Wednesday, August 17

How to Stream Plex Media to VLC

Plex is an amazing home media platform that helps manage locally saved movies, music, and more. Comprised of Plex Media Server and Plex Media Player, the platform makes it easy to organize your media and share it over a network. While it comes with its own media player, you can also use VLC media player to play the content. Here’s how to stream media from Plex to VLC.

Plex Media Server is installed on your main computer, where you have all your media installed. It organizes all your content and can start streaming to remote devices. Those devices can be other computers, tablets, or even phones, and they can be local or Internet-based.

Plex Media Player is installed on any device you want to consume your media on. It receives the stream from Plex Media Server and plays it, and also allows you to browse and select from its interface.

Both elements make up Plex and are compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, NAS, cloud storage, Android, iOS, Chromecast, Amazon devices, Apple TV, Kodi, PlayStation, Xbox, Roku, and Nvidia Shield. There are others that I’ve probably missed, but you get the idea. That’s quite an extensive list of options to choose from.

Plex Settings

To use Plex successfully, you’ll need a central computer or device that hosts all of your media. It must be left on each time you want to consume that media, and it must be connected to your network and/or the Internet.

Plex Media Server is required for this to work, but the app is optional. You can also watch through a browser or VLC media player, as I’ll show you.

  1. Download and install Plex Media Server in that central device. Download the Plex Media Player app on any device you want to consume the media on.
  2. Sign up for a Plex account and follow the setup wizard.
  3. If you want to stream outside of your home network, enable ‘Connect to Plex’.
  4. Add your libraries when prompted. Select ‘Add Library’ and import the media you want to share.
  5. Add your network and allow remote access when prompted.
  6. Install the channels you want to include.

That’s all you need to do for the basic setup of Plex Media Server; it is a fairly simple process. DLNA, which is the network protocol we need to play games in VLC, is enabled by default, so no further action is needed here. You can spend more time later customizing and configuring it as you like and adding channels.

Next, you need to install Plex Media Player on whatever device you want to use Plex on. You don’t necessarily need to play media with it long-term, but you’ll want to at least set it up so you can test that everything works. It’s better to fix problems early than find them later.

  1. Install the Plex Media Player app on your device.
  2. Follow the installation wizard to join the network and find the media.
  3. Rinse and repeat for each device you want to use Plex on.

In theory this should now work. You should be able to browse media in Plex Media Player on whatever device you’ve set it up on, select something, and play it. One of the reasons Plex is so popular is because it works so smoothly. It has been carefully designed to deliver a seamless experience and it does it very well.

Stream Plex Media to VLC

If you want to stream Plex media to VLC, it can be easy or more difficult depending on your network setup. Since DLNA (the network protocol used by Plex) is enabled by default and works with UPnP, VLC should be able to detect it with no problem. But many people have had problems, so it’s not necessarily the easiest process.

Once everything is configured:

  1. Open VLC on a remote device and select ‘View’.
  2. Select ‘Playlist’ and scroll down the left panel until you reach ‘Local Network’.
  3. Select ‘Universal Plug n’ Play’ and wait for the box on the right to fill.
  4. Select folders in the right pane to browse media to play.
  5. Double-click on specific media and it should immediately start playing in VLC.

If all goes well, the media will play in VLC without issue. If the right pane doesn’t populate or you can’t find any media, double check that DLNA is enabled on the Plex Media Server. Go to “Settings & Server” in Plex Media Server and make sure the box next to “DLNA Server” is checked. It should be default. Also, enable ‘Direct Play’ and ‘Direct Stream’ if they aren’t already.

If you want to stream Plex media to VLC player, this is how you do it. Plex Media Player is pretty cool, but sometimes we like what we like, and there’s no shame in wanting to stick with things you know you like.

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