With the arrival of the fourth-generation Apple TV, I found myself trying out the Plex media server, and I realized that using Plex is one of the best ways to watch media on the Apple TV.
You can install the Plex server software on a variety of devices: your Mac, a PC, a NAS (network attached storage device), and more. (Heck, you could even set it up on a Raspberry Pi.)
- Turn a Mac mini into a media server with Plex If you have a large media collection, you may want to use a Mac as a dedicated device to run Plex. And the Mac mini is a perfect device for Plex.
- While the Mac Mini does have wifi built-in, FrontRow’s network streaming over wireless leaves a lot to be desired. I have my Mini (as well as my server) plugged into a gigabit Ethernet switch. Gigabit is a bit more expensive, but the speed benefits are manifest when you’re streaming a high bit-rate file.
- Plex is one of many Mac media server and/or DVR solutions. Rivals include: The Kodi media server (which can work with Plex, too) Geniatech's EyeTV 3 DVR. SiliconDust's HDHomeRun DVR. Channels, which streams and records live TV. Emby, a media server with live TV and DVR support.
To connect to this server from another Mac, simply open a ‘Finder’ window, and most of the time your server will appear automatically in the ‘Finder’ sidebar. At this point you can connect to the server by clicking it, and then you’re ready to start accessing, editing and transferring files between your server and your client.
It’s advantageous that Plex’s server be always on, so you can start watching your movies and TV shows without having to boot your Mac. If you have a large media collection, you may want to use a Mac as a dedicated device to run Plex. The Mac mini is a perfect candidate for this. Plex doesn’t need a lot of horsepower to manage and stream your media, unless it transcodes video. (If you do have a lot of videos that need transcoding, a NAS might not be a good fit for Plex.)
In this article, I’m going to tell you how you can set up a Mac mini as a dedicated Plex server. You can, of course, use that Mac mini for other things, such as using it as a file server, or for Time Machine backups.
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