Share and stream media (Part 2) - Stream away to an Android device

5/5/2012 9:19:45 AM

PART2: Stream away to an Android device

One solution to take your stuff with you

1.     Install the Plex Server

Description: Install the Plex Server

We've used Plex as our streaming server. It's available for Android, iOS, LG Smart devices and Windows and Mac OS X desktops. Go to, grab a copy of the server for your version of Windows and install it on the system that's going to be the server. You'll need to point it to your media folders and let it scan them.

2.    Install Plex on a device

Description: Install Plex on a device

We're looking at Plex on the Android platform, since that covers the widest range of available phones and tablets. The app itself costs just £3 and it's also available on iOS for £2.99, so no one actually needs to miss out. Fire up the Wi-Fi on the device, connect it to the network and allow it to detect the server and connect.

3.    Configure Plex

On the server, Plex lives in the Notification Area. Double-click it and the browser-based interface appears. Click the 'Preferences’ button in the top right and then select ‘myPlex’. There's an option to create a Plex account so servers can be automatically allocated. We recommend that you do this.

4.    Ports forward

Description: Ports forward

If you have a terrible router (we mean one that says it supports UPnP but doesn't), then it's likely you'll need to forward ports on it yourself. You'll need to be able to access your broadband router, usually by entering its IP address in a web browser. The site http:// has specific instructions for a range of models.

5.    Hotspot testing

Description: Hotspot testing

We're going to assume you have enough wherewithal to stream content on your local server. The system is designed to auto detect and play nicely. To test it from the outside world if you have a mobile phone with a data allocation, fire it up and either run Plex directly on it if it's an Android device or use it as a Wi-Fi hotspot.

6.    Bandwidth testing

Description: Bandwidth testing

Now try streaming video. If testing HD you'll run into bandwidth and decoding issues. The Plex server provides transcoding to help reduce bandwidth usage, and on the device you're able to specify the rates used for 3G transfer, alongside Wi-Fi connections, but anything external to your network shouldn't exceed the upload speeds.

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