If you’re looking for a frictionless way to to get your movies and TV shows from your PC to your HDTV, Plex Media Center + Chromecast is the most elegant and hassle-free way to get the job done.
Why You’d Want to Do This
There are a multitude of ways to get media from your computer onto your television set. You can hook your computer right up to your TV with the proper video cable. You can use an Apple TV and stream local videos more than one way. You can turn a Raspberry Pi into a little media center and hook it up to your TV.
While those options are great, it’s tough to beat the combination of low price ($35) and ease of use offered by Google’s Chromecast streaming device. When you couple that low price and ease of use with the free and powerful Plex Media Server platform, you get a serious powerhouse solution that makes selecting and casting your own media to your TV as simple as sending over a YouTube video or picking out something to watch on Netflix (and just as polished, at that).
If you have a lot of local media content you want to watch on your TV and you want to do so simply and inexpensively, you really can’t beat the combination. Let’s look at what you need to get started and how to use it.
What You Need
Although this solution might be the easiest to use one you’ll ever come across, that doesn’t mean it sets itself up. Before we get to the how-to-use part, let’s run through what you’ll need to follow along.
In addition to the convenience of slinging your local media to your home TV with the Plex + Chromecast setup, you can take the whole show on the road. As long as your Plex Media Server is configured for remote access (or you have remote access to any other Plex Media Server, like a friend’s), you can remotely stream from that Plex media server to any Chromecast.
Just connect your Chromecast to the same network as your laptop or phone, and you’ll be able to browse your remote server and cast the content. It’s just as easy as pulling up Netflix and sending the content over to a friend’s Chromecast when you’re visiting their house. The only real limitation on the whole arrangement is how good your home internet connection’s upload rate is.
If you find the playback is choppy, you can always manually turn the bitrate down. Remember when we mentioned adjusting the video quality in the last section? While you’d rarely (if ever) use this function on your home network–as most Wi-Fi setups are more than powerful enough to handle high quality local video streaming–you may need to adjust it when you’re on the road.
While using either the web-based interface or the mobile app, locate the little icon that looks like three sliders, as seen in the screenshot below.
You can click on the slider icon to adjust the video playback settings. Low the kbps until playback stuttering or other playback issues are resolved.
That’s all there is to it. With a little setup and a briefing on where the relevant settings are, you can take create a smooth phone-to-TV experience with your own media that rivals using a polished streaming service.