Frequently Asked Questions
Below, you will find answers to many of the frequently asked questions we see regarding Plex/Nine - both the Plex Media Server as well as Plex clients.
Where do I find the documentation?
The Plex Help page is your portal to resources for Plex. Start there for information.
Where do I download Plex?
Please visit the main Plexapp.com website, where you'll find links to the various client and Plex Media Server downloads.
What clients are available for Plex?
- Mac desktop (myPlex support)
- Windows desktop (myPlex support)
- Plex for iOS (myPlex support)
- Plex for Android (myPlex support)
- Google TV (myPlex support)
- Roku Streaming Players (myPlex support)
- Samsung Smart Hub
- Plex Media Center for Linux
- AppleTV (2nd Gen) (myPlex support)
- LG Medialink
- KLEXi (iOS)
- Constellation (iOS)
- Plex for webOS
- PleXBMC plugin for XBMC
On which platforms will the Plex Media Server run?
What is the difference between the Plex computer apps?
Plex is a client-server system. The Plex Media Server is the heart of that system and you'll use that to serve content to the various Plex clients. The Plex Media Center is simply one of the many available clients:
- Plex Media Server - This is the server component of the Plex system and is both the heart and brains. The server is a stand-alone application and is where you set up and manage your content library. Various Plex clients can then connect to the server to access your content. It supports publishing content via the myPlex service to allow remote access if desired.
- Plex Media Center (desktop client) - This is a stand-alone desktop Plex client, which is sometimes referred to by its codename: Laika. The client is available for both Mac OS X as well as Windows. It can be run without any local Plex Media Server and will still be able to access myPlex services or it can connect with a standard local Plex Media Server as normal.
- Plex 0.9.3.4 - This is the last of the old "integrated" releases - it contains the Plex 0.9.3.4 Mac OS X desktop client (aka "Plex Media Center") as well as the Plex Media Server. This is an old application and not generally recommended for most users.
What is the best format for my video content?
There isn't a single definitive answer to this question as it can depend on which Plex client you're using to access your content as well as how you plan on accessing that content (locally on the computer, local across your network, or remotely from outside your network). That said, we can recommend some general guidelines that most people find useful:
- MKV and MP4/M4V are popular file formats/containers that both generally work well.
- Video encoded as H.264 is the most broadly compatible, can often take advantage of hardware acceleration, and tends to give small filesizes for the quality you get.
- AAC and AC-3 are popular audio formats to use with video. DTS is also popular if your playback hardware supports it.
- VIDEO_TS (as well as ISO, IMG, dvdmedia, and other "disc image" format) content is generally not recommended as it is not compatible with most Plex clients and usually can't be streamed.
- SRT format subtitles are the best supported. VOBSUB/PSG format subtitles may not work with all clients and particularly with streaming.
Plex Media Server
What are the main differences between the Plex Media Server platforms?
Currently, the main differences between the three platforms are:
- OS X and Windows support WebKit plugins/channels (those that rely on Flash or Silverlight), while these plugins are not currently compatible with the Linux versions. These types of channels do make up a notable portion of the channels out there. The popular Netflix and Hulu channels fall into this category, for example. (Windows WebKit support requires Vista or Windows 7; Windows XP is, unfortunately, not supported.)
- OS X has a separate Cocoa-based Media Manager that can be used instead of the web-based Media Manager, which is the only choice for the Windows/Linux versions. The Cocoa UI has a couple of minor features not yet available in the webUI, but there are also some features present in the webUI and not the CocoaUI. The differences in functionality are minor. Of course, the webUI can also be used with OS X.
- OS X and Windows have iTunes plugin support, which is not currently available in the Linux version.
- OS X has iPhoto and Aperture plugin support, which is not available in Windows/Linux.
How do I get subtitles to work?
Why does content I deleted from my drive still show up?
Why do items in my Media Manager have yellow /!\ icons on them?
By default, when a scan is run by the Plex Media Server and a library item is no longer available at the specified location, Plex will not just remove the item from your library. Instead, the item will be marked as "soft deleted" so that you can restore the item without losing any metadata associated with the item. If you wish to get rid of such soft deleted items, simply empty the trash in the Media Manager as explained in the previous link.
What do the different types of scans/refreshes do?
When using your Media Manager, it is possible to trigger several different types of scans or refreshes for a section.
- Turbo Scan - This is the default scan and is designed to be the quickest. It does this by looking at the "modified time" (mtime) for a directory in the specified content location. If the mtime is not newer than the last scan, that directory and all content inside it is skipped in order to save time. Occasionally, this can cause issues for some people if their storage device/OS does not update the directory mtime when something inside it is added/removed/modified. Triggered standard with the refresh button.
- Deep Scan - This scan simply looks in all directories regardless of the mtime mentioned in the Turbo Scan. Triggered by ALT- or OPTION-clicking the refresh button.
- Forced Refresh - This does a Turbo scan and then forces a refresh of the metadata information for all content in a section. Be careful of using this option! Triggered by SHIFT-clicking the refresh button.
Why is some of my content not found during a scan?
Follow the Media Naming and Organization Guide to give yourself the best chance of having your content scanned and matched correctly. The "Plex Media Scanner.log" log file will also typically provide useful information regarding file scanning. Performing a Deep Scan may also help.
If a "Deep" scan picks up the content but the normal "Turbo" scan did not, then it typically means that the Operating System, filesystem, or storage device is not correctly updating the directory modification times when you add new content (see earlier FAQ entry).
Another thing that can cause issues is if you're copying content to the drive and directly into the content location. In such a situation, when the content copy first starts, the Plex Media Server scanner will note the change and then wait 60s. If nothing else has changed at that point, it will perform a "Turbo" scan. However, if your content is copying and takes longer than a minute, then it's possible for a situation to occur where the scan occurs before the copy finishes. Subsequent scans would not actually look in the directory because the mtime wasn't updated once the copy finished. The easy solution for that is to not copy the content directly to your content location on the drive. Instead, copy it to another location/folder on the drive first and then when the copying is completed, move it into the standard content location.
How do I use VIDEO_TS or other "disc image" formats for TV content?
Such disc image formats (VIDEO_TS, ISO, IMG, dvdmedia, etc.) are not technically supported for TV content. While you may find various workarounds in the forum that may be acceptable to you to one degree or another, in the long run you will be far better off extracting or encoding each episode into an individual video file and then naming and organizing them according to the Media Naming and Organization Guide.
Why does CPU usage spike for Plex Media Server when it's not doing anything?
The most common cause of this would be when the Plex Media Server reads your iTunes library. This can occur when iTunes is playing music or other content on the same machine that's running the Plex Media Server. In such a case, the iTunes library will occasionally be read to pickup changes in the library, which can cause a brief spike in CPU usage.
Can I see what content is being accessed by clients?
The "Plex Media Server.log" file does contain information about content that gets accessed by clients, but it isn't presented in a user-friendly form. This feature has been requested by users and the developers are aware of desire for it, but the ability to see nice info like this doesn't yet exist within the app(s). There are currently some user-created third-party solutions to provide some of this information such as this script by DodgyGeeza.
How do I add theme music for <insert TV show name>?
Please see the wiki's Theme Music page for information about how to submit a theme clip for a TV show so that it can be added to the Plex servers.
What network ports do I need to allow through my firewall to enable access?
TCP 32400 (for access to the Plex Media Server) [required]
UDP 1900 (for access to the Plex DLNA Server)
TCP 32469 (for access to the Plex DLNA Server)
UDP 5353 (for Bonjour/Avahi if you are using these products for service discovery) [recommended for iOS clients]
How do I access the Plex media management interface?
On all platforms you can access it both from the computer running PMS and by any other device on your network by going to
Once you have published your server to myPlex, the following URL will also work (both from your home network, and any remote network)
On OSX you can also select "Media Manager" from the icon in the Menu Bar
On Windows you can also select "Media Manager" from the icon in the Task Bar
What are the On Deck and Shelf features in the client?
The Shelf in the desktop client consists of two areas of content: "On Deck" and "Recently Added". In the desktop client, these are on the Home screen. For other clients, they may be available on the Home screen or might be accessed within a section just like other filters. But that doesn't explain what they actually do. Think of this Shelf as providing you with the answer to the question, "What do I want to watch?"
For a movie section, On Deck displays movies that were started, but not finished, so they're "in progress", while Recently Added displays movies that you recently added to the section (but aren't also in progress or already completed).
For a TV section, things get even more interesting. Recently Added is pretty much the same, so that's easy. But On Deck is where things get really smart. If you stopped in the middle of the episode, then that one will be there because it's in progress. If you recently finished s03e17 of a series, then On Deck is going to have s03e18 listed since that's the next one in line and it's pretty likely that you might be interested in watching it. The content is also ordered based on what you most recently accessed.
So, taken together, it's very likely that if you ask the question "what do I want to watch?", the Shelf is going to have the answer for you!
How do I install a channel/plugin?
For approved channels, you simply access the "Channel Directory" section of the client (some clients use different terminology such as "Plex Online" or "Channels"). Find the channel you want and install it from there.
Can a client on another computer on my network see my Plex Media Server?
If both computers are on the same local network and the same subnet, Sections from your Plex Media Server should automatically be shared with and seen by other clients on other computers.
How do I access my library remotely using a Plex desktop client?
If you're using the 0.9.5 or newer desktop client, this is easy to do using the myPlex service. On your Plex Media Server, log into myPlex and ensure that you're successfully publishing the server. In the desktop client, log into myPlex. You should now have access to your home Plex Media Server, even on the go. You may wish to adjust the stream quality settings under your desktop client myPlex preferences to correspond with your client and PMS bandwidth capabilities.
How do I access my content based on the directory hierarchy?
Use the "By Folder" filter view when you access the Section in your client. (The same filter menu where you see "Recently Added", "Unwatched", etc.)
This is typically caused by one of two things:
- You have more than one Plex Media Server running on the network and two of them have a section created with the same name. In the default Mediastream skin, you should see a sort of "subtitle" under the section name if you have two sections from two different PMSs.
- You have some "phantom" sections from myPlex showing up for you. One simple way to test that is to sign out of myPlex in the client (Preferences > System > myPlex) - if the duplicate entries disappear, this is your issue.
To fix #2, log into the my.plexapp.com website. Go to "Servers" and you may or may not have a duplicate server listed there. Regardless, click your server name to go into the details and then click the "Remove this server" link and confirm. Repeat that with any duplicate server you have listed. Once all those servers are gone from myPlex, you can go back to your Plex Media Server, open the Preferences and go to the myPlex tab, and then uncheck/recheck the "Publish" checkbox to get your server republished with myPlex.
After entering a section in some of the clients, you'll be presented with an intermediate menu with items such as "Recently Added", "Unwatched", etc. You currently cannot bypass or modify that filter menu. The developers do have plans to alter and improve that functionality, but it is not yet released.
The small menu appears when items have been merged together. This can happen when two separate items are identified as the same movie/TV show, in which case you can right-click and "Split" the items in the Cocoa-based Media Manager on OS X. It can also occur in situations where content gets scanned in at a new location or otherwise rescanned but identified as a new item, which can cause the Plex Media Server to think there are two versions of the item. This cause can usually be resolved by doing a Deep Scan followed by emptying the Media Manager trash.
Why won't VOBSUB or PGS subtitles play on <insert client here>?
DVDs and Blu-rays often store their subtitles in VOBSUB or PGS format, which is actually a series of individual bitmap images of the text. This is the format that will usually be used if you rip a DVD or Blu-ray and choose to include a subtitle track. Such bitmapped subtitle formats are not currently supported for HTTP streaming or transcoding. They should play in the desktop Plex client if the content is directly accessible via the filesystem by the same path used by the Plex Media Server (e.g. the client is locally on the same computer as the PMS or else both computers have the content source mounted identically via the filesystem).
If you need subtitles for other situations (HTTP streaming/transcoding), you're best off going and finding an appropriate SRT subtitle file for the content. See the Subtitle Screencast as well as the wiki's Subtitles Guide.
Why doesn't the <insert name here> plugin/channel work?
This could be due to a few things, but the most common reasons are:
- The website on which the plugin relies has been changed, thus breaking the plugin. This requires that the plugin be updated. Check the regular Plex Channels forum or the developer Channel Development forum for possible information.
- Currently, the Linux Plex Media Server does not support "Flash" and "Silverlight" based plugins. If the plugin relies on one of those technologies and you're running your Plex Media Server on Linux, then the plugin will not work for you.
If you've installed a channel and it doesn't show up in your client, then it's possible that either the channel is not compatible with the client or else has simply not been specifically tested with that client and thus hasn't been marked as compatible. In such a case, you can bypass the compatibility check, but understand that it doesn't guarantee the channel will actually work. To do so, open your Plex Media Server preferences, go to the Advanced tab, and check the "Disable capability checking" box.
Why doesn't VIDEO_TS or similar format content stream to my client?
Such disc image formats (VIDEO_TS, ISO, IMG, dvdmedia, etc.) are not currently compatible with HTTP streaming and thus will not work outside of the desktop client. Even for the desktop client, the content must be directly accessible via the filesystem by the exact same path used by the Plex Media Server. It is generally recommended to not use such disc image formats if you want broad compatibility with Plex clients. Instead, extract or encode the content into a standard video file.
Why do I get "Could not determine input format" errors on the desktop client?
See this section of the troubleshooting page on the wiki.
Why won't the video content I bought on iTunes play correctly?
Video content purchased from iTunes contains Digital Rights Management (DRM). Non-licensed software cannot legally play such DRM-protected content. In practical terms, that means non-Apple software (iTune, Quicktime, Frontrow, AppleTV, etc.) cannot play the content. Thus, Plex cannot legally or technically play such DRM-protected content, unfortunately. The same thing would apply to virtually all "digital copies" that you might get access to when you buy a DVD or blu-ray.
How do I change the watched/unwatched status of something?
In the desktop client, you can manually change the watched/unwatched status of an item in one of two ways:
- Using the "w" key with a keyboard to toggle the status
- Via the "context" menu (accessed with the "c" key or holding the Menu button on most remotes)
For "TV" content, you can also use this to mark entire seasons or even series as watched/unwatched.
How can I see information about video playback in the client?
In the desktop client, you can see real-time information about your video playback by pressing the "i" key. This will overlay info and statistics about the file and will look something like this:
Line 1 is audio stream information
- D: Details of the audio source such as AAC codec, 48kHz, stereo, as well as the bitrate
- P: Playback details including the audio buffer (AQ)
Line 2 is video stream information
- D: Details of the video source such as h.264 codec, the source resolution, and bitrate
- P: Playback details including the video buffer (VQ) as well as how many frames have been dropped (drop)
Line 3 shows some fairly arcane technical details that typically aren't important or useful to users (basically, if you need that sort of info, you'll know what it means).
Line 4 shows the current framerate as well as CPU utilization
If either the AQ or VQ ever reach zero, the buffer is empty and the video will have to rebuffer before continuing.
How do I solve constant audio/video delays?
Some setups that output at "24p" can have small audio/video synchronization issues where the audio is slightly ahead of the video. For such issues in which the sync is constant, you can set a global audio offset for the 0.9.5.2 or newer desktop client.
- In the desktop client, go to 'Preferences > System > Audio'
- Set the "Audio Offset" appropriately. The value is in milliseconds (ms).
The actual value you use will depend on how big of a delay you have.
Why does the desktop client use so much CPU?
The Plex desktop client graphical user interface (GUI) is rendered using OpenGL. Basically, the screen is rendered at 60fps (or, at least, whatever your current refresh rate is) regardless of what's happening on the screen - whether you're moving around the menus or it's sitting still. This doesn't apply when actually playing video; this is referring to the app GUI/menu system. In fact, because of how things can be layered on top of each other to create the screens, there's a great deal of data getting rendered for the screen and many textures being pushed to the GPU. This results in a lot of CPU usage.
This system has been in place basically since the beginning. It was inherited from XBMC and is still in use there. It's the primary reason why Plex consumes what is, frankly, a fairly large amount of CPU cycles when idle or on the menus. The good news, though, is that the XBMC team is working on a "dirty regions" feature that should have a significant impact on this. There are lots of details you can go find if you want, but the thing to take away from "dirty regions" is that the idea is to only have the part of the screen that changed get updated and not keep re-rendering unchanging parts. Thus, it would greatly reduce how much CPU is being used to render screens. Hopefully, once that feature is deployed to release XBMC builds, it can be brought over to Plex at some point.
What is PlexSync?
PlexSync is the first premium feature from Plex. It allows synchronization of content from a Plex Media Server to mobile clients for offline viewing.
Which Plex clients support PlexSync?
Currently, the latest Plex for iOS client supports PlexSync. The Plex for Android client is expected to be updated to add PlexSync support soon. Additional clients may receive PlexSync support in the future, but no specifics have been announced currently.
Is PlexSync free?
PlexSync is currently in beta and is being made available free of charge to PlexPass members during the beta period. The Plex team is still determining specifics as to how PlexSync will be available once the beta period is over.
PlexSync is not active, it states the premium feature is not available
Technically, that's not a question, but we'll overlook that this time. =) Log out of myPlex and back in again on both your device and Plex Media Server. If that doesn't solve it, restart Plex Media Server as well as fully quit/force quit the Plex client app and then restart it on your device.
I read something about PlexSync requiring my server and devices to be connected to myPlex, is this correct?
Yes, myPlex stores the configuration details for PlexSync and effectively co-ordinates the process between your server and your devices.
Can I sync different media items to different devices?
Yes. PlexSync works on a per-device basis, so for each device on which you want data synced you simply select what to sync.
No. Content you share with others or which is shared with you cannot be synced.
Is sync content transcoded by queue or can multiple items transcode simultaneously?
Transcoding is done one item at a time on the server. Keep in mind that transcoding for PlexSync has a lower priority than transcoding for live/active viewing, so PlexSync transcodes won't interfere if you're already watching something that requires transcoding.
Can I speed up the copy part of the sync process by docking my device or is PlexSync WiFi only?
Syncing occurs over Wifi or cellular only. Cellular syncing is disabled by default and may be turned on via the preferences on your device.
How long will offline content be stored on the device after watching it?
This depends on your PlexSync settings for that content. For example, if you have it set to only sync unwatched, the item will stay on the device until it has been watched. It will be removed from the device when a new, unwatched item is available to replace it. If your sync setting is not based on watched status, then the item will stay on your device until you delete it.
How much storage is PlexSync using on my device?
If you go into the PlexSync settings on the device, you can see how much space is currently being used as well as how much space is available. You may also specify a storage limit to determine the maximum amount of space that PlexSync can use if you wish.
Where is the transcode stored on the Plex Media Server?
The Plex Media Server stores PlexSync data for devices here:
- Linux (Debian, Fedora, CentOS, Ubuntu): ~/Library/Application Support/Plex Media Server/Cache/Transcode/Sync
- OSX: ~/Library/Caches/PlexMediaServer/Transcode/Sync
- Windows XP, Windows 2003: %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Plex Media Server\Cache\Transcode\Sync
- Windows Vista, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, Windows 8: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Plex Media Server\Cache\Transcode\Sync
- QNAP: /share/MD0_DATA/.qpkg/PlexMediaServer/Library/Plex Media Server/Cache/Transcode/Sync
- Synology: /Volume1/Plex/Library/Application Support/Plex Media Server/Cache/Transcode/Sync
- ReadyNAS: /c/.plex/Library/Cache/Transcode/Sync
until its transcoded and synced to the device. Then it is removed.
Is the synced content stored anywhere else besides my device?
The transcoded content is on your Plex Media Server until it is synced to your device; at that point the transcoded version is removed from the server and located only on your device. At no time is the transcoded content uploaded to the myPlex servers or anywhere else. The original version of the content will continue to remain on your server, of course.
The PlexSync settings regarding what to sync are stored on the myPlex servers.
Why does the myPlex Bookmarklet keep telling me to log in?
When using the Bookmarklet, some users will receive a message telling them to log into their myPlex account even if they're already logged in via that browser. This most commonly occurs if the myPlex cookie is being blocked. Check your browser preferences and see if you have it set to block "third-party" cookies. If so, you can either turn that preference off or else add "my.plexapp.com" as an exception.
Why can't I find <insert name> under '~/Library/Application Support/' under OS X 10.7 Lion?
Starting with OS X 10.7 "Lion", Apple decided to hide the user Library folder by default. So, in order to access content there, you'll need to use one of the many methods to make it (at least temporarily) visible. This CNET article discusses multiple methods you can use to access the user Library folder.
Why is Plex in <insert language here> and not in <insert language here>?
If you are using Plex 0.9.3.4 (or older versions): Plex looks at what operating system language you are using and chooses that as the primary language (if a translation exists for that language).
If you are using Plex 0.9.5: At the moment the language of Plex is determined by a few settings in guisettings.xml. Take a look at this post to learn how to change language: forum thread
In a future update 0.9.5 will most likely have the same connection to OSX as 0.9.3.4 have. The same is likely for the Windows client.
How do I change the clock in Plex to show a 24-hour clock instead of 12-hour?
Plex looks at what OS X language you are using, and uses the presets for that. If you are using an American English OS X, you need to manually change the clock preset in System Preferences by going into "Language & Text" and click on the tab named "Formats". Change the region to a region which uses 24-hour clock (most likely your own region as you want a 24 hour clock).
If that doesn't work, then you need to look a bit down in that tab and find "Times" and click on the button named "Customize" next to it. At the top of that new window you can click on the number in the first field named "Short". When you click it you will be able to choose "00-23". Click OK and you should now see a 24-hour clock inside Plex.