Synology Plex Server not found after Synology update to DSM 1.10.1.4602

After updating DSM on my Synology, Plex Media Player was not able to find the Plex Server running there.

Plex Server Not Found

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Plex Server was clearly running as I was able to connect via http://<My Synology>:32400/web/index.html

But it was not responding to any request to display Libraries or to play any Movies… To solve this, I had to :

  1. Stop the package Plex via the DSM Package Center
  2. Log in my NAS as an administrator, in a SSH console, via Putty and enter root mode.
  3. Find Plex process still running via the command: ps -gaceux | grep plex
    1. This command displayed: plex 13150 0.2 0.2 677640 17832 ? Sl Dec17 7:41 Plex Media Server
  4. Kill plex’s remaining process: kill -9 13150
  5. Possibly do also delete the Plex’s Plugin Service as done here.
  6. Start the package Plex via the DSM Package Center

Et voilà.

IMO, the problem was that I didn’t stop properly Plex Package before updating my DSM. The Plex instance running at that time apparently didn’t completely shutdown. But it was not really running fine anymore either. Unfortunately, that instance was preventing a new one to start (as it was still using the port 32400).

Synology Plex Media Server not matching/downloading metadata anymore

Since a few days, My Plex Media Server, hosted on my Synology, was not able to match movies anymore. And when matching movies manually, it was sometimes downloading the covers but never the metadata. Deleting the Service plugin solved the problem.

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I read that IPV6 could be the cause of such a problem, and that turning it off on the Synloloy was the solution. I tried that but without success.

Was solved my problem was to:

  1. Stop Plex via the DSM’s Package Manager
  2. Log in my NAS as an administrator, in a SSH console, via Putty and enter root mode.
  3. Enter Plex’s Plugin folder using a command like: cd /volume1/Plex/Library/Application\ Support/Plex\ Media\ Server/Plug-ins/
  4. Delete the service plugin:  rm -R Services.bundle
  5. Restart Plex via the DSM’s Package Manager

Tips Smart Apps don’t run, update or install anymore on Samsung TV

Yesterday, I discovered that Plex, DS Video and a few other Apps didn’t run anymore on my Samsung Smart TV. I was also unable to install new Apps. After looking for solutions, I finally decided to reset the TV. It solved the problem.

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Most of the Apps installed (except Youtube and Netflix) refused to start. Trying to start an App only resulted in a spinning wheel… spinning for minutes… the TV finally exiting the Smart Hub without having opened the App.

I tried to uninstall some of the Apps and reinstall them next. But it appeared that it was impossible to install any new or previously installed Apps.

I was also unable to update installed Apps although an update was available.

However, network connection was fine (I did use the diagnostic menu of the TV to check it).

Finally, I decided to reinitialize the TV, also using the diagnostic menu. During the reconfiguration, the TV got an update of its system. After the reconfiguration, all preinstalled Apps appeared to work fine. And I was also able to install new Apps and run them.

NB.: Maybe updating the TV system without doing a full reset would have been enough to solve the problem…

Tips Projector losing Raspberry Pi 2’s HDMI signal

When I am watching a movie played with RasPlex (on my Raspberry Pi 2), it happens from time to time (possibly several times during a movie) that my projector loses the HDMI signal. The signal comes back quite immediately but this is a real annoyance. I solved the problem by boosting the HDMI signal in Raspberry Pi 2’s config file.

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I had no issue when playing a movie with my PC or with my ChromeCast, both of them being however connected on the same home cinema amplifier (a Yamaha HTR-4067) as the Raspberry PI 2 and, from there, on the projector (a Benq W1070+) via a long HDMI cable.

The problem became especially unsupportable with 3D movies as not only the signal was lost, but also the projector was coming back in 2D mode. So, I had to set it back in 3D when the signal was recovered.

It was sometimes mentioned on various blogs or forums that the problem could have been with the HDMI cable, with the power supply of the Raspberry Pi 2, with the HDMI port of the amplifier, … But I found the true solution here: boost the HDMI signal in the config file of the Raspberry Pi 2.

While already being in the config file to solve the problem, I took the opportunity to also overclock a bit the Raspberry as documented here. And finally, as I noticed that there was no specific memory size set for the GPU on my Raspberry, which has 1Gb Ram, if fixed that too. It seems to me that the config file used by RasPlex is not fully optimized for the Raspberry Pi 2.

To edit the “config.txt” file, I simply put the SD card of the Raspberry Pi 2 into my Windows PC and opened that file with Notepad++ (it’s located on the root of the card). I ended with a config file like this one (changes are in bold):

#########################################################################
# This file is part of OpenELEC – http://www.openelec.tv
# Copyright (C) 2009-2012 Stephan Raue (stephan@openelec.tv)
# Inspired and partly copied from:
# http://youresuchageek.blogspot.fr/2012/09/howto-raspberry-pi-openelec-on.html
#
# This Program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
# it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
# the Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option)
# any later version.
#
# This Program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
# but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
# MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the
# GNU General Public License for more details.
#
# You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
# along with OpenELEC.tv; see the file COPYING. If not, write to
# the Free Software Foundation, 51 Franklin Street, Suite 500, Boston, MA 02110, USA.
# http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html
#################################################################
# Bootloader configuration – config.txt
#################################################################

#################################################################
# Memory (System/GPU configuration )
#################################################################

# default GPU memory split (do not change if you do not know what you are doing)
gpu_mem=128

# SDRAM size based GPU memory split, uncomment and setup to override ‘gpu_mem’
gpu_mem_256=64
gpu_mem_512=128
gpu_mem_1024=256

#################################################################
# Overclocking settings
# WARNING: Do not change/enable if you do not know what you are doing!
# The System may become unstable or you can have data corruption or
# you can loose your warranty if you set wrong settings
#
# please read: http://elinux.org/RPi_config.txt#Overclocking_configuration
#################################################################

# Overclock mode settings.
#
# default recommended values are: arm_freq | core_freq | sdram_freq | over_voltage
# no overclocking : 700 | 250 | 400 | 0
# mode ‘Modest’ : 800 | 300 | 400 | 0
# mode ‘Medium’ : 900 | 333 | 450 | 2
# mode ‘High’ : 950 | 450 | 450 | 6
# mode ‘Turbo’ : 1000 | 500 | 500 | 6

#arm_freq=900
core_freq=500
sdram_freq=500
over_voltage=2

# set to ‘force_turbo=1’ to disable dynamic overclocking (you can lose your warranty!)
force_turbo=0

# If you have any data corruption using Turbo Mode and overclocking
# try with this setting uncommented
# If this still fails, try to use Medium mode without “over_voltage=2”
# If it ultimately keeps failing, forget about this until it gets fixed
# Use a more conservative mode that will works fine in any cases:
# initial_turbo=30

#################################################################
# Overscan settings
#################################################################

# Make display smaller to stop text spilling off the screen
# see also http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=67&t=15700
# overscan_scale=1
# disable_overscan=1

# Adapt overscan values to your needs
# overscan_left=57
# overscan_right=59
# overscan_top=20
# overscan_bottom=20

#################################################################
# various settings see also: http://elinux.org/RPi_config.txt
#################################################################

# Force HDMI even if unplugged or powered off
# hdmi_force_hotplug=1

# Uncomment to force a console size. By default it will be display’s size minus
# overscan.
# framebuffer_width=1280
# framebuffer_height=720

# Uncomment to force a specific HDMI mode (this will force VGA).
# hdmi_group=1
# hdmi_mode=1

# Uncomment to force an HDMI mode rather than DVI. This can make audio work in
# DMT (computer monitor) modes.
# hdmi_drive=2

# Uncomment to increase signal to HDMI, if you have interference, blanking, or
# no display. Max value = 7
config_hdmi_boost=4

# Uncomment for composite PAL
# sdtv_mode=2

# Uncomment to overclock the ARM. 700 MHz is the default.
# arm_freq=800

#################################################################
# License keys to enable GPU hardware decoding for various codecs
# to obtain keys visit the shop at http://www.raspberrypi.com
#################################################################

# decode_MPG2=0x00000000
# decode_WVC1=0x00000000
# decode_DTS=0x00000000
# decode_DDP=0x00000000

#################################################################
#
# >>>>>>>> RasPlex default settings override <<<<<<<<<
#
#################################################################

hdmi_force_hotplug=1
hdmi_drive=2
gpu_mem_256=64
gpu_mem_512=256
gpu_mem_1024=256
dtoverlay=lirc-rpi
#################################################################
# End of default configuration
# all values below this line were inserted from config.txt.bk (your old config)
# and can be merged with the above values
#################################################################

Tips Play a movie on multiple devices via WiFi-Direct

When going to travel for hours by car with my kids, I usually copy some cartoons on their tablets before leaving. A question which arose recently was: how to play a movie from one tablet on the others, while there is no network in the car. Answer: using BubbleUPnP and Wifi-Direct.

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The question arose as I forgot once to copy cartoons on one of the tablets. Being in the car, I had no Wi-Fi network to connect the devices (no wireless router). And I didn’t want to use a mobile data connection as, being in a foreign country, the cost would have been excessive. So I had to find another solution.

Looking on internet how to share media or files between two devices without Wi-Fi access point, I found that the modern way to go was: wifi-direct.

Connecting devices via wifi-direct was easy as natively supported by Android, as well as iOS (one can find many how-to on internet). But next, how to access the media on other devices was more tricky.

Usually, on mobile devices, I am using:

  • Plex connected via internet to play media from my NAS.
  • Plex to play media synced locally on the device.
  • Plex to play media synced on another device with Plex «advertised» on the LAN, by that device, as a server (see settings of Plex on the mobile device).
  • Archos Video to play media available locally (internal or external strorage) or via FTP, SMB shares or UPnP.
  • Possibly MX Player to play media while directly browsing the storage of the device.

I also used to play media via UPnP with MediaHouse as, just like Plex and Archos Video, it is managing libraries of movies with metadata automatically fetched from internet. But that was before getting support for UPnP within Archos Video.

As Archos Video and Plex are IMO, the very best apps to manage libraries of movies, my hope was to use them. Unfortunately, none of them was able to access media on the other devices using Wi-Fi direct… Plex didn’t see the Plex servers running on the other devices, and Archos Video didn’t even display any menu to access media via network. I think that none of them was aware there was actually a network (WLAN Direct).

As I read that UPnP over Wi-Fi direct was very well supported (it’s now a standard), I thought that a solution could be to use an upnp server/client. My favorite being BubbleUPnP, I gave it a try. And good news, it works like a charm. I was able to play the same cartoon simultaneously on three devices without any hiccup (with MX Video as a player).

That being said, I wrote to the developer of Archos Video and on the Plex forum to ask if playing video with their app via wifi Direct was actually supported (with a trick) or would be soon or later…

Synology Parental Control for Plex on Synology

Many years ago, Parental Control was already a native feature of my previously favorite Media Library Manager: Media Browser – reason why, since I am using Plex (mainly because Plex Media Server runs on my Synology), the lack of efficient support for such Control has been really frustrating. A solution has fortunately been developed by iSh0w, early in 2014, as a plugin named “L0ck”. This plugin is now really pretty mature!

NB.: two days after this post, Plex released native Parental Control as part of their new Plex Home feature… But this is not yet available for Samsung so L0ck still makes sense for me.

[EDIT 12/2015] Later in 2015, a new version of Plex for Samsung has been released, which support user accounts (and hence, Parental Control).

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The only solution currently suggested by Plex to prevent Kids watching inadequate content is to create dedicated Plex Accounts for the kids and only share with those accounts the adequate content. This is totally inconvenient, especially when sharing the same player device such as a TV or a Tablet. Indeed, parents may not forget to “disconnect” the device from their account. Next, kids need to be able to connect with a login/password, which is far from easy for the youngest ones. Definitively, Plex is missing a a true Parental Control!

L0ck plugin for Plex, although(*) not yet the very best solution, should be loved by the thousands of users who voted for such a feature!

(*) You have to re-Lock the libraries before quitting your Plex Client. Libraries are not automatically re-locked after x hours or when Plex Client is restarted… Also, when unlocked, libraries are visible for all the Plex Clients, possibly for other devices that would start Plex! Next, the plugin is unl0cking/l0cking all the Controlled libraries at once (If there is a trick to protect distinct subsets of libraries with distinct passwords, I didn’t find it yet). Finally, restarting the Plex Client is usually required… But still, this is better than nothing or much better than Plex’s suggested approach.

Here is how to install this plugin for Plex on Synology:

  1. Disable the “authentication on local networks” on your Plex Media Server (if enabled)
    1. Go to your Plex Server Administration page http://<YourSynology>:32400/web/index.html#!/settings/server
    2. Click on the entry “Connect”
    3. Click on the button “Show Advanced
    4. Disable “Require authentication on local networks”
  2. Go to the “L0ck” page to download the Plugin customized to lock/unlock some of your Libraries with a password
    1. Type the local IP (LAN) of your Synology
    2. Click “Search For Section(s)!
    3. Select the section(s) you would like control access to.
    4. Enter next Password. Ex.: 4 digits
    5. And click on “Generate Plugin!
    6. Finally click on “Download plugin!” on download a zip with your customized plugin (This is not working with all browsers! Use Chrome).
  3. Deploy the plugin into Plex’s plugin folder after customization for Synology
    1. Unzip the archive downloaded at step 2..F into a temp folder
    2. Open within notepad++ the file <YourTemp>\L0ck.bundle\Contents\Resources\l0ck_support\l0ck.sh
    3. Search and Replace “/var/lib/plexmediaserver” with “/volume1/Plex” and Save the file.
    4. Open next the file <YourTemp>\L0ck.bundle\Contents\Resources\l0ck_support\unl0ck.sh
    5. Search and Replace “/var/lib/plexmediaserver” with “/volume1/Plex” and Save the file.
    6. NB.: No need to change the __init__.py as mentioned on L0ck’s webpage.
    7. Finally Move the folder L0ck.bundle into the hidden Shared folder \\<YourSynology>\Plex\Library\Application Support\Plex Media Server\Plug-ins\
  4. Grant access for plex onto the plugin
    1. Open a Telnet console onto your Synology
      1. Run “telnet” from Windows
      2. Type: open <YourSynology>
    2. Login as ‘root’ with your admin password
    3.  Execute the following commands
      1. cd /volume1/Plex/Library/Application\ Support/Plex\ Media\ Server/Plug-ins
      2. chown -R plex:users L0ck.bundle
      3. cd L0ck.bundle/Contents/Resources/l0ck_support
      4. chmod a+x l0ck.sh
      5. chmod a+x unl0ck.sh
      6. chmod a+x sqlite3
  5. Re-enable the “authentication on local networks” on your Plex Media Server (if it was enabled)
  6. Restart now your Plex Clients and go to the “Channels” where you should see the L0ck” Icon:
L0ck Plugin

L0ck Plugin

Et voilà ;)

NB 1: By default, the libraries to be “controlled” are all unlocked. So, enter the plugin and L0ck them.

NB 2: The display is not the same within Plex Home Theater and Plex Web Client. E.g.: in the Plex Home Theater (for Windows), you see both the icon “L0ck” and “Unl0ck”. In the Plex Web Client, instead, you see only the “L0ck” icon. In the Plex Home Theater, when you click on “L0ck”, nothing seems to happen while in the Plex Web Client, you see an “Locked” icon replacing the “Lock” icon. But you will quickly find your path…

NB 3: Once your have clicked on “L0ck”, you have to restart your Plex Home Theater or refresh your browser if using Plex Web Client. On the opposite, with Plex for Samsung, I don’t have to quit and restart Plex after Unl0cking/L0cking my libraries, even if e.g. unl0cking via the Web Client…

NB 4: To Unlock the libraries with the Plex Web Client (where the “unl0ck” icon is missing), go to the “Channels” page and enter the “L0ck” channel. Then type your password in the Search box and simply hit “enter”.

NB 5: Once a movie started from an unl0cked Controlled library, the libraries can be rel0cked immediately. This is not stopping the movie as you could see when playing a movie within Plex Home Theater and re-locking the libraries via a Web Plex Client. So, based on that finding, I have customized the L0ck plugin to add a new button: “Short Unlock“. This one unl0cks the libraries for 2 minute and then re-locks them automatically. If you are interested in such a feature, you can simply add the following line in unlo0ck.sh, before the last line (with “exit;”):

(sleep 120 ; sh ./l0ck.sh) &amp;amp;amp;amp;

I have submitted this idea to the creator of the plugin (See here). So far, adding a new button does not offer the best user experience with the Plex Web Client due to some technical limitation…

For additional Info: read the FAQ.

On Synology, L0ck plugin’s log file is named “com.plexapp.plugins.l0ckunl0ck.log” and located in \\<YourSynology>\Plex\Library\Application Support\Plex Media Server\Logs\PMS Plugin Logs. It has better be opened with notepad++.

Here is the thread about the release version of the plugin. And here is the thread about the development of the plugin…

Synology Plex Server on Synology DS713+: Cannot load M3U8: 404 not found

When trying to watch a movie streamed by the Plex Server of my DS713+, I used to get an error “Cannot load M3U8: 404 not found” (only on mobile devices or within a browser). This was due to a wrong “temp” directory configured (out-of-the-box) for transcoding purpose.

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Watching movies was working fine with the Plex Theater on my PC.

I had the error message “Cannot load M3U8: 404 not found” only when trying to play movies within Chrome (on a PC or on a tablet).

I read on the web that this error could be due to the NAS struggling with transcoding the movie (which is done or not depending on the client’s spec). Plex clearly states that one needs a dual-core NAS to be able to do transcoding. But I have a DS713+. So it should have been fine

I also read that Plex Theater (on Windows) does not need any transcoding. As it was working fine, I definitively though there should be something wrong with the configuration  of the transcoding…

I did look at the logs of Plex Server (in \\<MyNas>\plex\Library\Application Support\Plex Media Server\Logs) and found that error:

ERROR - Exception handled: boost::filesystem::temp_directory_path: Not a directory: "/volume1/Plex/tmp_transcoding"

Checking directly on the NAS via telnet, I found that the right path should have been /volume1/Plex/Library/tmp_transcoding (Notice: “Plex” starts here with a upper case although the related shared folder accessible via SMB starts with lower case!!!)

So, I did force that correct value via the Plex server web interface > Settings > Transcoder > Show Advanced Settings > Transcoder temporary directory.

And BINGO !!!