Plex Now Has Hundreds of Free Channels – Here’s how to navigate them (sponsored post)

Plex, well-known for its media server capabilities, has now ventured into providing over 600 free advertiser supported television (FAST) channels in the U.S., with a total of 1,100 channels globally. These free channels are accessible on various platforms, including mobile and and TV devices, without the need for a dedicated Plex server.

In my latest video we take a look at how to navigate all of these choices.

Plex’s interface is structured to help viewers quickly narrow down their choices. The channel guide offers an initial glimpse of all available channels, and further efficiencies are found through category filters like “Hit TV” or genres such as crime and sports. There is also a “featured” section where Plex showcases some of the heavy hitters on the platform like the NFL’s free channel which was recently added.

Plex’s universal search feature will also surface content that is playing live in addition to on-demand offerings.

Moreover, Plex integrates local over-the-air TV channels if a user has a Plex Pass and a network TV tuner, allowing for a blend of local and streaming content. This feature enriches the user’s viewing options, providing a seamless integration of local and global content on a single platform.

Viewers can personalize their viewing experience by adding channels to their “favorites,” making them easily accessible upon each return to the service. These preferences sync across all devices connected to the viewer’s Plex account, ensuring a consistent setup regardless of the device used.

New channels are being added all the time. Plex has a helpful search tool set up on their website that can give you a breakdown about what’s available in your particular market.

Disclosure: this post and video was sponsored by Plex, however they did not review or approve this content before it was uploaded.

Running Plex in a Docker Container on Synology is Super Easy

Over the last couple of months I’ve been playing around with a bunch of self-hosted projects using Docker containers on my Synology NAS. In my most recent sponsored video for Plex, we take a look at spinning up a Plex server inside a container using Synology’s new Container Manager on DSM 7.2.

One might wonder, why use Docker when you can simply install Plex from the Synology package center? The answer lies in the flexibility and advantages Docker offers. Docker containers provide backup and migration opportunities that are more straightforward than other methods. They also offer a level of isolation, enhancing security. In the case of Synology specifically, the Docker versions tend to get updated more frequently, ensuring you always have the latest features.

Before diving in, ensure your Synology NAS is compatible with Docker. Synology’s website has a list of compatible devices that work with their Container Manager. If you are a Plex Pass holder and want to enable hardware transcoding you’ll also need to ensure your Synology NAS is running with an Intel processor that’s compatible with QuickSync video encoding. You can learn more about video transcoding in another video I made on that topic.

My video will take you step by step through the installation process by using a Docker Compose file to configure the container. If you’d like to see the one I’m using you can download it here.

Setting up Plex on Synology NAS using Docker was one of the more straightforward Docker projects I’ve undertaken. The process is efficient, and the benefits, especially in terms of backup and migration, make it worth considering for your next install.

Latest Synology Tutorial – Remote Hyper Backups with No Cloud!

I’ve been exploring the capabilities of Synology’s NAS devices as I continue to implement a number of self-hosted Docker projects. My latest project involved setting up a remote backup using a second Synology NAS and their free “Hyper Backup” software. I detail the setup process in my latest Synology tutorial.

What I like about this dual Synology set-up is that this is that you essentially have limitless cloud storage without any cost beyond the initial hardware. If you have two locations with decent enough bandwidth you can make things work just as well as a subscription service.

Using Synology’s Hyper Backup on the source NAS, I did the initial data transfer of 3+ TB to the destination NAS on my local network. Once the initial backup was complete, I relocated the destination NAS to my mother’s house about 10 miles away. Because I connected the destination NAS to my Tailscale network I just had to type in the remote NAS’s Tailscale IP address to reconnect to the backup job. Subsequent backups are a lot faster as I just have to transfer new and saved files.

Tailscale really makes this entire process a lot easier as I don’t have to open up ports on my Mom’s router and/or configure a VPN server. It just works!

Disclosure: The Synology NAS devices featured in this video were provided to the channel free of charge by Synology. Synology is an occaisional sponsor on the channel but they did sponsor this video nor review or approve it before it was uploaded.

New Plex Feature: Discover Together

Our monthly sponsored Plex video for June focuses in on a new social sharing feature called Discover Together. This feature, currently in beta, allows users to share their watchlist and viewing history with friends.

The Discover Together feature is currently available to Plex Pass subscribers, but once activated, it extends to all friends connected to your Plex account – even those on the free tier. Upon activation, users are greeted with a landing page explaining the new feature and providing privacy options. By default, all information is set to private, and users can choose to share their watch history, watchlist and ratings with friends.

Your personal profile keeps track of how many movies, shows, and episodes you’ve watched since joining Plex. It also displays your recent watch history, watch list, and ratings. This information is then shared with friends.

The Friends tab displays all your Plex friends, and you can click on each friend to view their profile. The Activity feed shows what everyone is watching in real time, and shows what media is trending among your friends.

One of the fun aspects of Discover Together is the ability to send messages to friends about specific episodes or movies. For instance, if you’re watching an episode of Star Trek Picard and notice a friend has watched it too, you can send them a message to discuss the episode. This is especially helpful if a television show has a huge spoiler and you want to talk about it – you’ll know which of your friends has seen it!

The feature works on TVs, phones, and the web interface and offers a similar interface on each platform.

For those interested in automations, Plex now offers the ability to set up RSS feeds for your watch list and your friends’ watch lists. This can be found in the account settings under the watch list section.

Plex’s Discover Together feature provides an efficient way to share and discover content with friends. It’s a robust tool that extends beyond your Plex server, indexing content from various streaming services. It’s a feature I look forward to exploring more in the coming weeks.

Plex Adds End Credit Detection to the Plex Media Server

My monthly sponsored Plex video this month does a deep dive into the new Plex end credit detection feature. You can watch it here.

On TV devices the end credits will zoom out into a small box and Plex will present some additional content options to watch next. Clicking the remote will return the end credits to full screen if you want to watch them in full.

End credit detection will also know when content appears after the credits finish rolling. In that instance you’ll have the option to click “skip credits” and be brought directly to the post credit scene.

Credit detection is CPU intensive so you may want to have this take place during your server’s maintenance window. Plex has set up a cloud database to speed the process along, so if your file is in the database your server will download the credits location from Plex vs. having to run a full analysis. Your Plex server will also trigger a “watched” flag that fires off right when the end credits begin.

See more, including configuration options, in the video! Thanks to Plex for their long standing support of the channel!

Mevo Go Tutorial

Our sponsored tutorial series on the Mevo production system continues with a look at a new feature that requires no Mevo camera at all! This is through their new “Mevo Pro” subscription tier that allows for using smartphones as cameras. You can see how it works in my latest video.

The Mevo Go app is available on Android and iOS effectively turning any smartphone or tablet into a production camera. These apps connect up to the Mevo Multicam app that handles camera switching, graphics, and live streaming. I covered how that app works in my prior videos in this series.

In addition to using the phone’s camera, Mevo Go also allows for screen casting from the mobile device. In the video I demonstrated combining the screencasting feature with multicam’s picture-in-picture capabilities to demonstrate a phone screen alongside live video coming from a Mevo or Mevo Go camera.

Multicam is available for iOS and Android devices. I’ve been running it on a 2018 iPad Pro 11 (the first gen version) and it’s been able to handle everything I’ve thrown at it. It’s pretty impressive how an older iPad like this can handle live video production!

While there is a subscription cost associated with the Mevo Pro tier, the annual $149 cost is far less than purchasing multiple Mevo cameras. They have a free two week full feature trial available for ensuring all of your existing equipment will work with the platform before having to pay.

I want to thank Logitech (the owners of Mevo) for their support of the channel!