and 2.5” HDDs and 2.5 “SATA SSDs, as well as two M.2-2280 slots. For our project we used two Seagate IronWolf510 SSD, configured in RAID 1 to preserve data in case of any problems or malfunctions.
Among the features of the QNAP TVS-675 that make it a perfect tool to use as a media server are the 264 hardware decoding and real-time transcoding support, which allows you to watch all your multimedia contents in streaming at the highest quality without any problem.
So now we have identified the hardware to use, a NAS, and the software, PLEX. But how to combine the two? The goal of this guide is just that, to explain to you How to set up a PLEX server on the NAS to be able to use your multimedia library from any device. Let’s see what are the steps to follow to achieve our goal.
Install PLEX Media Server on the NAS
On some devices, thePLEX Media Server application is available within the App Center, so you can download it from there. Alternatively, follow these steps:
- Download the PLEX Media Server application from this addressselecting the correct platform.
- Open App Center, then select “Install manually”By clicking the icon at the top right.
- In the window that opens, click “Browse …”, select the installation file downloaded previously (with qpkg extension) and then press “Install”.
Once the procedure is finished, you will find the app installed and the icon to start it in NAS main screen. Before proceeding further, we advise you to place all your media files inside a shared folder (you can create a new one by opening File Manager by clicking on the folder with the + symbol and choosing Shared Folder), so you can find them easily during PLEX setup.
Configure PLEX Media Server on the NAS
At this point, starting the application a new browser window will open, where you can carry out the first steps of configuration. Make the login, give the server a name and, if you are interested, check “Allow me to access media from outside the home”.
Once this is done, you can add libraries to organize your files.
- Click “Add Library”.
- Select the type of content (Movie, Music, Photo, etc.), give it the name you prefer and select the language.
- Now choose the folder where your files are present. Click “Browse to find the media folder” and select the folders where you have placed them.
- Once this is done, continue and complete the configuration. Once completed, you will find yourself on the PLEX home page.
- Now everything is ready: in addition to some recommended programs, as you can see from the image above on the left you will find your libraries (in our case “YT Toms”). By clicking on it you will access all your content, which you can directly reproduce and manage with various options, such as adding tags or a poster.
Use PLEX on different devices
Now that you’ve completed the setup, you can leverage PLEX for view your content on all supported devices. It will be sufficient to install the application, log in with your account and enable synchronization to be able to access all your multimedia files. If you think you need features like the parental control or the download files on Android and iOS devices, consider purchasing PLEX Pass: These features, along with many others, are exclusive to subscribers.
Once you have followed these simple steps, you will be able to play videos, movies and music from your libraries exactly if they were saved locally, on the device you are using.