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Turn a Mac mini into a media server with Plex

Kirk McElhearn | Jan. 4, 2016
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.

Getting Started with Plex

Once you’ve got your Mac mini set up, you need to download and install Plex, and read their Quick Start guide to get things up and running. On your Apple TV—and any iOS devices you want to use—you also need to install the Plex app to be able to interact with the server. Read this article to learn how to name your files, so Plex can find metadata efficiently, and then copy your movies and TV series to the Mac mini, or to its external hard drive. Then create one or more libraries in Plex’s settings, which you access in your web browser.

plex new library
You access Plex’s settings in a web browser. Here I’m creating a new library.

Your Mac mini with Plex can not only serve videos to your home entertainment system—or to other devices in your house—but if you buy a Plex Pass ($5 a month, $40 a year, or $150 for a lifetime subscription) you can access your videos anywhere in the world, as long as you have an Internet connection. So this little server you can set up easily can be your video library anywhere. (It can also manage music, of course; I don’t discuss that here.)

While it may sound daunting to set up a media server, with a simple Mac mini, Plex, and a couple of hard drives, you can do so quickly and easily. The Mac mini is a low-power, quiet device, which you could put just about anywhere in your home, as long as it has access to your Wi-Fi network. Just get the Plex app for your Apple TV—or iPad, PlayStation, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, or many smart TVs—and you’ll be able to easily watch all your videos (that don’t have DRM).

 

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