Plex comes to PS4, bringing with it long awaited media sharing capabilities
Sony has released the Plex app for the PlayStation 4. And while the console still doesn’t have the native DLNA media sharing capabilities fans have been clamoring for, it may be the next best thing.
Below is a guide on how to set it up. There are two ways, one costs money and the other is free.
Throughout the life of the PlayStation 3, one of the features that continuously earned it praise was its ability to act as a media sharing device. More than a decade ago, Sony created the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), a nonprofit collaborative that helped to create a series of guidelines that allowed for the sharing of digital media between multimedia devices. Simply put, DLNA allows you to stream content like a video or audio file from a PC to the PS3, among others.
It was, and remains, one of the highlights of the console. So when the PS4 was announced, it was assumed that DLNA capabilities were a given.
Unfortunately for fans, the console does not natively accept file sharing, and DLNA is nowhere to be found on the device.
Fans were understandably disgruntled by this, and Sony – bewilderingly – claimed it didn’t realize people would care that much. It went on to say that adding DLNA capabilities in a future update was a distinct possibility, but Sony has yet to confirm that it actually will.
In the meantime, the recently released Plex app can act as a DLNA server for you.
To begin with, you need to head over to the Plex website. You’ll need an account, so if you don’t already have one, take a moment to sign up – it’s free.
From there, you need to download the Plex software. You can get it for PC, Mac, Linux, and even FreeBSD HERE. There is also an option for an NAS download.
The software walks you through the installation and setup process. Once it is up and running on your computer, you’ll then need to set up the library. Choose the content you want to stream, and then add it. The process is simple, but you may need to double check some file names. Plex occasionally has issue recognizing symbols in file names.
To test that the media server software is set up properly, open a browser and enter “127.0.0.1:32400/web” into the search bar. It should take you to the Plex server.
Just make sure you have your computer turned on and connected, and you’ll be ready to move on.
The easy way
Sony recently released the PS4 app, which makes things very easy – but there’s a major catch. You’ll need to pay for it.
Plex is promising that in the near future there will be a way to gain access to the app on the PS4 specifically – likely through a separate fee – but for now you’ll have to purchase one of the three Plex passes: Monthly for $4.99, Yearly for $39.99, or a Lifetime membership for $149.99.
When you open up the app on the PS4 you’ll be given a pin number. Follow the instructions and head to the Plex activation website to enter the pin. It will then pair the console and the computer.
It’s easy, simple, and costly.
The free way via a network
While paying is the easiest way to set up streaming via Plex, it isn’t the only way. There are actually two ways to use the Plex app for free, one by streaming content over the Internet, the other through a local network.
The easier of the two methods comes from Wololo.net, and it works by streaming the content over a network.
The first thing you’ll need is to identify your own IP address.
On a PC, open the Start Menu, type “cmd,” and hit enter. That will open the command prompt. Type “ipconfig” and you should see your IP address under “IPv4 Address.” It will generally start with “10” or “192.”
On Mac, do the same thing in the Terminal program.
Once you have that, head over to the PS4 and open the built in browser.
Enter in your IP address in the browser’s search bar, then add “:32400/web.” The result should look like this: http://192.168.1.103:32400/web. That should bring up the Plex interface. Thanks to the browser’s HTML5, you should be able to stream content from there.
The free way via a network
All you need to do is open the Plex website using the PS4’s browser, then log in to your account. Assuming you’ve already set up the Plex software on your computer, and the computer you designated as a server is online, you’re set.
Expect slowdowns, and you may run in to bandwidth limitations though, but that’s the same with most streaming video services.
Regardless of how you set up the Plex server, you may need to change the audio configuration. There has been an issue ever since the PS4 1.70 update, but you can fix it with a quick trip to the settings.
Head to the Settings tab on the PS4 menu. Follow this path Settings > Web > Player > Show Advanced > Prefer AAC Audio.
If you don’t make this change, the video probably won’t load. If you are still having issues, it may be a problem with the video file. MP4s, for example, may occasionally need to be re-encoded with the option to “optimize for web viewing” built in.