RasPlex client for the Plex Media Server


To use RasPlex as the control center, you will not necessarily need an additional control device like a keyboard or a mouse. Current TV models use the CEC standard to transmit signals from the remote control to devices that are connected to the TV via HDMI. This works with RasPlex as well as OpenELEC. However, it is easiest at first to use the keyboard as the control, so you can enter network paths and passwords easily. You can also equip the Plex Rasp Pi with Bluetooth and WiFi adapters.

Now put the SD card that has been prepared with RasPlex into the Rasp Pi and connect the device with an HDMI cable to a TV or PC monitor. When started for the first time, RasPlex adapts the size of the data partition to the size of the SD card and loads the graphical interface after an automatic restart. With the help of the setup assistant, you should select the country setting. The language for the interface cannot be changed from English until a change is made under Preferences | International.

You should not enter your Plex Account PIN directly into the RasPlex interface. Instead you should use a PC to go to the Plex sign-in web page [13] and enter the four-digit number that the Plex Home Theatre displays on the Rasp Pi. An important consideration for using Plex on the Rasp Pi is that you activate the local temporary storage for metadata via Start precaching at the end of the setup routine. Temporary storage makes the process of searching through the media collection go very quickly.

To make the data available for RasPlex, you have to restart after reading in the metadata by selecting Update and restart from the sidebar, which will also automatically install all pending updates. Now the setup for the Plex Rasp Pi is finished. Because the media center always gets data from the centrally administered Plex server, nothing further needs to be done with the clients. All of the media that is indexed on the server will automatically appear in the Plex clients whether the client is a Rasp Pi or some other type of device.

Operating the Plex Rasp Pi is not much different at this point from an unmodified Kodi. The up and down arrows on the sidebar let you select the type of media you want (e.g., films and music), or you can perform a Search (Figure 6). You can then search the overview of a particular category via the entry or OK buttons on the remote control (Figure 7).

Figure 6: RasPlex is built on proven technology. The system is based on OpenELEC, and the Plex Home Theatre originated with XBMC, the predecessor to Kodi.
Figure 7: Plex appears more mature than Kodi in many of its details. However, a modern theme would make Kodi's appearance more similar to that of Plex.

As soon as you find the media you would like to have, you can open a detailed view from which you can play the media file. Just like Kodi, the RasPlex Player (Figure 8) offers the possibility of including subtitles and settings for video and audio.

Figure 8: The RasPlex player offers options that are similar to those found in Kodi, such as a mechanism for adding subtitles and adjusting video and audio settings.


Precaching and settings that allow optimization can speed up searches in the media collection or playback of high-resolution videos. However, if these operations still proceed too slowly for you, you might consider overclocking the Rasp Pi. Overclocking is almost mandatory for first-generation Rasp Pis; otherwise, they do not have enough computing performance for fluid playback. Overclocking can also pay off on the Rasp Pi 2 (RPi2) when you are navigating through the media collection and constructing menus.

It is easy to overclock a first-generation Rasp Pi. You should take the SD card out of the Pi and insert it into the card reader of a PC. In your file manager, you should see the config.txt file in the system partition, which you can open in an editor of your choice. Somewhere in the middle of the file, you should see Overclock mode settings. The Raspberry Pi Foundation provides official tips for the parameters listed here. These include arm_freq, core_freq, sdram_freq, and over_voltage (Listing 4). The information provided for High should be more than enough, to increase the working speed of the RPi1 to the proper level.

Listing 4

Overclock Settings for RPi1

# Overclock mode settings.
# default recommended values are: arm_freq | core_freq | sdram_freq | over_voltage
# no overclocking               :    700   |    250    |    400     |      0
# mode 'Modest'                 :    800   |    300    |    400     |      0
# mode 'Medium'                 :    900   |    333    |    450     |      2
# mode 'High'                   :    950   |    450    |    450     |      6
# mode 'Turbo'                  :   1000   |    500    |    500     |      6

The four cores of the second-generation Rasp Pi come with a 900MHz clock rate. Official recommendations for overclocking the RPi2 have not yet been provided by the Foundation; however, the Cortex A7 CPU works reliably at a 1GHz rate (Listing 5).

Listing 5

Overclock Settings for RPi2


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