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Cayars - Setup walk through and some tips and tricks

cayarscayars Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 3,962 Plex Ninja
Thread Number Index
#1 Intro - Media Center Master - PVR Integration - MCEBuddy - 2nd Smaller File [TC]
#6 CAST LISTINGS and TRAILERS https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/comment/793038/#Comment_793038
#7 Personal Media (NFL, Learning Library, etc) - Extended Personal Media Scanner - Extended Personal Media Shows Agent https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/comment/794022/#Comment_794022
#12 Transmogrify for Plex https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/comment/794576/#Comment_794576
#15, #31 Storage Spaces <-- Replaced, see #71
#41 Unofficial Appstore Channel https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/comment/812725/#Comment_812725
#48 Dynamic Libaries <-- See a better way in #131
#59 Auto select library items (duplicate files at lower bitrate/resolution) https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/comment/876423/#Comment_876423
#131 How to create "Virtual Library's from Tags" Useful for "Recommended, Christmas, Season type movie collections" https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/comment/927727/#Comment_927727
#145 MP4 Auto Convert Scripts (remux and transcode) https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/comment/931888/#Comment_931888
SQLite Script to find all MP4 files in your library that are not Web Optimized 
https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/comment/1105503/#Comment_1105503
How to setup and use DrivePool and SnapRAID together:
https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/comment/1113655/#Comment_1113655

Introduction
A few people have asked me to start a thread about my system, the setup, the how/why's of it and such.  So I decided to do so. Hopefully this will help other people and maybe I can get some additional recommendations from others too.  All programs mentioned are for "Windows".
 
For starters I've been a video junkie for a long, long time. I've had a digital media collection for about 20 years now. I started using BeyondTV (SnapStream) and switched over to SageTV. I had 12 or so tuners recording any and everything I might have been interested in. I'd cut commercials etc.  This was state of the art back in the day.  Some of old timers might even remember me from both of the forums as I was a big time 3rd party developer/integrator on both platforms.
 
Jumping forward many years. SD was on the way out and HD was the "new thing".  Usenet and Torrents were becoming the norm for aquiring TV shows and Movies. Internet speeds (if you wanted to pay for them) was fast enough that you could download shows faster then you could record and process them.  Times were changing. I for the most part went from Recording shows/movies and ripping DVDs in a more or less SageTV environment to having most things these days available via Plex.  Tried lots of stuff in between but I'll save you the details.
 
I love Plex as it makes accessing your media super easy from just about anywhere or any device, but there are "holes" and some "tricks and tips" that make things run easier/better.  I also still have a few things I'm presently working to solve or improve on.  I've chosen a few item to start to talk about as these issues tend to come up a lot in the forums.
 
For example while I can have a great collection of media:
1) I can't pull down shows/movies from newsgroups or torrent sites automatically.
2) I can't out of the box do any PVR type stuff (TV Show/Movie recording).
3) I'm not a fan of the way Plex handles music.  It also only picks up 2/3 of my music collection.
4) Plex doesn't allow "friends" to download but only sync media (assuming you give them permission) to some devices.
5) I can't stream to more then a half dozen or so people (requiring transcoding) at the same time reliably as the transcoding engine will peg the CPU and cause some buffering issues for remote clients. 
 
So to give you a bit of info about my system.  I have 300/300 Internet service via FIOS.
My media:
265- 3D Movies (Bluray Quality and growing quickly)
9,200 - Movies
1,271 - Educations
21,400 - Music Videos
1200 - NFL Games
30,735 - TV Episodes (360 Shows, 1,850 Seasons)
Music: 8,000 Artists, 27,900 Albums, 215,560 Tracks
Edit: updated stats on 5/8/17
 
Most of my collection is HD (720p to 1080p). Everything is fully indexed and all videos are encoded in h.264 MP4 containers with a stereo track added as the first track (Dolby/DTS tracks are additional tracks). I've processed everything through HandBrake or XMedia depending on source.

My server is shared with about 20 accounts/friends that actively use it.  A few more accounts that occasionally use it. Some accounts have multiple Rokus and I'll sometimes I see 3 or 4 active streams from these "one" account/friends. Many of the shared players (ie Rokus) are set at 4Mbps 720p resolution which causes lots of transcodes on my 720p/1080p movies. This is probably due to the Rokus being used on WIFI at the remote location which I can't easily control.
 
To give some insite and to address the 5 items listed above:
1) I can't pull down shows/movies from newsgroups or torrent sites automatically.
Well this SHOULD NOT be included in Plex for obvious reasons.  It is however something that can be setup.  There are lots of solutions to this in the forums using tools such as integrating SABnzbd, Sickbeard, Couchpotato and Headphones.  This can/will work but it's a lot of setup work and maintenance.  I used to do this also but have recently moved away from this jungle of programs.
 
What I'll suggest instead is to check out Media Center Master http://www.mediacentermaster.com.  It will do 95% of what the above jungle of programs will do for you.  It DOES take a bit of time to figure out and get configured properly but it's very powerful and just works.
The video below will give you a quick overview of the setup.
 
Check out a few videos for acquiring TV Shows and Movies on Youtube and then search the forums here for more info on MCM. Worth the switch or initial setup.
 
2) I can't out of the box do any PVR type stuff (TV Show/Movie recording).
Yep, hard to believe but Plex STILL doesn't have any PVR functionality built in.  I've tried numerious PVR application for integration into Plex including MythTV, NextPVR, Windows Media Center, Media Portal.  While I was able to get all of them working with Plex I decided I wanted to keep the solution as simple as possible so there would be less to break down the road.  Many of the solutions require a lot of hand holding to get EPG working and is tough at times to integrate especially in the USA. I eliminated SageTV and BeyondTV (even though I have them and know how to use them extensively) as neither program is available anymore.
 
Here are/were my goals for PVR functionality:
A - I only care about the final media file ending up in Plex in a Movie or TV Show folder.  I really don't care about needing to view the file while it's being recorded (via plex).
B - I didn't want to use a plug in for plex as they are only available to the owner of the system and not friends or family accounts.
C - I wanted the ability to be able to remotely setup/modify recording via an EPG guide.
D - I wanted the ability to be able to view what is being recorded remotely (aka Slingbox style) and to be able to set the resolution depending on the device I'm using (real-time transcoding).
E - I wanted the ability to be able to remove commercials from some (not all) recordings before archiving to Plex.
F - I wanted the file to end up in MP4 format like my other library items and with a proper file name that Plex understands for meta data purposes.
 
Not to much to ask for is it?
How I accomplished this.  First I purchased a HDHomeRun Prime from NewEgg for $79 (current sale). This device uses a CableCard and has 3 tuners built in. I setup a 2nd computer running Windows 8.1 Media Center Edition ($10 upgrade for windows 8/8.1). MCE just plain worked better then MythTV, Media Portal, NextPVR, etc.  The setup was straight forward and it has integraded 14 day EPG guide built in. It does all the basics I needed.  Besides setting up the tuners in MCE I basically only setup the recording directories and everything else was at defaults (doesn't get easier than this).
 
Next I downloaded and installed Remote Potato from http://www.remotepotato.com  which allows you to remotely schedule recordings and allows you to play back anything recorded or watch live TV in different resolution/profiles.  This one app integrated first shot with MCE and just works. Remote Potato solved C & D above.


 
 
Next up was requirements E & F.  To do this I installed MCEBuddy https://mcebuddy2x.codeplex.com/.  They have a "free" version and a more advanced version that is faster and has more features. They call this EARLY ACCESS PREMIUM PROGRAM.  Try the "free" version and after you get the hang of what it does make a donation of $25 to the dev for life time updates to the current version (what you want).  Then do the same for ComSkip $10 to get faster commercial cutting.  Both are "cheap" in my mind and you get to try the "normal" versions first. MCEBuddy will for the most part cut commercials, convert to MP4 format (huge saving in file space), rename files with proper naming that Plex understands and can put the files directly into your Plex libraries.
 
You can of course setup some shows to not go through MCEBuddy processing.  Example if you want to record the news on a local channel a couple of times a day and have it available in case something happens and you want to be able to refer back to it.  Or maybe you want to watch Who wants to be a Millionair or similar and delete the files after viewing...
 
3) I'm not a fan of the way Plex handles music.  It also only picks up 2/3 of my music collection.
4) Plex doesn't allow "friends" to download media but only sync media (assuminig you give them permission) to some devices. 
Personally I'd rather let my daughter download a few movies or albums to her laptop and/or phone then "sync" for her half a day bus ride back to college or from college to home.  Or to be able to allow a friend to download a few movies to take on vacation with them, or have available for the plain/flight...  Syncing normally degrades quality and puts a hurting on the Plex CPU.
 
Both of these issues will get taken care of here.  To me music in Plex is more of an after thought especially compared to the way it handles TV Shows and Movies.  It will do the basics if you have all files in the formats it understands.  I installed MadSonic http://www.madsonic.org/ (Subsonic fork) on my main Plex server and setup the library paths the same as Plex.  So MadSonic has access to the same media as Plex does.
 
Madsonic handles music much better as you'll find out.  It also allows the owner to setup accounts for users and set all kinds of things like the ability to download albums, tracks or movies/videos.  You can download single files as MP4 (example) or select multiple files and have them downloaded as a ZIP file.  This is quite a nice way to allow a friend to download a couple of albums, etc.  Madsonic allows the operator to set quotes and in many ways is more advanced then Plex but it's no where near as visually appealing (to me).  Madsonic has clients available for your Windows, Android and Apple phones as well as a web interface.
 
5) I can't stream to more then a half dozen or so people (requiring transcoding) at the same time reliably as the transcoding engine will peg the CPU and cause some buffering issues for remote clients.
Especially true if you add media and the "indexer" kicks in while also transcoding for remote clients.
 
The obvious thing you can do is upgrade to the latest/greatest i7 or XEON CPU but this will only take you so far.  This to me is the "achilles heel" in the Plex architecture at present. There is only so much CPU to go around unless you want to purchase a quad ZEON server class machine with 12/24+ cores per CPU. I doubt many Plex users are going to spend $20K+ on something like this.  :)
 
I've brought this up recently in a couple of other threads. There are a couple of "workable" solutions depending on your needs.  For example, at present when ever I add a new movie to my collection that I think others are going to watch I create two files.  The first file is the normal high res HandBrake encode (high bitrate) 1080p file.  The second file is created at 720p resolution with a bitrate at or under 4Mbit.  Once both files are added to Plex it can dynamically choose the best resolution to "direct play" if possible.  Sort of like a poor mans adaptive bitrate if you will.
 
I simple use the "normal" file name with a [TC] in the name ie Abduction (2011) [TC].mp4. I've been using the built in transcoder in "sync" mode to generate these files to the "cloud" but have the cloud blocked via my router so they never get updated.  I can then grab them and rename them.  The [TC] in the file name is just what I decided to call this files. TC=TransCoded.  I could have just as easily used [720-4] which would be more descriptive especially if I wanted to do multiple bit-rate files.
 
This "solution" is of course a trade off of storage space vs CPU use.  I'll probably develop this into more of a automated fashion using some logic.  For example maybe I would only want to have the most recent 100 movies encoded this way OR give it 1 TB disk space. It would essentially work as a "cache" for the last X movies added that are over a certain profile (for me 4Mbit and/or 720p).  This way for example if you were to just add Avatar or Guardians of the Galaxy and knew you'd have friends who would be watching it you'd have them covered.
 
Another solution to an over-whelmed CPU Plex system would be to clone the setup of the plex server onto another machine.  Then manually seperate users to different machines.  The downside to this is that anytime new media is added both machines now will have to create index files and pull down meta data etc. Probably not a big deal and this does give you a "backup" machine.
 
However, a much better solution would be to have the ability to fire up transcoders on multiple machines running on the local LAN.  This would be the most ideal use of machines and the transcoders could be used for multiple purposes such as replacing Handbrake for the initial encode of RIPs, encoding PVR material, encoding for on the fly video sent to clients, etc....
 
MOVING FORWARD
I'm still fine tuning PVR functionality but once past this I'm going to try and tackle some type of distributed encoding/transcoding of Plex so that it can have other computers on the network doing some of the real-time encoding.  If done correctly this would help Plex scale out much better for those with an extra computer available.  I'm also going to work/play with hardware assisted encoding which is now fully working in some freeware programs such as HandBrake. I don't know if I'd use the hardware assist for long term storage of my BluRays but for the [TC] "cache" files or for quick encoding of PVR material this could be ideal. I'm not sure it wouldn't be a bad idea for the real-time encodes sent to clients but that might be a lot harder to implement.
 
So that's it for now,
Carlo
9,500 Movies, 380 Shows - 32,860 TV Episodes, 380 Christmas Movies, 400 Documentary, 270 3D Movies, 1300 NFL Games, 1280 Educational Videos, Premium Music: 215,560 Tracks, 715 GB Plex Meta-Data.
Thread on my setup with some tips and tricks: https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/131308/cayars-setup-walk-through-and-some-tips-and-tricks/p1
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Comments

  • PlexhilaratedPlexhilarated Plexperimentalist Members, Plex Pass Posts: 1,620 Plex Pass

    [Followed]

    Much of it is over my head, but I love to schmooze with the leading edge folks.

    My Current Plexistence:
    Server: Intel i5, 14x3TB Internal Drives, Win-10, running PMS, PlexPy, PlexWeb, PHT, PMP, Plex for Windows 
    27" Samsung Monitor and Vivitek HD/3D Projector, 10' Diagonal Fixed Screen
    Dell Laptop: Win-10, running PlexWeb, PHT, PMP, and Plex for Windows
    Samsung 55" LED TV: Samsung Plex App
    Vizio 50" UHD TV: Vizio Plex App
    Samsung 40" LED TV: Samsung Plex App
    Tablet PC: Windows 8.1 Mobile App
    Motorola Droid: Android App
  • Jammy BJammy B Jammy by name.... Members, Plex Pass Posts: 1,216 Plex Pass
    Thanks for taking the time to post this.
    Plexing for Live TV
  • cayarscayars Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 3,962 Plex Ninja
    edited December 2014

    I've decided it's time to add a 1 TB SSD drive to my system exclusively for the MetaData and Transcoding folders.

    I'm close to 500GB in the MetaData folder so a 1TB drive should hold me over for a bit. This should help speed things up a bit as sometimes I feel like the system is getting a bit sluggish.

    On another note. I've been playing with HandBrake encoding for creating the "TC" files mentioned above. I wanted to see how much difference there was in both speed and in quality of files when using QuickSync to do the conversions.  Man was I surprised.  I used a couple of sample files for testing.

    In a nutshell when converting MP4 1080p files with a bitrate of 10 to 12Mbit down to 720p 3.8Mbit I always got files that were under the 4Mbit limit I'm shooting for to use with the TC cache.

    I used both QuickSync and conventional CPU to create similar files for comparison.

    I honestly couldn't tell the difference between the two just watching them.  I did not try and stop to compare exact frames between the files as I really don't care about "exact quality".  I can say however that these "cached TC" files were of better quality then having PLEX transcode the files on the fly.  So it's an improvement in quality while reducing CPU resources.

    The only computer I had available that had an integrated Intel GPU was my Surface Pro i5 2nd generation so that is what I used.

    Using HIGH PROFILE with Picture set to 1280 (720 height) and a bitrate of 3800 specified I got:

    14.5 fps using the software encoder with 97 to 99% CPU use

    84.4 fps using same settings above BUT with H.264 (Intel QSV) selected to use QuickSync with 33 to 37% CPU use

    Almost 6 times faster with plenty of CPU left to use for other things.

    Strangely however is that Plex with the latest release or two has started doing something strange. It would previously all on it's own "merge" multiple movies together.  By that I mean if I had "Dave (1993).mp4" and also "Dave (1993) [TC720-4].mp4" somewhere in the library sections it would know it's the same movie. HOWEVER, now it's showing up as two different movies and I have to manually "merge" them together.  They are both found as the correct movie but have different icons etc.

    One step forward, one step backward. :)

    Once I get this sorted out I'll probably whip up a small util that can check the SQL database and take the last X movies added and create "cached" copies of these transcoded files. Probably instead of number of movies I'll use X GB/TB of space instead so we can for example designate 250GB, 2TB, etc and let the util manage it.

    Carlo

    9,500 Movies, 380 Shows - 32,860 TV Episodes, 380 Christmas Movies, 400 Documentary, 270 3D Movies, 1300 NFL Games, 1280 Educational Videos, Premium Music: 215,560 Tracks, 715 GB Plex Meta-Data.
    Thread on my setup with some tips and tricks: https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/131308/cayars-setup-walk-through-and-some-tips-and-tricks/p1
  • mjr1284mjr1284 Members, Plex Pass Posts: 55 Plex Pass
    edited December 2014

    Thanks for posting this. This has given me plenty of ideas for my setup. I will take a much closer look at Media Center Master. As for the issues with CPU power and friends and family, I tend to persuade them to use Plex locally and use my own FTP server, but for those where FTP its above their head, I like your TC idea. For Live OTA TV I've started with HDHR Fling and a single HDHR Extend device. The Fling software has its own Roku channel, it's limited and still has ways to go since it's in beta, but been smooth so far (remote users could use this on the ROKU if you open the ports - but your limited to tuners). The guide isnt even on the same planet as WMC or remote potatoe, anyway, thanks  again for your write up.

  • cayarscayars Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 3,962 Plex Ninja
    edited December 2014

    Thought I'd share a couple more things about CAST LISTINGS and TRAILERS:

    In this first picture you will notice there is no trailer and the cast list doesn't have any of the key actors in the movie.

    before.png

    With a few changes to our settings we can have this which has a trailer and also shows all the key actors!

    after.png

    To get these results simple setup your agents like the following two screen shots.  Notice the order of Freebase and The Movie Database.

    Also worth noticing if you click on the setting icon to the right of each agent (those that have it) I have every option enabled.  Adjust to your own preferences.

    settings1.png

    For trailers to work you will need to have a Plex Pass account and will want to make sure you are logged in before doing any scanning.

    You will also want to make sure you select Freebase as the agent for a movie library

    library.png

    settings2.png

    9,500 Movies, 380 Shows - 32,860 TV Episodes, 380 Christmas Movies, 400 Documentary, 270 3D Movies, 1300 NFL Games, 1280 Educational Videos, Premium Music: 215,560 Tracks, 715 GB Plex Meta-Data.
    Thread on my setup with some tips and tricks: https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/131308/cayars-setup-walk-through-and-some-tips-and-tricks/p1
  • cayarscayars Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 3,962 Plex Ninja
    edited November 2015
    After struggling for some time to try and organize NON movies or TV Shows I finally found a way to pretty easily organize some "personal" media".
    NFL LIBRARY
    NFLpng
     
    NFL2png
    NFL3png
     
    LEARNING LIBRARY
    Learning1png
    Learning2png
    Learning3png
     
    SUMMARY
    My choice of icons on this last set of images is only temporary and I'll soon be replacing them with some icons I'll make specifically for Plex. I just added them to grab some screen shots.  This "Learning" library is still a work in progress and I only have about 25% of my DVDs ripped and uploaded.  Just started it yesterday.
     
    This way of organizing a library has made it easy to find media.  This is especially helpful on the xBox One as there is no search feature.  Trying to find an NFL game from last week WAS BLOODY HELL but now it's a piece of cake.
     
    I know many people struggle with trying to make sense of putting their personal media up in Plex in a way that makes sense to navigate and I think these two different libraries show that this can be accomplished.  I'll be using this technique with a couple of other libraries such as personal family videos, other sports libraries, etc...
     
    HOW TO DO THIS
    The "Secret Sauce" to this setup is three things:
    1) Addition of a new Scanner
    2) Addition of a new Meta Agent
    3) Naming your files properly so they "fit" a category in your new library.
     
    Extended Personal Media Scanner
    Go to the following thread and download the Extended Personal Media Scanner here: https://forums.plex.tv/topic/88982-rel-extended-personal-media-scanner/
    The installation directions may be a bit "off" so this is what you want to do. Follow the instructions give to navigate to the "Scanners" folder.  Only don't put the contents of the zip here yet.
    Create a sub-folder under Scanners called "Series" without the quotes.  Now find the .PY file in the zip and put this file in the Series folder.  You should end up with something like the following:
    C:\Users\cayars\AppData\Local\Plex Media Server\Scanners\Series\Extended Personal Media Scanner.py
     
    Extended Personal Media Shows Agent
    Go to the following thread and download the Extended Personal Media Shows Agent here: https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/83440/rel-extended-personal-media-shows-agent
    Follow the instructions exactly as posted in the first message so you end up with something like the following:
    C:\Users\cayars\AppData\Local\Plex Media Server\Plug-ins\ExtendedPersonalMedia-Agent.bundle  <-- this folder/directory will now have both "Contents" and "Resources" in it.
     
    You may want to stop/start Plex server at this point if the next section doesn't work.
     
    FILE NAMING
    You will see the scanner/meta-agent can take various formats of naming and be able to work with them.  I've found the S2014E01 format to work the best for me especially with sports.  If I used date based formats (2014-01-20) then I get results I may not want.  For example while the Super Bowl this year will be played in 2015 I don't want this game or the playoff, etc listed under the year 2015.  I want them to be with the rest of the 2014 season.  This of course is a personal preference.  The date based naming style cold be super using with family movies.  Just use the style that works for the library at hand.
     
    I'll share some file names:
    2012 Week 1 NFL
    Week 01 - S2012E01 - 49ers at Packers.mp4
    Week 01 - S2012E02 - Bengals at Raven.mp4
    Week 01 - S2012E03 - Bills at Jets.mp4
     
    2013 Super Bowl
    Super Bowl - S2013E01 - Broncos at Seahawks.mp4
     
    2014 Week 15
    Week 15 - S2014E01 - Bengals at Browns.mp4
    Week 15 - S2014E01 - Broncos at Chargers.mp4
    Week 15 - S2014E02 - Cardinals at Rams.mp4
     
    So the format is "category" - "year/episode" - "file name". Make sure each file has a different episode number.
     
    For my Learning library:
    Educator Math - S04E01 - Expressions and Formulas.mp4
    Here I'm not using date in the series but just a series number. Course one will be season 01, course two will be season 02, etc.
     
    ADDING A NEW LIBRARY
    You add a new library as normal EXCEPT you start by adding a "TV SHOWS" library.  Add your folder(s) as normal and then click on "Advanced"
    Here you will choose both a different SCANNER and a different AGENT like so (The two we just installed):
    Add_Librarypng
    Have fun and let me know how this works out for you!
     
    Carlo
    9,500 Movies, 380 Shows - 32,860 TV Episodes, 380 Christmas Movies, 400 Documentary, 270 3D Movies, 1300 NFL Games, 1280 Educational Videos, Premium Music: 215,560 Tracks, 715 GB Plex Meta-Data.
    Thread on my setup with some tips and tricks: https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/131308/cayars-setup-walk-through-and-some-tips-and-tricks/p1
  • NedtheNerdNedtheNerd Members, Plex Pass Posts: 3,736 Plex Pass

    Excellent series of posts, solved a couple of little niggles for me.

    Suggest that you pull all this into a PDF and ask the Mods to pin it somewhere, keep up the good work, looking forward to the next installments.

    Regards


    Rasplex/OpenPHT is maintained by a team of volunteers, donations are gratefully received. Why not make a donation now: rasplex.com

    "Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it."
  • ShottotheDomeShottotheDome Members, Plex Pass Posts: 137 Plex Pass
    following this as im basically trying to do same thing as op. would be nice if you could share plex channels easily to allow live tv for sports. Hdhomerun view channel works pretty well for that but limited to your own account.
  • cayarscayars Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 3,962 Plex Ninja
    edited December 2014
    NedtheNerd wrote on December 16 2014, 2:36 PM: »

    Excellent series of posts, solved a couple of little niggles for me.
     
    Suggest that you pull all this into a PDF and ask the Mods to pin it somewhere, keep up the good work, looking forward to the next installments.
     
    Regards


    I can certainly do something like that and go into more details about certain things like how to use Handbrake, how to create "TC" files, etc. But I wouldn't mind trying to figure out a few more useful tips to add to the thread. I'm also still planning on creating a little util to automate a few "tasks".

    Off the top of my head I can't think of anything else to add at the moment. If anyone has any questions about Plex that sort of fits in this thread then by all means feel free to ask and I'll see what I can do to answer/put together a "tip" for it. 
     
    ShottotheDome wrote on December 16 2014, 3:37 PM: »

    following this as im basically trying to do same thing as op. would be nice if you could share plex channels easily to allow live tv for sports. Hdhomerun view channel works pretty well for that but limited to your own account.


    Agreed completely. I wasn't even aware that the channels weren't shared until a release or two ago when the new "Home" features were added. At that point I was able to create different family accounts and limit what a couple of people were able to see. Then I was able to add more media that I didn't have on the system previously.

    Up until that point I just had all devices (in my family) login with my plex pass account. After the switch I quickly noticed several channels that weren't available to anyone but me. :)

    That was pretty much the reason why I didn't go with any channel based live tv solution since it wouldn't be available to anyone but me. Hopefully the Plex team listens to us customers who want this feature and we get it in an upcoming release!
    9,500 Movies, 380 Shows - 32,860 TV Episodes, 380 Christmas Movies, 400 Documentary, 270 3D Movies, 1300 NFL Games, 1280 Educational Videos, Premium Music: 215,560 Tracks, 715 GB Plex Meta-Data.
    Thread on my setup with some tips and tricks: https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/131308/cayars-setup-walk-through-and-some-tips-and-tricks/p1
  • ShottotheDomeShottotheDome Members, Plex Pass Posts: 137 Plex Pass
    edited December 2014
    So im currently using the cetontv/hdhomerun xbmc plugin for users needing live remote tv. im going to try to see if I can somehow integrate it with the hdhomerun view channel icons as a fork maybe. this would allow remote passworded access and better plex independent x264 encoding. plus the ceton/hdhomerun backend can handle multiple hdhomeruns and has on demand tuning of the available tuners. only changes to channel in plex would be where the channels connect to. in this case remote ip api call. Each client would need it installed as their own channel though but most of my family has their own local plex server.

    only current option to integrate livetv for other users not on master account and plex is plexbmc with xbmc plugins
  • cayarscayars Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 3,962 Plex Ninja
    edited December 2014

    Just in case you aren't aware of the great web browser extension known as Transmogrify for Plex.

    It is a Chrome and Firefox extension that adds many cool features to the Plex web interface. (I prefer it on Chrome)

    Transmogrify for Plex thread is located here: https://forums.plex.tv/topic/99209-transmogrify-for-plex-a-browser-extension-that-adds-features-to-plexweb/

    I'll use a few pictures and descriptions directly from that thread to illustrate what this extension can do.

    Features include:
    Adding a link to view the trailer for movies within Plex/Web
    Adding a link to view the letterboxd page for movies
    Adding a link to view the themoviedb page for movies
    Adding a link to view the tvdb page for tv shows
    Adding a link to view the IMDB page for movies, and displays ratings
    Adding a link to view the trakt page for movies and tv shows, and display user ratings
    Adding a link to view the rotten tomatoes page for movies, and display critics and audience ratings
    Adding a random tv show/movie picker
    Adding a missing seasons and episodes view
    Adding a Can I Stream it? widget to movie pages
    Adding a movie/tv show filter for the main dashboard
    Adding an actor profile for cast members on movie pages
    Adding a server statistics page
     

    61lCbn9.jpg

    You have a watch trailer link under the movie.  This plug-in finds trailers when the "normal" one does not.  Also doesn't require a plex pass.

    Note all the "Extras" at the bottom of the page.

    Check out the right side of the page for additional ratings

    zCmRb39.jpg

    This shows the very cool feature where an actor's profile is shown just by hovering your mouse over the actor name.

    6CKE3Bl.jpg

    In this picture it's quite easy to see the browser extension has determined what TV shows are missing and fills in some information.  You can also click on them for additional info.

    hM5amp2.png

    Only a small showing of what the statistics page will show you about your collection of Movies and TV Shows.

    So check out the thread and install this web browser plug-in/extension. You won't regret it.

    Carlo

    9,500 Movies, 380 Shows - 32,860 TV Episodes, 380 Christmas Movies, 400 Documentary, 270 3D Movies, 1300 NFL Games, 1280 Educational Videos, Premium Music: 215,560 Tracks, 715 GB Plex Meta-Data.
    Thread on my setup with some tips and tricks: https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/131308/cayars-setup-walk-through-and-some-tips-and-tricks/p1
  • cayarscayars Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 3,962 Plex Ninja

    I edited the first post and embedded a couple of videos on some of the applications used.

    9,500 Movies, 380 Shows - 32,860 TV Episodes, 380 Christmas Movies, 400 Documentary, 270 3D Movies, 1300 NFL Games, 1280 Educational Videos, Premium Music: 215,560 Tracks, 715 GB Plex Meta-Data.
    Thread on my setup with some tips and tricks: https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/131308/cayars-setup-walk-through-and-some-tips-and-tricks/p1
  • PlexhilaratedPlexhilarated Plexperimentalist Members, Plex Pass Posts: 1,620 Plex Pass

    WOW... Got some homework to do.

    Very cool.

    My Current Plexistence:
    Server: Intel i5, 14x3TB Internal Drives, Win-10, running PMS, PlexPy, PlexWeb, PHT, PMP, Plex for Windows 
    27" Samsung Monitor and Vivitek HD/3D Projector, 10' Diagonal Fixed Screen
    Dell Laptop: Win-10, running PlexWeb, PHT, PMP, and Plex for Windows
    Samsung 55" LED TV: Samsung Plex App
    Vizio 50" UHD TV: Vizio Plex App
    Samsung 40" LED TV: Samsung Plex App
    Tablet PC: Windows 8.1 Mobile App
    Motorola Droid: Android App
  • cayarscayars Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 3,962 Plex Ninja
    edited December 2014

    I previously mentioned I was going to order a 1 TB SSD drive to install in my Plex server as I couldn't find one local.  I was then going to move the meta data directory over to this.

    This has been bugging me because as you probably know my meta data directory is close to 500 GB in size.  90% of it is probably the index files. I personally think it's stupid to have these index files "parked" on a fast disk like an SSD but with the current setup/layout/architecture of Plex it's more or less an all or nothing proposition when it comes to the meta-data directory location.

    Right?  Well not so fast, so says Carlo. :)

    My Plex server runs on Windows 2012 R2 but what I'm about to share will work just as well with Windows 8 (preferably with 8.1 which is a free update).

    What I'm getting at is something called "Storage Spaces".  If done/setup correctly it's the best of a RAID setup, freenas, drobo and unraid all in one and part of the operating system.

    For those who might have heard of Storage Space and dismissed it due to stuff they have read on Linux biased threads...  It isn't so.  It's not EVERYTHING a freenas box can be, it's not everything a Drobo can be, it's not everything an unraid server is.  But is has the best qualities of each all wrapped up in one and is part of the operating system.

    I work in a mixed environment of Linux and Windows on the server side so I try to follow all things (well what I can) related to both especially when it comes to storage because it a "personal" thing. :)
    Storage spaces get knocked on many Linux threads by those who have never worked with it or really don't know how it works (plus many just don't like Windows or are biased).  I try and keep an open mind as I use both and test things out for myself.  All I'll say is that it's fast, reliable and pretty easy to expand on when you understand how it works.

    Ironically, I'm not using storage spaces for Plex (yet), BUT I just ordered several WD Red 6 TB drives and a 1TB Samsung SSD drive for just this purpose.  I do however have a bunch of servers setup using this at work and it's faster then our SANs, DATs and RAIDed server machines.  Storage spaces has also passed every Disaster Recover test we threw at it when other technologies did not (kind of surprised me).

    Storage Spaces can be setup using just a GUI or can be controlled via Powerscript.  Storage Spaces can have the best of unraind, freenas and drobo in one product more or less, especially for our purposes.  You can use thin or thick provisioning, data duplication (worthless for video files generally) and can choose to format as NTFS or the newer ReFS.

    Where it gets interesting and back to the point I started with.  You can setup a tier of pure HDDs and another tier of pure SSD drives.  Then when you create a virtual disk (ie Drive F,G, whatever) you can pick and choose among the tiers you've setup (ie 30% SSD and 70% HDD). The operating system will then monitor and arrange your files so the most often used program reside on the SSD tier.  It will move them around as a maintenance process in the background. You can also manually "pin" files to one or the other tier.  In the world of Plex for example the database files would get put on the SSDs in this example and much of the meta items would also as they are constantly being viewed and used.  But things like the index files (part of the meta database) would almost surely still reside on the HDDs as they only get used when a person is actually viewing a file.  Many of these index files may never get used or only once or twice a year if someone watched the movie or TV show associated with it.

    So using "tiers" when setting up the storage pools would intelligently "split" the meta database up on the proper tiers based on frequency of usage!

    You can also set aside just pure SSD space as a drive letter which would be perfect for the transcode directory.

    I'm attaching a YouTube video which kind of covers some of what I just talked about and does cover SSD and HDD tiers.  The guy in this video uses Power Script to setup everything but it can just as easily be done via the GUI.  I myself like to use Power Script for these types of tasks as I can save it on a master flash drive to serve as "documentation" of how the storage array was setup in case I need to refer back to it anytime down the road.

    Here's another done in a virtual environemtn show how to use the GUI to do everything and also how to add a new disk to the storage pool after it's operational.

    Carlo

    PS: Question for you guys: Are some of these posts too technical in this thread or is this type of info useful?

    9,500 Movies, 380 Shows - 32,860 TV Episodes, 380 Christmas Movies, 400 Documentary, 270 3D Movies, 1300 NFL Games, 1280 Educational Videos, Premium Music: 215,560 Tracks, 715 GB Plex Meta-Data.
    Thread on my setup with some tips and tricks: https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/131308/cayars-setup-walk-through-and-some-tips-and-tricks/p1
  • ShottotheDomeShottotheDome Members, Plex Pass Posts: 137 Plex Pass
    edited December 2014
    I find the posts interesting, informative and not too technical but then again im not scared of a terminal window.

    Why use indexing? seems like a waste of storage space. what does it give you for the space used? I have it turned off and I have barely any metadata on my ssd. As to storage spaces, what kind of parity options does it have? Im more of a linux guy but a good tool is a good tool

    I read someone that ran tests and the testing showed it made no difference if the plex database was on an ssd vs spinning disk as far as measured client performance goes. its somewhere in the forum
  • cayarscayars Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 3,962 Plex Ninja

    Indexes are great if you or any of your friends own a Roku box because any fast forwarding or reversing will have a small box on screen that shows you exactly where you are in the movie. This also works in Android but is less useful as you can easily just "jump" to any section of the movie unlike most hardware devices that require the use of FF/RW.  Although borked right now it's pretty clear that the devs have the intention of using the index files on the xBox platforms also.  Right now you get the big box that pops up when FF or RW but it's just all black.

    Index files are also used from the web interface when you use the "Now Playing" feature.

    I have read "conflicting" reports about the use of an SSD for Plex's meta-data directory in the forums.  However, from everything I know about software and hardware architecture and enterprise system storage provisioning and diagnostic/performance tuning combined with what I've analyzed and seen on my own system...  What I think this will achieve is faster load times for clients when they enter a library and move around.  Right now I see a slowly degrading pause which I think is due to the fact that I have around 70K meta objects which is primarily to all the music albums I've added.  6.5K albums x number of tracks = lots of meta records.

    I haven't really looked into the music side of Plex much in regards to what is and what isn't stored and where so the last part of the above could be wrong but I doubt it.

    So while "others" may not report any speed ups this goes in the "face" of what I predict will happen.

    We will know in a week or two. :)

    I'm going to play a bit with the system testing different "layout" strategies. Where appropriate I'll also test IOPS

    Right off the bat the first thing I want to test is just adding the SSD as a normal drive and setting it up to use for plex meta-data and for transcoding

    Next will be a storage spaces with no parity, mirror, parity with only HDD tested with both NTFS and ReFS to see what IOPS I can get

    I'll play with both "thin" and "thick" provisioning of the above.

    Then I'll play with storage spaces using "tiered" SSD and HDD combined for meta-data use using both NTFS and ReFS with no parity, mirrow, parity and I'll also check IOPS again in these configurations

    For this set of tests only "thick" provisioning can be used of course. No "thin" provisioning when using "tiered" storage.

    I'm not going to be in rush to start using the space right away but want to explore different methods of setup and use for a Plex setup. I'll probably just play for a week or two unless I strike gold right away.

    9,500 Movies, 380 Shows - 32,860 TV Episodes, 380 Christmas Movies, 400 Documentary, 270 3D Movies, 1300 NFL Games, 1280 Educational Videos, Premium Music: 215,560 Tracks, 715 GB Plex Meta-Data.
    Thread on my setup with some tips and tricks: https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/131308/cayars-setup-walk-through-and-some-tips-and-tricks/p1
  • jagowarjagowar Members, Plex Pass Posts: 63 Plex Pass

    I use sickbeard and it has worked pretty flawlessly for me.  I had thought about trying sonarr but it looks to be very similar to sickbeard in what it can do.  

    There is one feature I would love for one of these programs to do (not sure if mcm can do it) but that would be to download content from multiple sources (usenet and torrent).  Usenet has most things but there are a few that don't get tracked that I would love for it to "fail over" to a torrent.

  • cayarscayars Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 3,962 Plex Ninja

    You can do this already with the programs you have. :)  When I was running SB I did exactly that.

    9,500 Movies, 380 Shows - 32,860 TV Episodes, 380 Christmas Movies, 400 Documentary, 270 3D Movies, 1300 NFL Games, 1280 Educational Videos, Premium Music: 215,560 Tracks, 715 GB Plex Meta-Data.
    Thread on my setup with some tips and tricks: https://forums.plex.tv/discussion/131308/cayars-setup-walk-through-and-some-tips-and-tricks/p1
  • hthighwayhthighway Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Posts: 6,515 Plex Ninja
    cayars wrote on December 17 2014, 5:15 PM: »

    You can do this already with the programs you have. :)  When I was running SB I did exactly that.

    Don't you need to run a branch/fork of Sickbeard other than the standard one that has torrent integration in it beyond just monitoring a black-hole folder to have it check both USENET and torrents for a particular media file?

    • Paul
  • ShottotheDomeShottotheDome Members, Plex Pass Posts: 137 Plex Pass
    yes I think. get on the sickrage fork that is actively developed
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