Friday, March 16, 2012

How to add files plex media server on ubuntu 11.10

    It occurred to me, while reviewing some of my previous posts, that I haven't yet covered some very basic "to-do's" about the Plex Media Server. So this post will cover, among other things, how to add files to the Plex Library on Linux.
    On of the great things about the Plex Media server is its ease of use. When using Microsoft Windows or Apple's Mac computers, just about everything is handled through the Plex Media application. This application is similar in concept to Windows Media Center or Apple's Front Row. From this one place you can set many of the server properties and functions. However, there is no such application for Linux, yet. 

    So, without this application, how do you setup your server library? Well, you do it with a web browser.  Point your web browser to the following address:

    Replace the number: with the ip-address of your server on your local network. The number 32400 is the port number and should be left as it is. 

This will bring you to this page: 

    From here you can "add" folders to each of  the Library Sections. Click a section title from the main part of the page and you will presented with: 

    Click the "Add" button to add any folder your server can browse, including other network drives that are not directly attached to the server. NOTE: Earlier I said "ADD", and I meant just that. From this dialog you can ONLY add folders. It will not even show you the folders it is currently using. I am not sure if this is a "bug" or just a quirk. As a general rule, don't use the "ADD MEDIA TO YOUR LIBRARY" section at the top of the main page. Its just not worth it. 

    Instead, use the side bar:

    Select the "Selection"(in this case we will stick with Movies as we have so far). All of the available items in the Library will now populate the main window. If you do not yet have any media to view, the main area will be blank. This OK too as we will be soon adding some movies. 

    On the bottom-right of the page, you will see button that says "Edit Section". You will also find the "Edit Section" as a menu in the "Gear Menu" on the bottom-left of the page. Clicking either of these will bring up a similar dialog as before, but with a key difference: 

    It will now display all of the current folders that the Plex Server looks into when it is searching "Movies". From here you can add or remove any folder the server can read from. As you can see, I have at least two folders already for movies. If these folders are also available for sharing on your network, such as via Netatalk, you can simply drag and drop movies to these folders from your normal PC or Mac. If the video doesn't show up right away, click the "Swirly Arrow" on the bottom-right of the page, AFTER the file has finished copying to the "Library Folder" you have selected. 

    It is important to keep media TYPES separate from each other. Basically, if you place a picture or MP3 in a folder for "Movies", it will still show up in the "Movies" section of your library. The Plex Server itself doesn't really care what kind of media it finds, so long as it can use it. It is up to you keep your library organized and manageable. 

    The four basic Sections that are pre-created for you, Movies, Music, Photos and TV Shows should be descriptive enough for anyone to keep track of. You can also rename any section and even create your own new sections. 

    As you can see, Plex, regardless of the underlying operating system, is fairly easy to use and maintain. This web app makes it "Feel" more like a server, since I do all changes from my Mac and rarely, if ever, touch the actual server directly anymore. It has become my own personal cloud storage, and I think that's pretty cool. 

    If you have any question, feel free to ask. 

    Until next time ...