How Well Does Plex Run on Raspberry Pi?

Plex is a popular media server software that enables users to organize and stream their multimedia libraries, such as movies, TV shows, music, and photos, from a local or remote location. Raspberry Pi is a powerful and versatile single-board computer capable of running various applications, making it an attractive option for running Plex. This article explores how well Plex runs on a Raspberry Pi, examines its performance and limitations, and provides an overview of setting up a Plex server on a Raspberry Pi.
1. Raspberry Pi Performance with Plex
Raspberry Pi models, such as Raspberry Pi 3, 3B+, and 4, have enough processing and networking capabilities to run Plex efficiently. While earlier Raspberry Pi models might work, they could struggle with limited processing power and bandwidth. Here is an overview of the benefits and limitations:
- Benefits: Raspberry Pi provides a low-cost and energy-efficient solution to running a Plex server, thanks to its small form factor, processing power, and advanced networking options.
- Limitations: While Raspberry Pi delivers sufficient performance for running a Plex server, it may struggle when it comes to transcoding high-resolution video content (e.g., 1080p or 4K) in real-time. Raspberry Pi is better equipped to handle direct streaming, where no transcoding is required.
2. Setting Up a Plex Server on Raspberry Pi
To set up a Plex server on your Raspberry Pi, follow these steps:
a. Download and install the Raspberry Pi OS, as outlined in previous articles.
b. Update the Raspberry Pi's package list and software by running the following commands in the terminal:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
c. Enable the required repositories and install the Plex Media Server software on your Raspberry Pi:
curl // | sudo apt-key add -
echo "deb // public main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/plexmediaserver.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install plexmediaserver
d. Configure the Plex Media Server:
- Replace "plex" with your Raspberry Pi username in the configuration file: `sudo nano /etc/default/plexmediaserver.prev` and save the changes.
- Restart the Plex server using the command: `sudo systemctl restart plexmediaserver.service`
e. Access the Plex web interface by navigating to "//:32400/web" in a browser.
f. Follow the Plex setup wizard to create a Plex account, add libraries, and configure the server as desired.
3. Recommendations for Optimal Performance
For the best performance of the Plex server on Raspberry Pi, consider these recommendations:
- Use Raspberry Pi 4 for better processing and networking performance.
- Ensure a stable and reliable internet connection with sufficient upload and download speeds.
- Use external storage devices, such as USB drives or Network Attached Storage (NAS), for storing multimedia files.
Plex can run smoothly on Raspberry Pi models such as Raspberry Pi 3, 3B+, and 4. Although transcoding high-resolution video content might experience limitations, Raspberry Pi provides an affordable and efficient alternative to other Plex server options. By following the outlined steps, you can set up a Plex server on your Raspberry Pi, convert it into a capable media server, and enjoy streaming content from your multimedia library to various client devices. While there might be limitations, Raspberry Pi's cost-effectiveness, energy efficiency, and compact footprint make it an attractive option to explore for running Plex.