Streaming Video on Kodi is not the only option for enjoying Movies and TV Shows on the Internet. Plex Media Server has been around for a long time. It is a slick and stable platform for managing and accessing your content. Many Network Attached Storage devices or NAS devices offer Plex Media Server out of the box. If your movie library is primarily digital, then Plex is the way to go. Plex offers client software for almost every platform, too. So, you can enjoy your digital video library from anywhere in the world that has an Internet connection.
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Since Plex Media Server makes it so simple to access YOUR media library, it also makes it very easy for you to SHARE your library with others as well as access other libraries SHARED by other users. There are whole sections of the Internet that are dedicated to people sharing their collections with the world. Some of the bigger shared collections even charge a fee for access. But you can find many people out there that are avid fans of sharing and are happy to let you in on their collection for FREE.
The main thing you have to do is to install Plex Media Server on your device. Whether you have a Fire TV, Fire Stick, Roku Streaming Media Player, Android Device, or a computer with Windows or Linux, there is a Plex Media Server build for your environment. You can download the installation file for Plex Media Server directly from Plex on their website.
Once you have downloaded and installed Plex Media Server, you can configure it to organize, play and stream all your local digital content. But, for the purposes of this tutorial, we are going to show you how to connect to other shared streaming libraries and enjoy their content. There are several places to find users that are sharing their libraries. Here are a couple links to get you started.
Once you have found a shared library you want to access, setup is pretty straightforward.
Open Plex and log in.
If you don’t already have an account, you can create one here, or log in with Facebook or Google.
Once you are logged in, you will see a little tutorial screen. When you’ve got it, click GOT IT!
You will be asked if you want to join Plex Pass. To some this is worth it. It was personally worth it to me for the Mobile Sync functionality. I could sync movies and shows to my tablet to watch offline while on the plane, etc.
Plex then searches for a Plex Media Server on your network. It finds itself. And it wants you to give it a name. Call it whatever you want. Here, it’s called Home Media Server
Once you have named your server, it’s time to add some libraries. If you have folders with movies or TV shows, Plex Media Server will organize them all and put them in a nice library with images, etc. Click Add Library to start.
Choose what kind of library you are adding. Not only does it make a difference for the icon that is displayed, different library types are handled differently for optimal functionality.
In this example, I clicked Movies. It automatically names it Movies, but you can name it whatever you want. Also select the language of the content in the library.
Click NEXT, and it will prompt you to browse for the folder containing the media.
Browse your local drives, drives on other computers, Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices or whatever type of storage you can access. Plex Media Server is very flexible in that regard. Once you have located the folder, click ADD
You will be directed back to the ADD LIBRARY screen so you can add TV Shows, Music, or other Movie libraries. If , for example, you have your movies sorted into different libraries, you can add multiple movie libraries as well. Once you have added all the libraries you want, click NEXT
You can then add some Plex Apps if you want. There are all kinds of plugins for Plex Media Server.
I won’t cover that here, so, click DONE
You will be brought to the main screen of Plex Media Server.
To go any further, you need to have been sent an invite to a shared library. The Reddit thread seems to be the most popular place for people sharing libraries. There are some huge libraries there. Here is the link again: https://www.reddit.com/r/SharePLEX/
Once you have someone that is willing to share with you, it’s as easy as accepting their invitation. They will enter your username or email address and the system will send you an email. Click the link inside the email, and you will be connected to their library. In turn, you can also share your library using the same method.
Now that you know how to Stream Shared Content using Plex Media Server, be sure to secure your connection with a VPN to keep your ISP from slowing you down, spying on you or blocking you. For more information, be sure to check out our article What is a VPN? Why do I need it?