Media Server choices: Twonky versus Plex


#1

I am currently using the Twonky Media Server v7.2.9-1 that came installed on my DL4100.

However, I’ve run into some issues with reading mp4 files created with the latest version of Leawo Blu-Ray Ripper v7.3.0.3.  I haven’t been able to find a solution for that; although, I’m still working with Leawo.

I am considering switching to Plex Media Server instead of Twonky.  Are there PROs and/or CONs to such a switch.  I have seen multiple comments regarding Plex, including relatively technically demanding setup and inability to remove the application if it doesn’t work out well.

One specific question I have:  If I switch to Plex, can I (or should I or do I need to) remove Twonky Media Server?  If the answer is yes, then how do I do that?

Thanks.


Can't update Plex Media server
#2

Twonky works fine on my DL2100.  It streams anything I want flawlessly via the My Cloud app on phones and tablets and to my WDTV.  Other apps can do same on mobile devices.

I recently installed PLEX on my NAS to see what all the fuss is about.  Bottom line – I do not need it, since I have a WDTV, Roku and other such devices.  I find it to be a bit overblown and more than I need because of the other devices I have that can organize my media for streaming.  I have not removed PLEX from my NAS, but I do have it turned off.  Every once in a while I have turned it back on to see it operate and try to see if I am overlooking some great feature of it.  So far, I haved’t seen anything special.

As I mentioned in another thread to you, Twonky is not the problem; I think the new version of your ripper could be the problem.  Why not try a different one and see how things go.  Many people here use the program DVD Fab.  I use different ones that do the job for me.


#3

This is a great question and like a lot of things, it is very subjective.

Go Twonky if…:

  • If you are like mike27oct with Roku, WDTV and other goodies set up, Twonky is a great choice as it’s very straight forward and does the job. No fancy shanzy stuff…just ABC-123. Rip, Upload, and Play. (Without the metadata) But most don’t care about having all the info about the DVD as if you’re watching “Avatar,” you’ll probably know that well…you’re about to watch “Avatar.” LOL

Go PLEX if…:

  • If you are a casual user who wants to just stream media from your Computer or NAS (you can choose your server) to your Mobile Devices / Phablets etc… with the ease of not having to worry about any file conversion, Plex is a great choice as it does all the transcoding for you. So when you upload that .mkv file to your server, Plex will then do it’s magic in converting that to whatever it needs to for it to play on your device. On the mobile app, you can also select the quality to maximum and or as low as 1Mbps and it looks great even on the lowest setting. (In the event you’re in an area that doesn’t have LTE and your stuck on 3G for example…you can decrease the Mbps accordingly to accommodate for the crappy signal, in hopes to prevent buffering…)

  • It has a much prettier interface that does all the decorating for you in terms of retrieving all the metadata, movie covers etc…all for you. Whereas with Twonky if you were to just rip your DVD and place the file on your server, it will do just that, which in 99.9% of the cases that’s all we really want. It just does job.

  • However, with PLEX unless you pay for the subscription, it’s useless because it only plays for 1 minute before it stops on your mobile device.

There are a ton of more pro’s and con’s to both …but it really boils down to your preference and style of use. I would recommended just trying out both, though there isn’t much to try with the Plex unless you’re paid, but most often times than not the pretty interface will win you over to pay for a subscription. It’s really nicely done.

I personally have both…and use both…and I find myself using Plex more than Twonky and that goes for the entire family as well.


#4

If you have PS and XBox devices, Plex is the way to fly. Plex Pass needed to fly 2.


#5

@Bill_S: I think this one should float to the top as How To


#6

I think that Leawo has helped me to solve the problem of Twonky not reading my MP4 files ripped with Leawo Blu-Ray Ripper.

The MP4 files that I made using the old version (7.2.1.4) of leawo Blu-Ray Ripper apparently defaulted to H.264 video codec for MP4 files.  Twonky is able to read those files.

The new version (7.3.0.3) of Leawo Blu-Ray Ripper defaulted to MPEG4 video codec.  Twonkey apparently cannot read those MP4 files.  I have changed the default video codec to H.264 in v7.3.0.3 Blu-Ray Ripper and I am in the process of ripping a DVD now.  I will post the result.


#7

SUCCESS!

It appears that Twonky can’t (but Roku and perhaps other media servers can) read MP4 files that use the MPEG4 video codec.  Twonky could not read two MP4 movie files ripped to an MPEG4 video codec but could read the same 2 movies ripped to MP4 with an H.264 video codec.

My Roku system can read both MP4 file types.  I’ll bet Plex can also.

I still plan to give Plex a try to see if I like it.


#8

Congrats! Good detective work!

WHo knows why they mad the default to MPEG4, when it was previously .264. DId you ever find out why?

Many people use the free and highly regarded Handbrake program to make mp4 videos, and by the way, it’s default mp4 format is h.264.  Give Handbrake a try.  It is what I use.


#9

What Leawo did was to allow the user to select the video codec.  I never did select.  But in the older version it apparently defaulted to H.264 and in the newer version it had defaulted to MPEG4.  Leawo has a program that allows one to examine a video file and determine its parameters.  When I used that program I determined that all the DVDs I had ripped before July 1st (when I upgraded to new version) had used the H.264 codec.  All the MP4 files I had made after the 1st had used the MPEG4 codec.

When I learned that, it was a simple matter to go into the new version of Leawo Blu-Ray Ripper and select H.264 as the video codec for MP4 files.

BTW, for my purposes I have learned that Blu-Ray discs are best ripped to MKV files and DVDs to MP4 files.  At least with the Twonky media server, Blu-rays ripped to MP4 files exhibit discontinuous panning scenes.  When ripped to MKV files they do not.  Additionally, DVDs ripped to MKV files do not stream well to my TVs as well as the same DVDs ripped to MP4 format.  I don’t know if this is a general phenomenon or one limited to my system and equipment.


#10

I installed Plex Media Server without too much difficulty.  However, when I first launched it from the DL4100 dashboard, it told me an update was available.  I downloaded it but could not install it.  No application to install a *.bin file.  So I gave up without fooling around with it.  My presumption is that it will update automatically on the DL4100.  Does anyone know?

Establishing settings was pretty easy.  Mostly I just went with the apparent default settings.  I had the most difficulty pointing the application to my video files.  It took me about 15 minutes of fiddling around on the Plex dashboard before I stumbled on the “add library” button.  From that point it was pretty automatic as the application quickly discovered and loaded all my movies and home videos.

At this point I’m mostly interested in streaming movies to several TVs in my house on my CAT6 network.  I went to a TV and started DLNA and there it was, “PlexMediaServeronWDMyCloudDL4100.”  And there were all my movies.  Although I have categorized them in folders on the DL4100, Plex also categorized them.  I can access my categorization by going to “folders.”  Or I can use the Plex categorization.

Plex does not seem to have the fussiness regarding video codecs that started my little adventure.

Will update as I discover warts or good things.


#11

One thing obvious to me that gives an advantage to Plex:  Whenever I add an MP4 movie to the media folder, I have to rebuild the Twonky data base which takes 5 to 10 minutes.  That isn’t required for MKV files.

With Plex, it seems as though movies (MKV or MP4) are incorporated into the Plex data base as soon as I add them to the media folder.  No rebuilding a database.


#12

OK, that explains things, although I have read in more than one place that the defacto standard today is h.264.

    BTW, for my purposes I have learned that Blu-Ray discs are best ripped to MKV files and DVDs to MP4 files.  At least with the Twonky media server, Blu-rays ripped to MP4 files exhibit discontinuous panning scenes.  When ripped to MKV files they do not.  Additionally, DVDs ripped to MKV files do not stream well to my TVs as well as the same DVDs ripped to MP4 format.  I don’t know if this is a general phenomenon or one limited to my system and equipment.

I do something similar.  For DVDs, I make ISO files (via AnyDVD) that play directly via the WDTV media player to TV and appear as DVDs w/menus, etc.

For BD, I rip to ISO w/AnyDVDHD and then make mkv using Bytecopy for TV viewing via WDTV.  From the mkv I can make mp4/m4v files w/Handbrake to play on tablets. Some BD mp4s can challenge the various playback devices and networks, but using my 5G wireless helps it all work fine.

I can make mp4/m4v files w/Handbrake directly from DVD ISO files for the tablets, and tablet files from them are not as complex as ones from BD, and work fine.


#13

   Whenever I add an MP4 movie to the media folder, I have to rebuild the Twonky data base which takes 5 to 10 minutes.  That isn’t required for MKV files.

Interesting that I noticed this, too, last night with my DL2100.  I have an app on my Kindle tablet called Avia, and it did not see my newest mp4 additions, although the WD My Cloud app had no problem.  Rescan media did not help, but Rebuild the media DB did.  Indicating to me that the Avia app reads the NAS differently than the My Cloud app, and Rebuild helped the Avia app get back in step!  Weird.


#14

Does anyone know how to udate/upgrade Plex?

When you install Plex from the MyCloud NAS Dashboard and launch it from the dashboard for the first time to configure it, it shows you that there is an available update.

But I haven’t yet figured out how to install the update.  It’s a *.bin file and my system doesn’t know how to open the file.  Whether you download and save the file or selct to “Run” the file, it won’t install.

I guess you want to install it to the NAS.  So running/opening/installing it on your desktop isn’t what you really want to do.  Maybe it updates itself automatically on the NAS, but it’s difficult to say.

Any ideas?


#15

Found the anser for Updating Plex.  it works perfectly:

1.  Download the update for your WD NAS to your computer(a *.bin file).

2.  Open your My Cloud User Interface.

3.  Navigate to the Apps Page.

4.  Select “Add a new App” (the small box with a “+” on the lower left.)

5.  Select “Manually add a new App.”

6.  Navigate to where you downloaded the update file (*.bin).

7.  Select the *.bin update.

8.  Follow instructions from there.

Good Luck.


#16

Thanks, trying this now, it installed and currently lots of NAS drive activity noise as I presume Plex is updating it’s database.  App page indicates the new version is installed, so once disk activity settles down will check it out further. 

Added later:  I actually had to go into Plex dashboard and tell it to update the database, and all seems fine.


#17

Hmmm…  I didn’t seem to have to go to the extra step of updating the data base.  BTW, on the settings home page of Plex it shows that my version is current.


#18

Maybe I was being impatient.  Will see what happens next time.


#19

rodmichael, That is one thing that I really like about Plex as it does all the encoding for your flawlessly. This is the main reaason why everyone in my household (7 people) all use Plex over any other media streaming method.

Kudos on the updating directions…I’ve given you a well deserved star for that one…


#20

Hi,

I use a PR4100 and I,am not happy with Twonky. There is a known issue about the music “by folder” view. For me a no go.

Now i installed Plex and begin to config. I scanned two Folders, but on my DLNA Streamer all Folders Music, Photo, Video are empty.

Is Plex a DNLA Server?

thank you