How was the Plex Media Server created

Synology: Expert Settings in Plex Media Server

Have you already installed the Plex Media Server and your films, series and music can already be accessed from the home network? You will probably notice that not everything is going as smoothly as you would like it to be. Fine tuning is now the order of the day. In the third part of our Plex Special, we will show you how you can use various, sometimes well-hidden settings to perfect your media experience and how you can adjust all parameters to your setup.

Add new libraries

Media collections have one thing in common: They are constantly growing and becoming increasingly confusing. You can remedy this with a detailed structure of your libraries. If you want to add more libraries afterwards, click on the settings icon in the menu bar.

Select the menu item "Media Libraries" on the left and the "Add Media Library" button. In addition to audio and video, you can also create a photo gallery here or click on “Other videos” to create an unsorted library. The latter makes sense, for example, if you want to add videos that you have shot yourself. In the options you can make a lot of other settings, such as changing the default language. Click on "Languages" and select your preferred language there so that you don't have to change it again in every film.

Use transcoders correctly

Another important point is the transcoder. Here you can specify the quality in which video files are converted for streaming if transcoding is active. Depending on the model, you can choose between quality and speed. It is best to try out the four possible settings yourself. If your video is jerky or displayed incorrectly, select "Prefer higher encoding speed". As a rule, however, this only applies to transmissions to end devices outside of your LAN or devices that cannot reproduce the image or sound format of your media. Transmission within your LAN is usually in full quality and no power is required for transcoding.

However, it could still be the case that you have to throttle the bit rate on some devices so that, for example, your 8K content does not end up unconverted on your smartphone. Here it is important to open the settings in the respective Plex app directly on the device and select a lower value in the "Video quality" field under "Quality". Optionally, you can also check the box next to "Adjust quality automatically (beta)". Despite the beta stage, this feature usually works flawlessly and delivers the bit rate that your device can process or your line can transmit. Thumbs up is enough for mobile playback devices 5-10 Mbit / s.

If you frequently stream media files without having a powerful DiskStation, there is still a practical solution to this problem. You can create so-called optimized versions of video files, for example, when your NAS is not needed, for example at night. Simply select a film or a series, open the menu and click on "Optimize".

Various presets for certain devices are available here. A click on the Optimize button starts the conversion of the film into a less bandwidth-hungry format. You can also convert entire seasons of a series or even your entire film collection in this way. Note, however, that the optimized versions also require storage space. You can monitor the progress in the settings area under "Conversions" or "Optimized versions". If the conversion fails, make sure that the Plex user has write access to the respective media folder.

Stream from anywhere

Plex not only gives you the ability to stream in your own four walls, but also when you're on the go. All you need is an Android or iOS compatible smartphone. Download the Plex app from the manufacturer "Plex, Inc." from the store and open it. After you have entered your access data, your media library will also open on your smartphone. However, the setup does not always work so smoothly and so it can happen that you can play your media perfectly in the LAN, but suddenly stare at an error message on the way.

It is necessary that you can access Plex from outside your network. You can check this via the settings menu under "Remote access". Here you will immediately notice that your server is "Not available outside of your network". This is because port forwarding to the Plex server has not yet been entered in your firewall. External access therefore ends up on your router first. So you have to set up port forwarding for port 32400 to your Plex server beforehand. If this is active, two green arrows should appear in your settings window, including the message "Completely available outside of your network".

If the port is already being used elsewhere, you also have the option of specifying one yourself. If you would like to generally deactivate streaming over the Internet, you can also do this using the "Deactivate remote access" button.

Share libraries with other users

Would you like to share your media libraries with other family members and friends? Plex offers you an easy way to create new users and set access rights. And as the icing on the cake, an invitation email is sent automatically, informing the new user about the possibilities of Plex.

Navigate to the "Users and Share" menu by opening your personal menu at the top right of the Plex interface. In this area you will find a list of all users who currently exist. A distinction is made between Plex Home users and friends.

The former are only intended to be able to consume media with multiple profiles on a single device - such as with Netflix. The actual sharing function is hidden behind "Friends". When you click the "Release media libraries" button, a window opens in which you simply enter the email address of the person to be invited. Confirm with "Continue" and in the next step select the libraries that you want to share. A final click on the send button sends the recipient a corresponding invitation for your server.

The account is activated via the link and the invited user has access to the selected libraries. For optimal accessibility, it makes sense at this point to activate the Synology DDNS service instead of the (changing) IP address. This means that your Plex can be accessed via, for example. You can find out how to do this in our article on the topic of external access via your own domain.