I go back all the way to the days of Kodi, formerly known as XBMC, when it comes to how I serve my media. So when Plex came along, it was a game changer because it allowed me to watch my media from any device in the house and from anywhere in the world. Plex has been a fantastic platform . . . until they decided to shift their business model back a few years ago. In my opinion, Plex rolled out their Plex Pass and it just didn’t really have features that were worth the price tag. The only thing I was remotely interested in was device downloads. I was ok in not paying for Plex Pass and just continuing to use the media server as I always have. But then, Plex started to integrate streaming and changing the layout for no good reason. I can remember setting up the Plex app on a family members new Roku and having to spend more time unpinning useless crap than actually logging in and using it. If you haven’t seen lately, Plex says that they have more streaming users than media server users (source). Where will this leave us self-hosters in the next few years? Who’s to say that they won’t start charging a subscription fee for the media server software? Let’s also have a brief mention about the telemetry Plex sends home about how you use their software. What a joke that Plex has become.
Enter Jellyfin. Jellyfin is a fork of Emby, when it was open source back in the day. Luckily Jellyfin has continued the open source spirit and to add amazing features that you would typically have to pay for with Plex. For example, hardware transcoding is free. I can also use the VLC app on my son’s iPad and download offline copies of any movie in just a few taps. Simple, easy.
I will always be grateful to Plex for pushing the self-hosting, home serving platform, but when you start meddling with something that already works, it raises a lot of red flags for me.
What’s the next step? It’s time to start thinking about transitioning my family over to Jellyfin, of course! Here’s what I’m thinking:
- Make sure everything is backed up! I’m thinking about a daily script for this one, as Jellyfin doesn’t have a built-in backup system. Womp womp.
- I’m going to use JFA-GO for both an email-based invite system and self-service password reset tool. I just set this up and it works quite well! I may have to dedicate a small post about the setup because it wasn’t straight forward to me.
- Once these two things are solid and I can vet it, I will start contacting each family member and friend that uses my Plex library, and talk to them about this move. It won’t be super simple but it’s doable.
I mentioned that hardware transcoding was free with Jellyfin earlier. It wasn’t something that was super important to me until I went legit a few months ago and now stream some hefty Blu-Ray quality movie files. Nice to know that this is a free feature I don’t have to pay for and it works really, really well.
This is day 3 of #100DaysToOffload.