How to Stream with Plex Media Server

Plex is a phenomenal service and piece of software. It gives you both a powerful media center and a media player for a massive variety of devices, everything from smartphones to PCs, even Plex on Chromecast! No matter what kind of movies or TV shows you’re trying to stream, Plex can handle it. Just sign up, install, and let movie night begin.

Stream with Plex Media Server 1

Getting Plex set up streaming is usually a two part process. You’ll need Plex Media Server on your main device where all the movie files are located, usually a PC. Next you’ll need to set up the Plex Media Player on the device you want to stream to. All the technical details are taken care of automatically, you just need to create point A and point B, then enjoy.

Important Note – Use a VPN with Plex

Before you jump in and start creating your own home Plex server, it’s a very good idea to set up a secure VPN to help keep your data safe. VPNs create a private, encrypted tunnel between your devices and the internet. This lets you keep your identity protected even when governments try to track your activity or ISPs throttle your connection. With a VPN and Plex on the job, you can stream more content with improved invisibility, every time.

We’ve gathered some of the best VPN services below, each one delivering fast speeds and incredible privacy. Any one of these VPNs are perfect for web surfing or streaming movies on Plex no matter which devices you own.

1. ExpressVPN – Best for Speed

Stream with Plex Media Server 1

ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for users who need incredible speeds. The service comes with all the right features to make your Plex experience private and secure, including 256-bit AES encryption on all data, a thorough zero-logging policy, and both DNS leak protection and an automatic kill.

2. CyberGhost – Strong Privacy Features

Stream with Plex Media Server 3 -CyberGhost

CyberGhost has some fantastic features Plex users will love. The company boasts over 1,290 servers in its network, allowing for fast connections no matter your location. 256-bit AES encryption and a zero-logging policy on traffic, time stamps, and IP addresses keeps your data safe at all times, while both DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch provide an added layer of support.

Streaming with Plex Media Server – How to Set Up

When it’s time for a good movie (or an epic TV series binge session), Plex is a fantastic way to cut through the fluff and get right to streaming. Follow the guide below to set up your Media Server so you can watch every video in your collection without lifting a finger.

Step 1: Create an Account

Stream with Plex Media Server 4 -Creating account

Before you can effectively use Plex Media Center, you’ll need to sign up. Plex offers Facebook or Google credential logins, but it’s a better idea to create your own Plex account. It’s free to begin, and you can also sign up for Plex Pass to gain a ton of premium features, including offline sync with mobile devices, live TV, DVR features, and photo tagging capabilities.

To create an account, simply go to the Plex website and click Sign Up at the top of the screen. Select the Continue with Email button, then add a valid address along with a secure password. Confirm the information and Plex will send you an e-mail to verify your account.

Step 2: Installing the Plex Media Server

Stream with Plex Media Server 5 -Installing Plex

Now you’re ready to get the Plex Media Server up and running. This software will manage, transcode, and transfer movies across your network, all quietly and in the background. It’s best if you install it on your main PC, not a laptop or other low-powered device, as the hardware will be doing some heavy lifting as soon as you start streaming. Weak equipment could mean you can’t watch HD or 4K movies via Plex, and nobody wants to miss out on that!

Begin by visiting the Plex website. Go to the downloads page and click the button marked download. You’ll then see the actual download section. Click the dropdown menu near the top and choose your operating system from the list. Next, click the yellow button beneath the dropdown menu. For Windows and Mac it should say Download. Linux users will need to choose their distribution first, then the download will begin.

Once the file is on your system all you need to do is run it to install the Plex Media Center.

Step 3: Add Your Media

Stream with Plex Media Server 6 -Plex library

With the Media Center primed and ready, let’s add some content to our library. It’s best to have your movies and TV shows stored in one location to assist in indexing, otherwise Plex will spend extra time finding content across your storage device.

Plex supports a good variety of file types. The most common are usually mp4, as they offer a fair trade-off between file size and quality. Even if you have a bunch of movies in different formats, know that Plex can transcode them on the fly. You’ll need to have a sturdy PC to handle this CPU-intensive task, of course, but it does make things extremely convenient.

Create a dedicated drive partition or folder on your device just for Plex content. Inside, make folders for Movies, TV Shows, and both Music and Pictures if you plan on streaming those as well. Locate all the video files you want to copy to your Plex library, then move them into the appropriate slots. It’s best to keep movies and TV shows separate, but it isn’t necessary.

Now run the Media Server and log into your Plex account. If you’re running it for the first time, you’ll be taken through a basic setup wizard that will guide you through the next few steps. The software will then automatically discover media as it scans for new content. After a few moments (longer if you have a huge library), you’ll see a screen with your media displayed in a grid.

If your library doesn’t show up, click the plus sign next to Libraries in the left side menu. Select the type of media you’re adding (movies, TV shows, music, etc.), followed by the folders they’re located in. Plex will then index everything manually.

Step 4: Activate the Plex Media Server

With media in place and the Plex server active, you’re now ready to get things running. Clicking on the Plex Media Server icon will launch a browser-based interface on your PC. If you followed the step above you should have completed a basic setup wizard, which will guide you through everything you need to start streaming content. If you haven’t, Plex will activate the wizard now.

Complete the steps as shown by the setup wizard to add content and create your active Media Server. When it’s finished, you’ll have a media server running on your device, ready to stream. Any time you want to watch content, make sure this is running in the background on your PC.

Step 5: Install the Plex Media Player

Stream with Plex Media Server 7 -Plex player on Android

Now it’s time to start streaming some movies. Your server is loaded up and active, but now you need something to play movies on. This is best done a separate device. Plex supports a good variety of hardware, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding alternate ways to watch your content.

On the device you want to stream to, visit the Plex download page. Click Get an App at the bottom. Choose your operating system from the dropdown menu. If Plex is available from your device’s built-in marketplace, you’ll be given a link to grab it from there instead of downloading a separate file. You can also manually search the market for “Plex” and install it that way, if you like.

Once it’s installed, run the Plex app and log in using your account details. The Plex player app will connect to your local server and show the photos, music, and videos that are ready to stream. Tap anything you’re interested in, then settle back for movie time.

Free vs Paid Plex

Stream with Plex Media Server 8 -Plex paid or free

Plex works by connecting local media to your local devices, keeping most third party eyes out of your home network. The service is mostly free to use, but there are some portions that are blocked by a paywall.

Media Server

The Plex Media Server is always free, on every device, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. You won’t be asked to upgrade or unlock anything, just install the software, create a library, and you’re set.

Plex Pass

Plex Pass is the paid subscription service that lets you unlock a variety of extras not available in the default version of Plex. All of the core streaming and media server features are free to use, of course, but if you want bonuses, Plex Pass is the way to go. Below is a quick look at some of the more interesting additions available with a paid subscription.

  • Activate all mobile apps at no additional charge (Android, iOS, Windows, Windows Phone).
  • Watch live TV and, if you have a tuner and digital antenna, record over-the-air broadcasts available in your area.
  • Stream trailers and extras (interviews, behind the scenes, etc.) delivered by Plex for all content in your movie library.
  • Add lyrics to your music library so you can sing along whenever you’re in the mood.
  • Get geographic and scene-based tags added to your photos automatically.
  • Use mobile syncing for offline video streaming.
  • Set up Plex Home for your family to allow easy switching between accounts. You can also restrict which content is shared across the server.
  • Get early preview access to new apps and features.

You can subscribe to Plex Pass at any time by logging into your Plex account and visiting the Plex Pass upgrade page. Plans are just a few dollars for monthly access.

Plex Mobile App

The first time you run a Plex mobile app on iOS, Android,, or Windows Phone you’ll be asked to unlock the software. This is a small one-time purchase that remove the limitations from your device. A locked mobile app restricts your video playback to 60 seconds at a time. Photos are also watermarked with the Plex logo. You can continue in trial mode if you just want to try things out, but if you use Plex long term, you’ll definitely want to upgrade.

Other Apps

Plex has a wide variety of apps you can use outside of standard Android and iOS environments. All of their non-mobile apps are public and free, and they include Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Smart TVs, TiVo, and both PlayStation and Xbox game consoles. You can install these apps from their respective marketplaces and stream from your Plex Media Server without limitation.

Plex Channels

Plex mainly exists as a content delivery medium. A natural extension of this is the Plex Channels plug-in ecosystem. You can quickly install official and unofficial add-ons that give you access to live and on-demand content that isn’t natively stored on your home devices. Think of it like adding digital TV channels to Plex.

Most Plex Channels are free to install and use. A few do include subscription plans that are completely separate from the Plex service itself. You can always install an add-on without paying up-front, and if you don’t like the service simply remove it from Plex.

Conclusion

Plex is a strong contender for the world’s greatest media center service. You get access to all of your videos in one convenient interface, you don’t have to sign up for any wild subscriptions or pay-per-view plans. All you need is a few minutes to set up the media server, an app to stream to, and a free afternoon to watch a quick show or two.

Read How to Stream with Plex Media Server by John Bardinelli on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Our 10 Favorite Games on Firestick and Fire TV

Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire Stick devices were made to stream movies, TV shows, and everything in-between. Because the system runs an Android-based operating system it’s capable of running a good variety of casual and mobile games. Amazon realized this right away and included built-in support for a decent selection of titles, including some big names you might recognize! Check out our favorite games for Fire TV below, all of which are perfect for extended hours of couch and TV fun time.

Favorite Games on Fire TV 1

 Reminder

Installing a reliable VPN on your Fire TV or Fire Stick is a great way to protect your online privacy. With all the net neutrality concerns and anti-privacy bills passing through the government, our basic internet freedoms are getting smaller by the day. VPNs help retain some of that by encrypting your data before it leaves the device, making it impossible for anyone to see what you’re downloading, what you’re streaming, and where you’re located.

Staying safe on Fire TV is more important than you might think. Mass surveillance efforts include collecting data from streaming devices, and ISPs can still store and even sell information sent from Fire TV streams. By installing any of the VPNs below, you can lock down your information and stay safe, no matter what.

1. IPVanish – Private and Secure

Favorite Games on Fire TV 14 - IPVanish

IPVanish has the perfect selection of features to keep you safe and secure on Fire TV. The company runs a huge network of 950 servers in 60 different countries, providing fast, lag-free connections around the world. You’ll also get an automatic kill switch, 256-bit encryption, DNS leak security, and a zero-logging policy on all traffic. IPVanish is also available to download directly from the Amazon appstore, making it a fast and frustration-free install!

Slash 60% off the price of an annual plan with IPVanish for a price of just $4.87 per month! Backed by a 7-day money back guarantee.

2. ExpressVPN – Fastest VPN

Favorite Games on Fire TV 13 - ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs around, and it’s easy to use on Fire TV. The service comes with incredible 256-bit AES encryption on all data, an automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection, and a zero-logging policy on traffic, DNS requests, and IP addresses. You can even install and use ExpressVPN directly from the Amazon appstore!

Games on Fire TV – What You’ll Need

Fire TV supports a variety of games right out of the box. You can browse the appstore, download free titles, or purchase low-cost games without leaving your couch. Below you’ll find a few bits of information that are nice to have before beginning your Fire TV gaming binge.

Installing Games

Most Fire TV games are available directly from the Amazon appstore, which is built into every Fire TV and Fire Stick device. To install them, simply open your Fire TV, go to the apps menu, then browse the games category or search for the title by name. You can also click links in Amazon’s web-based appstore and send games to your device from a PC. We’ve provided browser links for all of the games below to make installation as easy and quick as possible.

Game Controllers

The Fire TV pairs wonderfully with a wide variety of bluetooth devices, everything from keyboards to third party remotes. You can also link up a gamepad to control your games, which is a far better solution than clicking tiny remote control buttons. Amazon released an official Fire TV Game Controller you can use to control your device and play games. Just about any bluetooth gamepad will work just as well, however.

Some games require a game controller to play, but others just need a physical Fire TV remote. Even if they support the remote, we always recommend using a gamepad whenever possible. It’s easier, more responsive, and just an all-around better way to experience games.

Fire TV vs Fire Stick

Both Fire TV and Fire Stick devices have roughly the same level of compatibility with games. The latter doesn’t have the storage space or processing power to deliver as high of a quality experience as the larger Fire TV, however, which means you could experience slowdown with some games. Storage restrictions also means you can only install a few games on Fire Stick, compared to the dozens on its larger sibling. While both devices are perfectly capable of running casual games, if you have a choice, go with Fire TV..

Our Favorite Games on Fire TV

Ready to fill your afternoon with games? All of the titles below are inexpensive, high quality, and tons of fun. Warning: once you start playing from the comfort of your own couch, you won’t want to get up!

Alto’s Adventure

Favorite Games on Fire TV 2 - Altos Adventure

Aah, skiing. Nothing’s more exciting than strapping on a pair of boots and heading out onto the fresh powder. Alto’s Adventure is a laugh-out-loud arcade game with fluid movement mechanics and awesome physics-based gameplay. Ski across snowy terrain as you attempt to pull off stunts and land without breaking your helmet in half. Tons of tricks to perform, and plenty of awesome chain combos and visual niceties to keep you engaged!

Alto’s Adventure is available for Fire TV and Fire Stick devices as a one-time purchase. It should be perfectly compatible with game controllers and Fire TV voice remotes, too, though the former is a lot more fun to use.

Final Fantasy IV

Favorite Games on Fire TV 3 - Final Fantasy

When it comes to serious RPG adventures, the Final Fantasy series always delivers. This long-running franchise stretched back into the late 1980s with about two dozen titles to enjoy, not including spin-offs and the occasional remake. Final Fantasy IV for Fire TV is one such remake. Developer Square-Enix overhauled what was originally a SNES game and gave it modern 3D graphics. Now you can enjoy the intense world of FFIV from your TV, and you don’t even need a gamepad to do it!

Quell

Favorite Games on Fire TV 4 - Quell

Are you a fan of puzzle games? Quell and some of its sequels are the perfect choices for a relaxing yet challenging puzzle experience on any device, including Fire Stick and Fire TV. The idea is simple: swipe the raindrop to roll it around the screen and collect the shining pearls. You’ll be met with all kinds of obstacles throughout the game, each one designed to make you change your tactics and really think about the puzzles at hand.

Quell is available as a single-purchase game, no ads or in-app purchases to contend with. The developer reports that it works with the Fire TV Voice Remote, but as always, we recommend using a bluetooth gamepad whenever possible.

The Bard’s Tale

Favorite Games on Fire TV 5 - Bards Tale

When you need a serious game to get into, The Bard’s Tale is the way to go. This relaunched sequel to the original series came out on a wide variety of platforms, including Fire TV. You’ll need a controller to play it and some users report it doesn’t always get along with early generation Fire Stick devices, but if it works, you can’t beat its raw entertainment value.

The Bard’s Tale is a massive 3D RPG that lets you explore a fully-realized open world to slay foes, cast spells, upgrade equipment, and complete a variety of quests. The game is reported to have over 30 hours of entertainment packed into a 1.7 GB download, which is perfect for anyone who’s sick of streaming movies and just wants to slay some goblins.

Doom & Destiny

Favorite Games on Fire TV 6 - Doom and Destiny

Japanese RPGs (JRPG) had something of a resurgence when mobile devices grew in popularity. These retro-styled games were easy to play with touch screens or TV remotes, but they offered dozens of hours of entertainment, all for a small price tag. Doom & Destiny is one of the few JRPGs available on Fire TV, and it delivers on all of those promises, and more!

Doom & Destiny features hundreds of skills, enemies, and pieces of equipment to discover, all wrapped in a tasteful pixel art graphical package. Four nerds are drawn into a fantasy world and mistaken for heroes. Now they have to battle their way out of this strange realm, all while tackling countless dungeons and their bosses, including a Flying Spaghetti Monster!

Doom & Destiny is a single-purchase game (no ads, no in-app purchases) that requires a bluetooth controller to play.

My Colony

Favorite Games on Fire TV 7 - My Colony

Managing a space colony is tough work, especially when you have to build it yourself from scratch. This simple but intensely addictive building sim places you on the desolate surface of Mars and challenges you to create a colony that can survive the harsh conditions. Manage everything from building types to workers, mining efforts, and energy production. It’s a casual game at heart, so you won’t have to break your brain to get through it, but it’s tons of fun to play on your TV.

My Colony is a one-off game that doesn’t feature any in-app purchases or advertisements. It runs well on all Fire TV and Fire Stick devices, but you’ll need a controller to play.

Quell Memento

Favorite Games on Fire TV 8 - Quell Memento

From the creators of Quell comes Quell Memento, a puzzle game that shares some of the same design sensibilities as its cousin, but goes in a different direction with gameplay. Quell Memento is also a “roll the raindrop” style of game, but here you’ll deal with a massive variety of different layouts and obstacles, most of which are far more difficult than in the original Quell. Ever tried sliding through lasers and thorn blocks on your quest for a pearl? Quell Memento will have you tensing up in a few areas, so be ready to do some thinking!

Quell Memento is a single-purchase game with no IAPs, ads, or add-on content. Just snag the main game and enjoy. It also works with your Fire TV remote if you don’t have a bluetooth gamepad handy.

Haunt the House: Terrortown

Favorite Games on Fire TV 9 - Haunt the House

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you were a ghost? Dashing around the place like a shadow, possessing objects and making them come to life. Haunt the House: Terrortown lets you live out these strange fantasies in a colorful and cartoonish kind of way. Move through a museum, haunted train, spooky mansion, and even the North Pole as you find innocent people and give them a good fright. Complete goals to move on to the next area, but don’t forget to fly around and soak in the scenery. Ghosts like to relax, too.

Haunt the House: Terrortown is a low-cost casual game that carries a single price tag. No ads to deal with, no in-app purchases to worry about. You can play it with a game controller or a Fire TV remote, though we recommend the former for optimal haunting.

Eventide: Slavic Fable

Favorite Games on Fire TV 10 - Eventide

Hidden object games picked up some serious steam when casual gamers realized the potential of the mobile platform. After all, what better way to hunt for items and solve adventure-style puzzles than curled up on your couch? Eventide: Slavic Fable continues that tradition on Fire TV with one of the better hidden object titles on the market. Great graphics, and it’s a free download unlockable via a single in-app purchase.

Apart from its excellent visuals, Eventide stands out as a killer hidden object game thanks to its equal focus on story and puzzles. There are 30 locations to explore, 33 unique hidden object scenes to solve, countless puzzles and inventory items to pick up, and 25 different achievements to unlock. You can do all of this with a gamepad or the Fire TV remote, too, allowing you to sit back, relax, and have some fun.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Favorite Games on Fire TV 11 - Sonic the Hedgehog

Yes, that Sonic, and yes, that Sonic game! Sega ported the original Sonic the Hedgehog 2 over to a variety of devices a few years ago. Fire TV was one of the happy recipients of this surprisingly faithful port. Grab a game controller and settle in for some seriously fast old school platforming. Play as Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles as you sprint through a series of stages collecting rings and defeating Robotnik’s evil army in the process. Nothing scratches that action gaming itch like a good old classic, and Sonic 2 is about as good as they get.

Asphalt 8: Airborne

Favorite Games on Fire TV 12 - Asphalt 8

Are racing games more your thing? Don’t worry, Asphalt 8: Airborne has got you covered. The amazingly successful title follows the previous popular Asphalt games with all the same fast-paced racing action you could ever want. Pick a car, customize it for speed or performance, then head out onto the road to test your reflexes against players from around the world. And if online competition is too much, try upgrading your car and focus on beating your own lap times!

Asphalt 8: Airborne works on all Fire TV devices, including Fire Stick. It’s a free download with in-app purchases and is playable with either a controller or a Fire TV voice remote.

Best Games and Apps to Sideload

You don’t have to limit yourself to Amazon’s featured games. Fire TV and Fire Stick are capable of running many Android-compatible apps and games without any modifications. All you need to do is sideload them and start playing.

RetroArch

RetroArch isn’t a game in and of itself. Instead, it’s a completely open-source emulation system. For which retro consoles you ask? Oh, well, all of them, actually! RetroArch gives you immediate access to a huge list of classic games for Nintendo, Sega, and Sony systems, including the SNES, NES, GBA, and dozens more.

The catch to the RetroArch experience is you’ll need to do a little extra work to use all of these emulators. The apk itself doesn’t come with everything you need to start playing games. You’ll also have to search for and download your own game ROMs and load them to Fire TV manually. The best way to do this is to sideload RetroArch via USB stick on a Fire TV (not Fire Stick). Once you’ve got it running, you can sit down and play a few runs of Super Mario Bros. whenever you like. You can also install RetroArch on Kodi and use a ROM launcher.

To sideload RetroArch, visit the app’s download page, then scroll to the Android section, get the apk, and install as you would any third party app.

Kodi on Fire TV

By far the most popular app to sideload on Fire TV is Kodi. The free open-source media center software is available for a wide variety of devices, but you can’t download it directly from the Amazon appstore. It’s easy to sideload, fortunately, which means you can gain fast access to a nearly infinite variety of movies and TV shows with ease. Check out our guide on how to install Kodi on Fire TV to get started.

YouTube on Fire TV

YouTube was removed from Amazon’s Fire TV marketplace in early 2018. The app is no longer available to download, and some users report they’re unable to stream from their old installs, as well. Because Fire TV is based on Android, however, you can sideload YouTube yourself, no rooting or jailbreaking required. It takes a little effort, but it’s worth it to be able to access the largest video streaming site in the world from your Fire TV.

Conclusion

Fire TV and Fire Stick devices are the perfect portable media streaming machines. Grabbing a few games for them isn’t a bad idea, either, especially if you plan on doing some traveling and need a break from your Game of Thrones marathon! The games above are just a few of the best available for Fire TV. Got a favorite title you think everyone should try? Let us know in the comments!

Read Our 10 Favorite Games on Firestick and Fire TV by John Bardinelli on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Our 10 Favorite Games on Firestick and Fire TV

Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire Stick devices were made to stream movies, TV shows, and everything in-between. Because the system runs an Android-based operating system it’s capable of running a good variety of casual and mobile games. Amazon realized this right away and included built-in support for a decent selection of titles, including some big names you might recognize! Check out our favorite games for Fire TV below, all of which are perfect for extended hours of couch and TV fun time.

Favorite Games on Fire TV 1

 Reminder

Installing a reliable VPN on your Fire TV or Fire Stick is a great way to protect your online privacy. With all the net neutrality concerns and anti-privacy bills passing through the government, our basic internet freedoms are getting smaller by the day. VPNs help retain some of that by encrypting your data before it leaves the device, making it impossible for anyone to see what you’re downloading, what you’re streaming, and where you’re located.

Staying safe on Fire TV is more important than you might think. Mass surveillance efforts include collecting data from streaming devices, and ISPs can still store and even sell information sent from Fire TV streams. By installing any of the VPNs below, you can lock down your information and stay safe, no matter what.

1. IPVanish – Private and Secure

Favorite Games on Fire TV 14 - IPVanish

IPVanish has the perfect selection of features to keep you safe and secure on Fire TV. The company runs a huge network of 950 servers in 60 different countries, providing fast, lag-free connections around the world. You’ll also get an automatic kill switch, 256-bit encryption, DNS leak security, and a zero-logging policy on all traffic. IPVanish is also available to download directly from the Amazon appstore, making it a fast and frustration-free install!

Slash 60% off the price of an annual plan with IPVanish for a price of just $4.87 per month! Backed by a 7-day money back guarantee.

2. ExpressVPN – Fastest VPN

Favorite Games on Fire TV 13 - ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs around, and it’s easy to use on Fire TV. The service comes with incredible 256-bit AES encryption on all data, an automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection, and a zero-logging policy on traffic, DNS requests, and IP addresses. You can even install and use ExpressVPN directly from the Amazon appstore!

Games on Fire TV – What You’ll Need

Fire TV supports a variety of games right out of the box. You can browse the appstore, download free titles, or purchase low-cost games without leaving your couch. Below you’ll find a few bits of information that are nice to have before beginning your Fire TV gaming binge.

Installing Games

Most Fire TV games are available directly from the Amazon appstore, which is built into every Fire TV and Fire Stick device. To install them, simply open your Fire TV, go to the apps menu, then browse the games category or search for the title by name. You can also click links in Amazon’s web-based appstore and send games to your device from a PC. We’ve provided browser links for all of the games below to make installation as easy and quick as possible.

Game Controllers

The Fire TV pairs wonderfully with a wide variety of bluetooth devices, everything from keyboards to third party remotes. You can also link up a gamepad to control your games, which is a far better solution than clicking tiny remote control buttons. Amazon released an official Fire TV Game Controller you can use to control your device and play games. Just about any bluetooth gamepad will work just as well, however.

Some games require a game controller to play, but others just need a physical Fire TV remote. Even if they support the remote, we always recommend using a gamepad whenever possible. It’s easier, more responsive, and just an all-around better way to experience games.

Fire TV vs Fire Stick

Both Fire TV and Fire Stick devices have roughly the same level of compatibility with games. The latter doesn’t have the storage space or processing power to deliver as high of a quality experience as the larger Fire TV, however, which means you could experience slowdown with some games. Storage restrictions also means you can only install a few games on Fire Stick, compared to the dozens on its larger sibling. While both devices are perfectly capable of running casual games, if you have a choice, go with Fire TV..

Our Favorite Games on Fire TV

Ready to fill your afternoon with games? All of the titles below are inexpensive, high quality, and tons of fun. Warning: once you start playing from the comfort of your own couch, you won’t want to get up!

Alto’s Adventure

Favorite Games on Fire TV 2 - Altos Adventure

Aah, skiing. Nothing’s more exciting than strapping on a pair of boots and heading out onto the fresh powder. Alto’s Adventure is a laugh-out-loud arcade game with fluid movement mechanics and awesome physics-based gameplay. Ski across snowy terrain as you attempt to pull off stunts and land without breaking your helmet in half. Tons of tricks to perform, and plenty of awesome chain combos and visual niceties to keep you engaged!

Alto’s Adventure is available for Fire TV and Fire Stick devices as a one-time purchase. It should be perfectly compatible with game controllers and Fire TV voice remotes, too, though the former is a lot more fun to use.

Final Fantasy IV

Favorite Games on Fire TV 3 - Final Fantasy

When it comes to serious RPG adventures, the Final Fantasy series always delivers. This long-running franchise stretched back into the late 1980s with about two dozen titles to enjoy, not including spin-offs and the occasional remake. Final Fantasy IV for Fire TV is one such remake. Developer Square-Enix overhauled what was originally a SNES game and gave it modern 3D graphics. Now you can enjoy the intense world of FFIV from your TV, and you don’t even need a gamepad to do it!

Quell

Favorite Games on Fire TV 4 - Quell

Are you a fan of puzzle games? Quell and some of its sequels are the perfect choices for a relaxing yet challenging puzzle experience on any device, including Fire Stick and Fire TV. The idea is simple: swipe the raindrop to roll it around the screen and collect the shining pearls. You’ll be met with all kinds of obstacles throughout the game, each one designed to make you change your tactics and really think about the puzzles at hand.

Quell is available as a single-purchase game, no ads or in-app purchases to contend with. The developer reports that it works with the Fire TV Voice Remote, but as always, we recommend using a bluetooth gamepad whenever possible.

The Bard’s Tale

Favorite Games on Fire TV 5 - Bards Tale

When you need a serious game to get into, The Bard’s Tale is the way to go. This relaunched sequel to the original series came out on a wide variety of platforms, including Fire TV. You’ll need a controller to play it and some users report it doesn’t always get along with early generation Fire Stick devices, but if it works, you can’t beat its raw entertainment value.

The Bard’s Tale is a massive 3D RPG that lets you explore a fully-realized open world to slay foes, cast spells, upgrade equipment, and complete a variety of quests. The game is reported to have over 30 hours of entertainment packed into a 1.7 GB download, which is perfect for anyone who’s sick of streaming movies and just wants to slay some goblins.

Doom & Destiny

Favorite Games on Fire TV 6 - Doom and Destiny

Japanese RPGs (JRPG) had something of a resurgence when mobile devices grew in popularity. These retro-styled games were easy to play with touch screens or TV remotes, but they offered dozens of hours of entertainment, all for a small price tag. Doom & Destiny is one of the few JRPGs available on Fire TV, and it delivers on all of those promises, and more!

Doom & Destiny features hundreds of skills, enemies, and pieces of equipment to discover, all wrapped in a tasteful pixel art graphical package. Four nerds are drawn into a fantasy world and mistaken for heroes. Now they have to battle their way out of this strange realm, all while tackling countless dungeons and their bosses, including a Flying Spaghetti Monster!

Doom & Destiny is a single-purchase game (no ads, no in-app purchases) that requires a bluetooth controller to play.

My Colony

Favorite Games on Fire TV 7 - My Colony

Managing a space colony is tough work, especially when you have to build it yourself from scratch. This simple but intensely addictive building sim places you on the desolate surface of Mars and challenges you to create a colony that can survive the harsh conditions. Manage everything from building types to workers, mining efforts, and energy production. It’s a casual game at heart, so you won’t have to break your brain to get through it, but it’s tons of fun to play on your TV.

My Colony is a one-off game that doesn’t feature any in-app purchases or advertisements. It runs well on all Fire TV and Fire Stick devices, but you’ll need a controller to play.

Quell Memento

Favorite Games on Fire TV 8 - Quell Memento

From the creators of Quell comes Quell Memento, a puzzle game that shares some of the same design sensibilities as its cousin, but goes in a different direction with gameplay. Quell Memento is also a “roll the raindrop” style of game, but here you’ll deal with a massive variety of different layouts and obstacles, most of which are far more difficult than in the original Quell. Ever tried sliding through lasers and thorn blocks on your quest for a pearl? Quell Memento will have you tensing up in a few areas, so be ready to do some thinking!

Quell Memento is a single-purchase game with no IAPs, ads, or add-on content. Just snag the main game and enjoy. It also works with your Fire TV remote if you don’t have a bluetooth gamepad handy.

Haunt the House: Terrortown

Favorite Games on Fire TV 9 - Haunt the House

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you were a ghost? Dashing around the place like a shadow, possessing objects and making them come to life. Haunt the House: Terrortown lets you live out these strange fantasies in a colorful and cartoonish kind of way. Move through a museum, haunted train, spooky mansion, and even the North Pole as you find innocent people and give them a good fright. Complete goals to move on to the next area, but don’t forget to fly around and soak in the scenery. Ghosts like to relax, too.

Haunt the House: Terrortown is a low-cost casual game that carries a single price tag. No ads to deal with, no in-app purchases to worry about. You can play it with a game controller or a Fire TV remote, though we recommend the former for optimal haunting.

Eventide: Slavic Fable

Favorite Games on Fire TV 10 - Eventide

Hidden object games picked up some serious steam when casual gamers realized the potential of the mobile platform. After all, what better way to hunt for items and solve adventure-style puzzles than curled up on your couch? Eventide: Slavic Fable continues that tradition on Fire TV with one of the better hidden object titles on the market. Great graphics, and it’s a free download unlockable via a single in-app purchase.

Apart from its excellent visuals, Eventide stands out as a killer hidden object game thanks to its equal focus on story and puzzles. There are 30 locations to explore, 33 unique hidden object scenes to solve, countless puzzles and inventory items to pick up, and 25 different achievements to unlock. You can do all of this with a gamepad or the Fire TV remote, too, allowing you to sit back, relax, and have some fun.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Favorite Games on Fire TV 11 - Sonic the Hedgehog

Yes, that Sonic, and yes, that Sonic game! Sega ported the original Sonic the Hedgehog 2 over to a variety of devices a few years ago. Fire TV was one of the happy recipients of this surprisingly faithful port. Grab a game controller and settle in for some seriously fast old school platforming. Play as Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles as you sprint through a series of stages collecting rings and defeating Robotnik’s evil army in the process. Nothing scratches that action gaming itch like a good old classic, and Sonic 2 is about as good as they get.

Asphalt 8: Airborne

Favorite Games on Fire TV 12 - Asphalt 8

Are racing games more your thing? Don’t worry, Asphalt 8: Airborne has got you covered. The amazingly successful title follows the previous popular Asphalt games with all the same fast-paced racing action you could ever want. Pick a car, customize it for speed or performance, then head out onto the road to test your reflexes against players from around the world. And if online competition is too much, try upgrading your car and focus on beating your own lap times!

Asphalt 8: Airborne works on all Fire TV devices, including Fire Stick. It’s a free download with in-app purchases and is playable with either a controller or a Fire TV voice remote.

Best Games and Apps to Sideload

You don’t have to limit yourself to Amazon’s featured games. Fire TV and Fire Stick are capable of running many Android-compatible apps and games without any modifications. All you need to do is sideload them and start playing.

RetroArch

RetroArch isn’t a game in and of itself. Instead, it’s a completely open-source emulation system. For which retro consoles you ask? Oh, well, all of them, actually! RetroArch gives you immediate access to a huge list of classic games for Nintendo, Sega, and Sony systems, including the SNES, NES, GBA, and dozens more.

The catch to the RetroArch experience is you’ll need to do a little extra work to use all of these emulators. The apk itself doesn’t come with everything you need to start playing games. You’ll also have to search for and download your own game ROMs and load them to Fire TV manually. The best way to do this is to sideload RetroArch via USB stick on a Fire TV (not Fire Stick). Once you’ve got it running, you can sit down and play a few runs of Super Mario Bros. whenever you like. You can also install RetroArch on Kodi and use a ROM launcher.

To sideload RetroArch, visit the app’s download page, then scroll to the Android section, get the apk, and install as you would any third party app.

Kodi on Fire TV

By far the most popular app to sideload on Fire TV is Kodi. The free open-source media center software is available for a wide variety of devices, but you can’t download it directly from the Amazon appstore. It’s easy to sideload, fortunately, which means you can gain fast access to a nearly infinite variety of movies and TV shows with ease. Check out our guide on how to install Kodi on Fire TV to get started.

YouTube on Fire TV

YouTube was removed from Amazon’s Fire TV marketplace in early 2018. The app is no longer available to download, and some users report they’re unable to stream from their old installs, as well. Because Fire TV is based on Android, however, you can sideload YouTube yourself, no rooting or jailbreaking required. It takes a little effort, but it’s worth it to be able to access the largest video streaming site in the world from your Fire TV.

Conclusion

Fire TV and Fire Stick devices are the perfect portable media streaming machines. Grabbing a few games for them isn’t a bad idea, either, especially if you plan on doing some traveling and need a break from your Game of Thrones marathon! The games above are just a few of the best available for Fire TV. Got a favorite title you think everyone should try? Let us know in the comments!

Read Our 10 Favorite Games on Firestick and Fire TV by John Bardinelli on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

Set Up And Use Mobdro On The Amazon Fire TV Stick

Mobdro is another of those media players that promises an endless stream of great free content. And you know what? It delivers! Mobdro includes several categories of content. It has live TV channels and news channels; it has TV shows and movie; it’s got sports (and lots of them!); it has music and podcasts and much, much more. With the instructions we’re about to provide, you’ll be able to install Mobdro on the Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Mobdro Main Screen

Today, We’ll start our discussion by having a look at the Amazon Fire TV Stick. Then, we’ll talk about installing third-party applications on the Fire Stick. We will then give you some directions on how to install Mobdro on the Fire Stick. There are several ways it can be done so we’ll present the best ones. And finally, we’ll take you on a guided tour of the Mobdro, its best features and discuss whether or not using it is safe and legal.

Always Use A VPN When Streaming Content

You should always use a VPN when streaming contents. With so much illegal streaming going on, Internet service providers have gotten very wary of streaming. They want to avoid possible legal trouble and save some bandwidth. They could, therefore, monitor your online activity and, when they detect streaming, react by throttling down your speed, sending you infringement notices or even completely interrupting your service.

A VPN can protect you against the scrutiny of an overzealous ISP by encrypting all data in and out of your Internet-connected device using strong algorithms that make it almost impossible to crack. Even if your ISP, the authorities or some hacker was to intercept your data, all they’d see would be meaningless garbage. They’d have no way of seeing what you’re doing or where you’re going online. And as a bonus, using a VPN can allow you to bypass most geographic restrictions.

With so many VPN providers to choose from, picking the right one for your needs can turn out to be quite a daunting task. There are several factors to be considered. Among the most important, a fast connection speed will reduce buffering, a no-logging policy will further protect your privacy, no usage restrictions will let you access any content at full speed and software for multiple devices will ensure your VPN works with any equipment you may own.

The Best VPN For Streaming – IPVanish

We’ve tested many–if not all–VPN providers. The one we’d recommend with no hesitation when streaming content is called IPVanish. With servers worldwide, no speed cap or throttling, unlimited bandwidth, unrestricted traffic, a strict no-logging policy and client software available for all popular platforms, IPVanish meets our criteria and offers excellent performance and impressive value.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick In A Nutshell

Despite its “official” designation as the Amazon Fire TV Stick, we often refer to it simply as the Fire Stick or Firestick. The device is a very capable media player that attaches to the back of your TV and turns it into a media power horse. And best of all, it currently sells on Amazon for just $39.99.

The aesthetics of the device are rather unimpressive but then again, the device is meant to be hidden behind your TV so, who cares? Its form factor is that of a large USB memory stick–one from a few years ago–with an HDMI port instead of USB. The other side of the device has a micro USB interface but it’s only used to power the device and has no data communication capability.

Amazon Fire TV Stick and Alexa Remote

The remote that comes with the device is way more impressive. It is a bit over five inches long and it has a glossy circle near its top. The circle is meant to be used as a navigation pad and it features an Enter button in the middle. You’ll probably quickly notice that there’s a button with a microphone depicted on it. This is a tell-tale sign that the remote features the Alexa voice search feature. Many people would see this feature as just another gimmick. But after trying to enter any sort of text using the remote control and horrible on-screen keyboard, you’ll soon realize just how great this feature is. Otherwise, the remote’s simplistic button layout makes it very easy to use and learn. You’ll be comfortable with it in no time.

The Fire Stick’s Specifications

Contrary to its plain and deceptive external appearance, what’s more impressive about the fire stick is what’s inside. The device is powered by a more-than-adequate MediaTek ARM Cortex-A7 quad-core processor running at 1.3GHz. The device also features 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. For such a small device, these are great specs. As far as graphics are concerned, the device is powered by a Mali 450 GPU. While this is no super-duper hardware, it’s more than enough for 1080P playback. But it won’t cut it to play 4K or HDR video. On the connectivity front, the device has WiFi for home networking and Bluetooth for external device interfacing. And as we said, the USB port on the device is only there to power the device and won’t provide any kind of connectivity.

Installing Mobdro On The Amazon Fire TV Stick

Mobdro is not available from the Amazon app store. It is what we commonly call a third-party application. While this is no big deal and sideloading apps on Android devices is common, it is a tad more complicated on the Fire Stick, despite the fact that it’s running some form of Android OS.

The problem with installing Mobdro–or any third-party app–on the Fire Stick is the absence of connectivity option to sideload the app on the device. This means that you ideally have to download the apk directly to the device. This raises another issue. Most browsers available on the device don’t have any download functionality.

We’re not going to let that stop us, though. We’ve found many ways these issues can be circumvented to let you install Mobdro on your Fire Stick. We’ll show you what we consider to be the two easiest ways it can be done.

Preliminary Step: Allowing Third-Party Apps

Before we can sideload any third-party app on the Fire Stick, you need to allow it. For security reasons, it is disabled by default.

So, from the Fire TV’s home screen, go to Settings, then System and finally, Developer Options.

Scroll down until you see “Allow apps from unknown source” and select it to allow them.

Method 1: Using The ES File Explorer App

This method uses the ES File Explorer app’s built-in browsing and APK installing abilities to download and install the Mobdro apk from the Internet. First, let’s install the ES File Explorer.

  1. From the Fire Stick’s home screen, select the search icon–the magnifying glass at the far left of the main menu.
  2. Then, enter ES File Explorer and click the centre button on your remote. You’ll quickly find the ES Files Explorer app.
  3. Click Install to launch the app’s installation.
  4. Once ES File Explorer is installed, simply start it by clicking its icon. The ES file explorer app has a built-in browser functionality but using it is somewhat cumbersome.
  5. Click the menu at the top left of the app’s screen and select Favorite then Add.
  6. In the Path box, type in https://www.apkmirror.com/ using the on-screen keyboard.
  7. In the Name box, Type in APKMirror, then click Add
  8. Click the menu and then Favorite once more but this time find your new APK Mirror favorite and click it.
  9. The APK Mirror website will open in an ES File Explorer screen. Click the magnifying glass at the top and type in mobdro, then click the Enter button.
  10. Scroll down the search results and click the download icon next to the first result.
  11. Scroll down the next page until you see 2.0.62 Freemium and click it to go to the download page.
  12. On the download page, click the DOWNLOAD APK button.
  13. When the file finishes downloading, click Install to launch the Mobdro installation.

Method 2: Using A Download-enabled Browser

Another popular way of getting Modbro installed on the Fire Stick is to use a browser app that supports downloading. You need to carefully select your browser, though. A lot of them, including Amazon’s own Silk browser, won’t support downloading files.

Firefox is a great browser for the Amazon Fire TV Stick that will support downloading files. The only drawback is that Firefox was not meant to be used with a remote control as its input device. If you’re going to do extensive browsing on your Fire Stick, we’d strongly suggest that you get some sort of alternate input device. The Fire Stick has Bluetooth connectivity and will support many keyboards and mice.

Different browsers operate in different manners making it had to give you definite installation instructions. Instead, we’ll outline the steps required and let you figure how to apply them to your browser of choice:

  1. First, you need to start your browser and navigate to the APK Mirror website. You’ll find it at https://www.apkmirror.com.
  2. Next, you’ll need to search the APK Mirror for the Mobdro app. This is the same as what we did with the ES File Explorer browser.
  3. Navigate to the actual APK download and download and save to file to your Fire Stick.
  4. Once the download completes, launch the downloaded file to install the APK.

Using Mobdro — A Tour Of Its Best Features

When you start Mobdro, its home screen is displayed. It is neatly organized with your recently watched channels at the top.

Mobdro Main Screen

Below that, you’ll find a list of currently playing live content. The nice thing about it is that you get a one-sentence summary of the current program. It’s not much but it’s often enough to decide if you want to watch the channel.

Below that are the categories button. We’ll explore what the main ones have to offer.

Channels

This first section is where you’ll find live IPTV Channels. What channels, you may ask? Well, I’d be tempted to say “All of them”, Seriously, there are hundreds of live IPTV channels available. You have the major American networks and most cable channels. But the selection does not stop there. You also have access to dozens of channels from Europe, including the UK and France.

Mobdro Channels

Note that, just like many apps that provide so-called free TV, the quality of some of the streams can sometimes leave to be desired. It is sometimes reminiscent of broadcast TV from 30 years ago. But then again, it’s free so we can’t really complain.

The selection is simply way too big to mention what you’ll find in there. You’ll have to go and see for yourself. But be warned: you might waste a considerable amount of time browsing the available channels.

News

This section specializes in new channels. And like everywhere else throughout this add-on, the selection is impressive. Of course, you’ll find all the major US news stations, including the CNN International feed.

Mobdro News

But it doesn’t stop there, you’ll also get news channels from all around the world. I’ve seen channels from the UK, from France, from Pakistan, from Qatar, and from Canada. And this is just a small sample.

There are also news channels in several different languages available. For example, Euronews is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian.

Shows

The Shows section is different from some other similar services. You see, Mobdro is all about live TV. There’s no on-demand content in here. So, the TV shows section lists dozens of TV shows from you to choose from.

Mobdro Shows

But the catch is that the show title is the only thing you can choose. There’s no way you can specify an episode or even a season. What’s listed in here are actually live channels playing a given show 24 hours a day, non-stop.

Movies

The Movies section is another interesting section. There are some 50 channels which all have one thing in common, they broadcast movies 24/7

Mobdro Movies

Some of the channels are specialized. For instance, there are channels called Action Movies 24/7, Horror Movies 24/7, Comedy Movies 24/7, or Documentary movies 24/7. Those are great f your a fan of a specific genre. And then there are other, more generic, movie channels. Some have revealing names such as thebadmoviechannel. Others, not so much. Take for example broadmovieshd or mega_movieshd.

Like with the shows section, you have no way of selecting a specific movie on any of these channels. In fact, you can’t even know what’s currently playing.

Sports

That’s the section where sports lovers will spend most of their time. What you’ll find in here is an amazing selection of live IPTV Sports channels.

Mobdro Sports

You’ll find all the ESPN, Sky Sports or BT Sports channels. You’ll also find NFL, MLB, and NBA TV. And you have Fox Sports and Canadian sports networks Sportsnet and TSN. There is content from Spain Seria, Croatia and pretty much all over the world.

Other Categories

There are several more categories of content to watch. Their purpose is somewhat self-explanatory. You have Music, Gaming, Animal, Tech, Podcasts, and Spiritual. And for anything that won’t fit in the previous categories, there’s even an Others section.

Is Mobdro Legal and Safe?

With a promise of free content, this is a question many potential Mobdro users are asking. Unfortunately, answering it is no simple matter. In two word: it depends. Let’s try to explain.

The Mobdro app itself is most probably perfectly legal in most jurisdictions. After all, the app does not contain any of the content it proposes. It only provides a way of easily accessing content that is available on the Internet. While this is the universal declaration that every streaming user has heard time and again, this is where the legal problems can start. There’s actually no way of knowing if any or all of these sources are legal. We could assume they are but the truth is that they most likely aren’t.

But even then, in some jurisdictions, watching these sources might not be illegal. We are not legal advisors so we can’t tell you for sure what is or isn’t legal in your part of the world. As a general advice, take steps to ensure you’re only streaming content from legal sources and when in doubt, refrain.

As for the safety of the Mobdro app, this is another complicated issue. While the real app seems to be legit and safe, you need to be extremely cautious that you are actually downloading the real thing and not some alternate version where some hacker has added malicious code. When you download the APK, make sure you do it from a reputable apk download site such as the APK Mirror we’ve used above. While there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the real app, the risks are lower.

In Conclusion

Although getting it installed on the Amazon Fire TV Stick can be a little tricky, it can be done. And as a result, you’ll have one of the greatest sources of live IPTV channels. It might not be perfect and the video quality of some streams leave somewhat to be desired but overall, the broad assortment of content largely makes up for the quality shortcoming. This is certainly something you’ll want to try on your Fire Stick.

Have you tried the Mobdro app on the Amazon Fire TV Stick? What isntallation method did you use? Did you encounter–and solve–any issues? Use the comments below to share your experience with us.

Read Set Up And Use Mobdro On The Amazon Fire TV Stick by Renaud Larue-Langlois on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to Run Plex Media Server on a NAS

Getting movies from your main computer to your TV can sometimes be a hassle. You can run a cable across the house, but that’s hardly an elegant solution. You can try casting videos through your home network, but that’s not always a reliable method, especially if you’ve got a lot of HD and 4K movies.

Plex on NAS 1

Plex is a media center software package that aims to make home entertainment as easy as possible. Installing it on your home PC allows you to stream content from one device to another, opening up a world of entertainment options. Better still, you can install Plex on a NAS device for fast and accessible movie streams 24/7!

Staying Safe and Secure with a VPN

Every time you connect to the internet you put your data at risk. Sending unencrypted information through servers and to websites located around the world means giving up an unprecedented amount of private information. It’s easy for anyone to see who you are and what you’re downloading, including hackers, government agencies, and ISPs.

Running any kind of media center software puts you at a higher risk. Using a virtual private network can help keep you safe, however. VPNs encrypt all traffic on your network, making it impossible to spy on your activities. You can stream and surf all you like, secure in the knowledge that no one is monitoring your activity.

Below we’ve selected a few of the most reliable VPNs on the market. They’re perfect for fast streams and private data connections on any device. You can even set a VPN up with a router to protect your entire home network!

1. ExpressVPN – Best for Speed

Plex on NAS 2 -ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a fast, friendly, and secure VPN that provides all the right features Plex users need most. With ExpressVPN your data is locked down with tough 256-bit AES encryption to keep it hidden from prying eyes. A thorough zero-logging policy on traffic, DNS requests, and IP addresses keeps information secure, and both DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch make sure your identity remains a secret, no matter what. All of this is packaged with easy to use software and a lightning fast network with servers located around the world.

2. IPVanish – Incredible Security

Plex on NAS 3 -IPVanish

IPVanish combines speed and security into an amazing VPN experience. The company runs a huge network of servers for fast access around he world, over 950 in 60 different countries. Data is kept safe with DNS leak protection, an automatic kill switch, and 256-bit AES encryption on every single packet. You also get superb protection from the company’s zero-logging policy on all traffic, ensuring nothing you do is ever stored or shared with outside parties.

Slash 60% off the price of an annual plan with IPVanish for a price of just $4.87 per month! Backed by a 7-day money back guarantee.

Basics of Plex over NAS

Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices are a straightforward way to stash files accessible from any device on your home network. Think of it like a personal cloud service, only instead of sending data across the internet, it stays on hardware in your office or living room. Safer, more reliable, and often cheaper, too.

Storage or Transcoding?

You can use Plex with a NAS device in two ways: as a simple movie storage drive, or as storage and transcoding hardware. There are some serious limitations to the latter, all depending on the type of NAS you own, how powerful it is, and what kind of processor it’s running. Even people who successfully use NAS as a Plex transcoder run into problems, so it’s not exactly the best solution for streaming movies at home.

NAS is designed for storage, and it works extremely well when used for that purpose with Plex. Your PC does the transcoding work, your TV or smartphone plays the videos, the NAS just sits quietly passing data back and forth. It’s not taxing on your device, and it’s much easier to set up.

For our guides below, we’ll focus on using NAS as a storage device.

Advantages of NAS

If you have a decent enough NAS device with a lot of storage, you’ll find it’s an invaluable addition to your home streaming setup. It has a number of advantages over PC streaming, including the fact that NAS is always online, so you can shut your computer down but still access your movies. You’ll also save hard drive space by keeping content on the NAS, and you can access it from any device instantly, no need to manually run the server from your computer.

Limitations of NAS

Even if you use your NAS just as a movie storage device, there are some limitations. Processing power is by far the biggest one. Very few NAS devices use strong processors, and that directly impacts your streaming experience with Plex. You’ll have to use a high-end NAS to get good results.

Many NAS devices tout their low-power footprint as a defining feature. While this is great for home storage and file retrieval, it doesn’t make your Plex streaming any easier. If you try using one of these devices for transcoding you’ll likely get an error message. Stick with storage only if this is the case.

Note that even compatible video formats often need some measure of transcoding before Plex can play them, so there’s really no way to avoid this issue when streaming via NAS.

Compatible NAS Devices

Plex maintains a list of compatible NAS devices and processor architecture. They cover almost 300 different models spread across all major manufacturers, including QNAP, Netgear, Synology, and Western Digital. The list outlines whether or not the device can handle software transcoding and hardware transcoding, along with which resolutions the NAS will be able to stream.

Check your device on the list before you try using Plex with it. The limitations may be too strict to make installing it worthwhile. At the time of writing, no NAS devices can handle 4K or 4K UHQ videos, and only a few can transcode HD content up to 1080p.

Setting Up Plex to Use a NAS

Got a compatible NAS device ready to go? You can get Plex set up to use it as your main streaming storage device in just a few minutes. Follow the guide below and you’ll be ready to watch movies in no time!

Step 1: Prepare the NAS

You may have already completed this step, but if not, you should get your NAS set up and ready to store before installing the Plex Media Server. The details of this will vary depending on which device you own, but the basic process should be similar, especially if you have a pre-built NAS.

Most NAS hardware operates as a plug-and-play device. This means all you need to do is give it power, plug it into your router, stash the box somewhere secure, then access it from your PC. You’ll need to give the NAS its own drive letter in your operating system, that way it can treat it just like any other storage solution. This should happen automatically once the OS detects an attached NAS. If it doesn’t, you may need to download setup software for your model.

Plex on NAS 4 -Folder structure

With a separate drive as your NAS, it’s a good idea to create a dedicated folder for Plex content. Better still, sub-divide that folder into sections for movies, TV shows, and any other type of media you plan on accessing. It’s not a requirement, but it makes things much easier to manage once your media library starts to grow.

Once a NAS is connected and added as a drive, you’re ready to begin. Move a few test files to the NAS and give them a moment to transfer. Try out a few different file types (.mp4, .mov, .avi, .mkv, etc.) and sizes, too, just for good measure.

Step 2: Installing the Plex Media Server

Now it’s time to get the Plex Media Server up and running. This is the software that will manage and transfer movies across your network. If you have a NAS, you’ll need to download Plex for that device, not your computer operating system. The guide below walks you through the process step by step.

Plex on NAS 4 -Folder structure

With your NAS device plugged in and accessible as its own drive, visit the Plex website and go to the downloads page. Click the button marked download and you’ll see the actual download screen. Click the dropdown menu near the top and choose your NAS from the list. Next, click the Choose Package button and select the Plex Media Server installation file for your specific device. The download should begin right away.

Now it’s time to actually install Plex on your NAS. Again, this process will vary depending on your NAS developer and the included software. In general, you’ll need to run your NAS manager, then look for an Apps icon or menu selection. Choose this, then navigate to the file you just downloaded. It will probably have a strange file extension like .spk, .bin, or .qpkg. Add this via the NAS manager and it will install Plex automatically.

Step 3: Running the Plex Media Server

The installation is complete, the hard part is over! Now it’s time to configure Plex, sign in, and start adding videos to your home streaming setup.

Plex on NAS 6 -Plex account

Before you begin, it’s a good idea to create your Plex account. You can log in using Facebook or Google credentials, but it’s a better idea to create your own dedicated Plex login information. It’s free to create a basic account, but you can also sign up for Plex Pass to gain a ton of premium features, including offline sync with mobile devices, live TV and DVR features, and unique photo tagging and organization capabilities.

Now you’ll want to access the Plex Media Center from your NAS. Go back to the management software and find the entry for Plex. Run it, then enter your login information in the screen that pops up. You may need to find a manual configuration button if this doesn’t work, but most NAS software handles logging in automatically.

Step 4: Add Your Media

With the Plex Media Center installed on your NAS and a few movies or TV shows ready to go, you can now add content directly to Plex so it’s ready to stream. This process is mostly automated, but note that it can take some time if you have a large library of files that needs to be indexed.

Plex on NAS 7 -Media server with Plex

From within your account on the NAS instance of Plex, run the Media Server and give it a moment to start up. Plex will automatically discover media stored on your device as it scans for new content. Eventually you should see a screen with your content displayed in tidy little rows, organized by media type.

If your library doesn’t show up, simply click the plus sign next to Libraries in the left side navigation menu. Select the type of media you’re adding (movies, TV shows, music, and so on), followed by the folders they’re located in. Plex will then index everything manually.

Step 5: Install the Plex Media Player on Another Device

Now comes the fun part: watching movies via Plex! The Media Center will sit quietly on your NAS, passing data from storage to your viewing device. The Plex app you install on a smartphone, TV box, or computer will then handle the transcoding and playback part of the process. You can also use your browser, but the apps work much better on the vast majority of hardware.

Plex on NAS 8 -Plex library

On the device you want to stream to, visit the Plex download page, and click Get an App at the bottom. Choose your device’s operating system from the dropdown menu. If Plex is available from your OS’s marketplace, you’ll be given a link to click to grab it from there. And if you’re using an Android, Fire TV, or iOS device, you can search for “Plex” on the app marketplace and install from there instead.

Install and run the Plex app, then log in using your account details. Assuming your Plex Media Server is up and running (it should be, if it’s on your NAS), you can now create your streaming library. From the Media Player client select Add Library from the menu on the left. Choose the type of media in the folder (movies, TV shows, etc.), then pick the folder where the content is stored and click Add. Plex will organize your content to make it easy and attractive to navigate.

After a few moments the Plex Media Player will be ready to go. Just pick the movie or TV show you want to watch, click “play”, and enjoy!

Conclusion

Plex has been around for years, slowly becoming the best solution for streaming your home content to other devices. It only takes a moment to set up, even on NAS hardware, and it can provide fast and easy access to your entire video collection. Running Plex on a NAS means you never have to boot up your PC to watch a movie again. Just run the Plex player, pick a film, and relax.

Read How to Run Plex Media Server on a NAS by John Bardinelli on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter