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Over the years, I have accumulated a lot of stuff to watch, listen to or otherwise enjoy in my leisure time. But as I gathered more and more media, it became harder to know what I had or where to find it. It was also a problem, when I was ready to watch a movie, that I had to:
1. move the cat from my lap
2. go find the disk
3. insert it into the player
4. find the correct remote for the player
5. configure the TV
It seemed seemed like there should be an easier way. I found that Plex may be the solution.
Plex is a media server program that you can download from https://www.plex.tv/. It allows you to present any files that you have saved in a file system to be presented to almost any device that own. Most of the functionality of Plex is free. Apps for your smart tv or bluRay player are free. Apps for your laptop or desktop computers are free. You may have to pay a small amount for apps for your portable devices.
Plex gives you a reasonably orderly presentation of the files that you have saved. I have included some images of what you might see when accessing your library.
So far I have got most of my content online and everything seems to work well with the exception of my smart tv. I suspect that it has something to do with the fact that my tv assigns itself the network name of "localhost". This is a really bad idea, and there doesn't seem to be a way to change it in the tv settings. Anyway, the BluRay Player that is attached to the TV has a plex app and it works perfectly.
It should be noted that a lot of work goes into converting media to files and placing them into the online filesystem of your home network. I choose to put mine into a NAS mirrored drive (because losing all of that data to a disk failure is not acceptable). It is also backed up on a USB drive attached to the router.
Now, I not only know what I have available, but I can immediately play the media. With a mobile app, I can play any of my movies or music anywhere that there is an internet connection. Not bad for free software.