Plex Server setups

Recently I’ve been looking at what would be the best solution to cut the cord from the standard UK TV providers. Most of them have a pretty rubbish UI on the box, content is “meh”, and streaming is my go to viewing now anyway which make it not worth the monthly subscription.

I’m looking into setting up a Plex Server on a Raspberry Pi 4, with a connected HDHomeRun for Freeview, then view on the many, many devices we have.

I’m interested to see if anyone else has tried to do this (specifically for Freeview) and how it went?

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I have “Plex” on my Xbox 360 and I’ve pondered looking at it but never got round to it.

However RPi4’s are powerful little devices to play with.

I have a friend who built a bartop arcade unit on a rpi3 setup all setup running rom’s

Hopefully there’s someone out there that’s tried your option.

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Really hoping I can go down the Raspberry Pi route and it will be powerful enough to run it and transcode everything too.

I’m quite intrigued to see how well the RPi 4 runs Plex as I tried it on a 3B+ and it didn’t work so well :frowning:

I’m hoping the extra RAM and CPU + GPU upgrades make a difference!

As for what I use, I have a little micro desktop PC and that seems to run stuff fine.

I got it second hand from cex for not too much - around £150~

That’s a nice alternative. Had a look at some mini cases last night to see if it would be worth just doing a self build Home Theatre PC. This case won me over.

Was the RPi 3B+ not powerful enough @ChrisR5 ?

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Nope, just too under powered. It ran out of memory really quickly and the CPU + GPU just weren’t beefy enough to support good enough transcoding.

Nice case too! I’ve currently got a fractal design case for my main PC.

That’s good to know actually as that was one of my main concerns that it just wouldn’t be powerful enough for transcoding, especially 4K.

That’s it, I’m off PC shopping this weekend (socially distanced of course)!


Nice Case !!! ITX Mainboards were to fiddly & small for me compared to Micro ATX Boards so I always compromised and went For a Full Size Mainboard in a Beefy £30-£50 Case my two main Favourites were Foxconn & Mercury with Inwin as my Final Choice with its almost tool free design.

Is this named in honour of you @PhantomR1982? InWin A1 PLUS Phantom Gaming Edition

Some of those Inwin cases are very nice!

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Hahaha I Wish @afenton90 !!! There’s loads of products these days containing my name and it makes me laugh when I see them.

I should really buy them to live up to my legacy alas a name isn’t everything to me.

That’s a snazzy choice though & the QI Wireless Charger is a real selling point in the modern era.

I had a server style Beige Full ATX tool-less case at the time which I think was £90 on its own ready to build like this one (same style).

Foxconn and Inwin For Me Are The Quality Built Cases heavy but worth it

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I prefer to do the least amount of configuration as possible; hence Docker. It would be a good idea to plan how much storage you are going to allocate to Plex. My media that Plex indexes for example is ~11TB and there’s some shows on there that are pretty difficult to get ahold of, so you also want to think about redundancy if this matters to you.

In my example - I run unRAID on an HP Microserver. Docker automation at its finest - one click configurations and (providing you use the official docker repo’s and not a 3rd party) then you can pretty much leave it alone.

Thanks for the pointers @Kalimero I keep putting off taking the plunge with this. I think so far I’ve decided:

  • No Raspberry Pi 4 - not enough power
  • Build Home Theatre PC (HTPC) in small casing. Probably something slim.
  • Run everything in HTPC including: Digital TV via Aerial, Plex Server, Storage SSD (think that’s it)

My main concern is that the HTPC is going to be too loud when the fan kicks in, but if I get a fan less one then it’ll get too hot.

Don’t knock the RPI4. If Plex is not doing any transcoding, the RPI4 will surprise you :slight_smile:

Now you’ve got me wondering again :thinking:

I was running plex on a rpi4 with 2gb of memory. I have a mixture of videos in my plex library; some are h264 and thus can be played directly on most devices (smart tv etc…) and some are older or obscure formats which required to be transcoded on the fly by the rpi4. I recall it handled a single transcode of an old SD avi file fine; but anything over and it would struggle.

However; anything via direct play and I had multiple streams around the house and the rpi4 barely budged over 15% cpu usage.

Make sure it is connected by ethernet and anything remotely high bitrate run off USB for best performance; you can mount a local network share and have plex stream that but I’ve never tried it and undoubtedly won’t be as great as local USB storage.

Hope this helps! :slight_smile:

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Have been umming and uhhhing with getting an RPi 4 4/8GB… They’re meant to be very good for 3D printer setups too, so thinking of getting a couple and trying Plex on it myself to see if it suits my needs

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Ahh I love Plex server. I run mine from a standard midi-ATX using an Octacore Ryzen 7.

The key thing is make sure your machine has enough resources because if it has to transcode then this really saps whatever machine you run it on. If it’s 1080p to 720p or lower then this isn’t so bad but if you have 4K material and you’re transcoding then you’re better off encoding directly to 1080p.

Also, if you want to go on holiday and watch content from your Plex server whilst you’re away then check first what your upload speeds are. I get about 40mbs down and just under 10 up, This is not quite enough to stream 1080p to your caravan in Cornwall meaning you’re transcoding again.

Useless Plex fact that I didn’t know until I tried doing it - apparently you can’t stream HDR content to your own TV (eve if it’s perfectly capable of receiving HDR content) unless your able to fully utilise the audio in however many channels it’s coded AS WELL.

So if you have HDR with a 7.1 audio stream then Plex automatically transcodes it to SDR meaning you then get washed out colours and a lower bitrate. Very frustrating for movie lovers!

Thanks @Tranceking that is a useful fact. Have Plex said whether they are going to fix that any time soon? The techy in me needs optimal quality :face_with_monocle: .

I have also been looking at Channels — Channels DVR Server over the weekend as it looks like it’s slightly closer to my actual viewing needs.

Hi @afenton90 I don’t know when it’s likely to get fixed. When I was looking into this it looked like it was on the radar of the dev team however they were busy at the time dealing with adding various other functionalities.

For me I think there’s more chance of me getting my surround sound set up sooner than they’ll get around to getting this fixed. For me this means I’m currently limited to watching 4K HDR via YouTube and Bluray.

I still think it’s a great platform despite little quirks like this. It’s not a massive team either so I think they pick their battles carefully and try to get a couple of big things done every year along with trying to get various little fixes done at the same time. I hope that as more customers pay the subscription service then this can help fund them to achieve more.