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Turn your Linux into a multimedia center with Plex

  • Possibility of watching 130 live TV channels. In addition, we can record the favorite series or movies of these channels.
  • View thousands of streaming movies from Warner, MGM, Lionsgate and other production companies.
  • Hardware encoding for optimal performance.
  • Additional functions for listening to music (karaoke mode, sound enhancements, etc.).
  • Plex Arcade: retro games on any device through the browser.

In short: Plex is the program that allows us to create our own Netflix. And best of all, completely free of charge. And, if we want additional functions and features, we can unlock them by buying the “premium pass” for 5 euros per month, or 120 euros in its lifetime mode.

How to install the media center

Despite being a proprietary program, Plex is available for a large number of different operating systems, both for desktop (such as typical Windows, macOS and Linux) as well as for micro-computers and NAS servers. In addition, there are several ways to install and start this server so that we can choose the one that best suits our needs or the way we work with the PC.

Install it from the package

On the Plex download website we will find all the installers available to launch this server on any operating system. Simply enter that link, and select that we want to download the Linux version on our PC.

We can see the current version of the server, and the date this latest version was released. We will also see a button from which we can choose the distribution we are using to download the appropriate installer. We can find installers for Ubuntu / Debian, both 32-bit and 64-bit and ARM, as well as installers for Fedora / CentOS / SUSE.

We will download the appropriate file for our distro, either a .deb in the case of Ubuntu / Debian, or a .rpm in the case of Fedora-based distros. We can open this file by double-clicking on it so that the package manager will be in charge of putting it into operation, or by opening the .deb using the command “sudo dpkg -i”, followed by the path where we have the program, in a terminal.

Use APT to install Plex on Ubuntu

Since Plex is proprietary software, it is not included by default in the main software repositories. Therefore, if we want to be able to install and update it from the terminal, as one more program, we will have to add the repositories for this software to our Linux. To do this, we will open a terminal to execute the following two commands:

Import the GPG key:

curl https://downloads.plex.tv/plex-keys/PlexSign.key | sudo apt-key add -

Add the repository:

echo deb https://downloads.plex.tv/repo/deb public main | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/plexmediaserver.list

Once the repository has been added to our Linux, the next step will be to update the software lists to be able to add it to our PC. To do this, we will simply execute the command «sudo apt update»With which we will surely be familiar. And, once the repositories are updated, then we will execute the following command to install the server on our PC:

sudo apt install plexmediaserver

Ready. When the download and installation process is finished, we will have Plex Media Server installed on our Linux. We can verify that it is running with the following command that allows us to know the state of the daemon:

sudo systemctl status plexmediaserver

Update the media center

When Plex launches a new version we will have two options. The first of them will be to download the .deb or .rpm package again and install it on top by hand, or the second (and the most recommended, by the way) will be to do it from the repositories (provided that we have used the second option to install the multimedia center).

To do this, the first thing we will do is update the software databases with “sudo apt update” and execute the following command:

sudo apt install --only-upgrade plexmediaserver

This command will take care of downloading and installing the new version of Plex (if there is one) and update the multimedia server. When the process is finished, Plex will already be installed on our PC.

It may happen that, during the update process, the official Plex repository is deactivated. In that case, the quickest thing is to add it again as we have seen in the previous step.

Configure the server

Once we have it ready, we are going to configure it. The first thing we should do is create the folders that we are going to use, where we are going to store all the multimedia files on our server. It is true that we can then add any folder that we have saved on the PC, but the best way to do it is this. To create these folders, we will execute the following command (changing «movies» by the name that we want to give to each folder (series, music, etc).

sudo mkdir -p /opt/plexmedia/pelis

Next, we will give Plex read and write permissions so that it can work seamlessly with these folders with the command:

sudo chown -R plex: /opt/plexmedia

And we already have everything you need to enter Plex. We simply have to open a browser, write the IP of the server where we have the server installed (for example, 127.0.0.1 in case of being the same computer) together with port 32400. The URL of the browser will be as follows:

http://127.0.0.1:32400/web

Login Plex Media Server

Now we log in with Google, Apple or with our mail and follow the wizard to start up Plex Media Server, create the libraries and leave it ready to become our own private and free Netflix.

Install Plex Media Player

We already have the server installed on our Linux, but now how do we see the videos that we have added to the server? Plex offers us a web interface that allows us to explore our entire library from the browser and access the content, but it is not the optimal way to do it.

Plex Media Player

Thanks to Plex Media Player we will be able to have a “client” with which we can connect to our local Plex server and reproduce all the content that we have stored on it. There are several ways to install this program, but none of them include doing it from the official repositories. Therefore, the way we are going to recommend you is to do it through Flatpak, since this is available for all distros.

The first thing we must do is install Flatpak (if we do not have it) on our Linux with the following command:

Ubuntu:

sudo apt install flatpak

Debian:

sudo apt-get install flatpak

Arch Linux:

sudo pacman -S flatpak

Fedora:

sudo dnf install flatpak

OpenSUSE:

sudo zypper install flatpak

Once we have Flatpak ready, we will configure the repository by executing this command:

sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists plexmediaplayer https://flatpak.knapsu.eu/plex-media-player.flatpakrepo

And finally, we install it with the following:

sudo flatpak install tv.plex.PlexMediaPlayer

We already have everything you need to enjoy Plex. The server will be the one in charge of centralizing all our content, while Plex Media Player will be the player.

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