RasPlex client for the Plex Media Server


A variety of media center distributions are available for the Raspberry Pi, and they all work well with the limited resources of the nanocomputer. Most media centers are based on Kodi, and the Plex Home Theatre, which comes as RasPlex, is no exception. In fact, it is even based on OpenELEC, a widely used Kodi distribution [14]. The success of Plex rests on the client-server principle. The server assumes all of the heavy lifting and can be installed on network-attached storage that you already have, a redundant PC, a notebook, or a remote server. If necessary, the server can even code the media as it streams so that it is playable on almost any device.

The RasPlex client functions as the control center but does not overburden the Rasp Pi with a database and multiple input/output operations. The Plex Home Theatre, which for the Rasp Pi is RasPlex, is also visually pleasant and easy to operate.

Additionally, the trimmed-down options make it easy for the beginner to use without giving up important functionality. However, you will need to invest in a mandatory Plex Pass for access to certain apps, services, and extensions. The pass costs about $5 a month. Alternatively, you can pay $149 for lifelong use [15].

Having an attractive media center with a variety of options does not necessarily require the purchase of a pass. Usually, the Plex server and the RasPlex Home Theatre work sufficiently well. However, unlike other open source media centers, such as Kodi, you will need to do without some flexibility and the option of tailoring the system to your wishes. The add-on community cannot enhance Plex because the source code for the server has not been made public.

Bugs are also still a problem with the Plex Home Theatre app. For instance, it is not possible to create screenshots with RasPlex because the dialog for selecting the screenshot folder has no Save button. Plex has also done away with some useful functions that are basic in Kodi. For example, Plex can easily accept commands sent with xbmc-send, but nothing happens on the interface.

If you store your media collection on NAS and do not need the numerous options in Kodi and Kodi distributions like OpenELEC, then Plex/RasPlex is a good alternative that is also pleasing. The lightweight interface and the one-way operation concept are helpful to a beginner in the world of media centers. Additionally, the Plex media center can be used with many apps on smartphones, tablets, and play consoles. However, you will have to pay for this. If you only want to have a media center for the home TV, then you won't profit much from the network capabilities of a Plex installation. Instead, you should probably look at the open source OpenELEC or OSMC.

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