Plex is a great free way to deliver local music/TV/movie content from your computer(s) to your TVs, smartphones, tablets, and browsers.
There are free Plex apps on several of our media devices: the Roku boxes, smartphone/Chromecast, and TiVo.
But my first Plex app was the unofficial PleXBMC addon for my $35 Raspberry Pi computer, running on free Raspbmc media center software.
Raspbmc was an adaptation of XBMC (Xbox Media Center) software for the Pi. XBMC was later renamed Kodi.
Today, Raspbmc has become OSMC (Open Source Media Center), and is still based on Kodi. The PleXBMC addon still works, though the developer has not updated it in awhile.
Here is a preview.
I am also taking this opportunity to show how I have set Plex up to organize my Windows-automated online recordings of the locally-produced weekend KWGS music shows (see the previous cord-cutting post)
Read on after the screenshots…
How to organize home-recorded radio shows for Plex:
I will demonstrate by adding my KWGS recordings of “Jazz Night in America” to Plex.
They are on my Windows Desktop in a folder called 1JazzNightInAmerica, with names like JNIA20150704.mp3.
For Plex, each .mp3 needs to be in a separate folder, so that Plex will see them as “albums”. We will name each folder the same as the .mp3 name. My simple naming convention allows them to be put in order by date.
Right-click an .mp3 in Windows Explorer, select “Rename” from the context menu, and use Ctrl-C to copy the show name. Then right-click on the leftmost space within the right pane of Explorer, create a New Folder, then do Ctrl-V to paste in the name of the show. Finally, move the .mp3 into the new folder of the same name. Do this for all the .mp3s.
I created a new folder in Windows Explorer under “Music” called “Jazz Night in America (KWGS)” to be consistent with the naming of the other KWGS shows. (I configured Plex to look for new music in the Music folder when I installed it on this PC.)
Now I move one of the folders from 1JazzNightInAmerica into it.
Plex will detect it eventually, but to snap it up, I tell Plex to Update Libraries. Now I see an [Unknown Artist]/[Unknown Album] under “Recently Added Music”. I ignore it for now and go to my Music Library on Plex where I see a list of artists. Scroll down and find “Unknown Artist”. This will now be renamed.
Click the pencil icon for the [Unknown Artist] to edit. Type “Jazz Night in America (KWGS)” into the Artist slot. I copy and paste that same text into the “Sort Artist” field as well. You may, if you wish, add genre Tags (I selected “Jazz” and “Contemporary Jazz”).
You may also add a Poster image and a Background image for this artist. I usually look for official images associated with the show. You need only enter the URL of an image and it will be imported into Plex (but go ahead and save them to your PC as well for future use). I found a photo of host Christian McBride with his bass, and the JNIA logo to use as the background.
I now have a new “Artist” listed as “Jazz Night in America (KWGS)”. Click that artist icon. This artist has one [Unknown Album] so far. Edit the album by clicking the pencil icon on it.
The path to the .mp3 is visible under the Info tab. Copy the intended album name from the path, in this case, “JNIA20150704”. Paste it into both the Album and Sort Album slots under the General tab.
(Optionally, you may also wish to add the same image you used for the artist Poster above; it must already be saved on your PC to do this. Plex uses it for display in some views if it is there. I found that if I added the image to this first album, Plex added it to the rest of the albums I added later.)
I now have a new Artist with one properly named Album to his credit.
At this point, I cut and paste the remaining folders from the Desktop folder into Music/Jazz Night in America (KWGS) folder.
I then tell Plex to Update the Music Library again. When complete, Recently Added Music shows a bunch of new [Unknown Artist]/[Unknown Albums].
You must edit each one, but it is easier this time. For Artist, just type in “Ja”, which will be sufficient to bring up a small list of matching artists from your library. Select “Jazz Night in America (KWGS)”. Click the Info tab and copy the name of this album (e.g., JNIA20150711) from the path, and paste it into Album and Sort Album under the General tab. Save Changes.
The latter process was a bit laborious, since I had so many shows already recorded. It’s not so much work if you are just beginning to record a weekly show.
Here is Mr. McBride and his shows. Now I can go to any of my devices with Plex and listen!
I hope this is helpful to someone, somewhere.