I bought an Nvidia Shield (2017 model) on sale for $140 at the end of 2018 and am amazed by how much this tiny device can accomplish. It’s connected to our 58″ 4K Samsung TV and became the hub for our family’s media consumption, though getting things to that point was quite more involved than I would have liked. Here are some notes to maximize your experience while minimizing the hassle to get there. I later bought then 2019 Pro model to benefit from the AI 4K upscaling. Most of this entry applies regardless of the model.
1. Use a USB Hard Drive so that Plex Can Scale as a Stable Media Server, Up to a Point
In the past I went back and forth between running Plex and Emby on my PC, but I really wanted to move that task off my desktop which was one of the reasons why I bought the Shield in the first place. Shields come with Plex Media Server (PMS) pre-installed, so this is the option I went with.
PMS works well on the Shield (though there have been some Shield-specific issues such as local assets not showing) but if you have a large library, you do NOT want to set it up on the feeble 16GB of internal storage, as you’ll fill that in a hurry with all the media metadata, even if you turn off video thumbnails in your libraries’ advanced settings. I also went through two Sandisk USB keys but the whole thing would always end up flaking out at some point.
What eventually brought sanity and stability to the whole thing was to:
- Hook up a USB hard drive to the Shield. I freed up an old 2TB Western Digital drive I had on my network. The sweet spot for best price/TB these days is with the 14TB WD Elements hard drive. Adopt it as emulated internal storage.
- Install PMS from scratch and move it to the external drive (that pretends to be internal) before you load media to your libraries, otherwise it takes forever or outright fails.
- Then and only then add media to your libraries.
You can also mount remote drives on the Shield which will let you load them in PMS. I have cloud storage mounted on my PC (V: 64TB drive), then mounted in my NAS, then loaded in Plex Server, then played seamlessly on my Shield or phone, how cool is that?!
Do not let your attached hard drive get completely full, otherwise your Shield will badly crash. Ask me how I know.
We access Plex via various devices either through apps (e.g. on a 4K Fire Stick in one of the bedrooms) or the Plex web app, and of course on the Shield itself. My focus is on using Direct Play on the local network with a few clients, not transcoding to my extended friends and family which would require a beefier server.
If you don’t like Plex or like researching options until you drop, see Plex vs. Emby vs. Jellyfin.
2021 update: I moved Plex Media Server to a Docker container on my Synology DS920 NAS as my collection, now at 150TB and counting, had become a strain for the Shield as a server. It’s great that you can have a sizable library managed on the Shield, but expectations should be reasonable and for huge libraries it’s not a substitute for a more powerful device.
2. Plex Library Pro Tips: Movies, TV Series, Documentaries, Video Tutorials, Sports, And More
This part became so huge that I spun it off into its own entry explaining how to turn Plex into the ultimate media server. These tips apply to all devices that can run Plex Media Server, not just the Shield.
3. Media Players: Stick to Plex & Android Apps for Ease of Use While Kodi is Where It’s at for Extreme Customization
I like Plex as a server, but the media player can feel a bit limited. Kodi on the other hand is infinitely configurable thanks to all its settings, skins, and addons, and handles more content types. Among the most useful additions to core Kodi, I recommend:
- PlexKodiConnect, a better approach than the official Plex for Kodi solution. Bear in mind though that this adds more GBs of metadata for your Shield to handle, making the external hard drive requirement only more important.
- Arctic Zephyr 2: good-looking and very flexible skin that eventually stopped being supported by its author, with someone else then spinning Artic Zephyr 2 Resurrection. The whole widget / submenu / submenu widget logic takes some time to get used to, but it lets you lay out your content exactly the way you want to. Do back up your skin settings when you have something you like, as it’s pretty easy to lose a lot of work with a couple of operator errors or because of crashes.
- Trakt.tv lets you keep track of what you’ve watched and liked. You can also access public lists and create your own, which you can turn into skin widgets via OpenMeta. Lesser-known alternatives: TV Time, Simkl.
- The MovieDB helper – details about movies, shows, actors. I use it to load Trakt lists (e.g. stuff that my wife watches by herself).
- Library Node Editor – use this if you don’t want your stand-up comedy or documentaries mixed with fiction TV series.
- Lazy TV – I use this to be able to automatically play the next episode of a series at the end of the one I just finished watching. (Similar functionality is built in Plex.)
Google Music EXP. We used to have a Google Music family subscription which I found was fantastic value for the money. Of course in their infinite wisdom Google had to mess up a good thing, and YouTube Music is such as pathetic replacement it’s not even funny. I just moved to Spotify Premium Family and it’s unlikely I’ll look back. I haven’t tried to put Spotify in Kodi, I’m happy to just use the Android TV app. Spotify works well with a variety of devices via Spotify Connect.
- Youtube – I gave up for the time being after Google put some restrictions that killed the default option. There are some workarounds but I’m fine using Youtube outside or Kodi or via Chromecast.
- Google Drive to directly access cloud content.
- Git Browser to install plugins directly from the source.
- When things go wrong, you’ll want to access the logs at:
Warning: do NOT go crazy with addons! Some of them are memory hogs and I slowed my system to a crawl a couple of times until I went through a disabling spree. Install only a few addons at a time, keep only those you actually use, and monitor your Kodi performance before installing more stuff. Playing large video files requires significant amounts of free RAM.
I was able to stream 4K content from the cloud with only occasional, slight stuttering or pausing after changing Kodi’s AdvancedSettings.xml as described here (though cloud streaming randomly just won’t work, which can be quite frustrating).
Finally, the following have intriguing possibilities but in some cases I haven’t figured out how to best use them in combination with widgets and submenus:
- Skin Helper Service Widgets (URL arguments) and Library Data Provider – Add different ways to display library content.
- OpenMeta & OpenInfo – Another way you can load Trakt lists into Kodi, then play selected items from a local library. OpenMeta seems to require a fair bit of memory.
- Auto Widget (video) – can let you randomize widgets a la Netflix. Haven’t used it yet.
- Smart playlists – not sure how to use them yet but I feel they might help me do some of things I haven’t managed to do.
- Search lists (video) – ditto.
To fully customize menu interactions, you can set up actions manually by calling built-in GUI functions such as as ActivateWindow(), by using a custom item (at the bottom of options for “Action > Choose item for menu”), like this:
There are more advanced things I’ve not been able to do yet, such as:
- Setting up a widget / widget submenu combo to directly browse movies by actor or director.
- Hiding watched content in widgets.
- Casting PVR and addons to other devices.
- Synchronizing watched status from Trakt to Plex, which you want to do in case you reset your Plex libraries.
- Mimicking in Kodi the Plex player’s ability to play theme music for TV shows. There’s tvmelodies and probably a couple similar solutions that require you to download theme mp3s manually. That’s too much work!
If all the above sounds too complicated, start by reading this skin widget setup tutorial.
What’s the takeaway? You can go crazy molding Kodi to your unique requirements, but it’s easy to make it unstable and the whole endeavor can turn into a real timesink. If you want something that just works, stick to the Plex UI. The latter has been improving with goodies such as native support for subtitles and may well meet your needs as is, though its poor search is frustrating.
And if running a media server is overkill for your needs, MX Player does a good job letting you browse a folder hierarchy – including mounted network folders – without any extra fuss. It’s likely that your more advanced setup will break at some point, so it’s good to have a plan B (for Basic) in a pinch. Plex for instance authenticates your local server against their cloud service, injecting several unnecessary external points of failure even when all you want is to play local content on a local device.
4. IPTV: An Entire Universe of Its Own. With Hit-and-Miss Quality and Overwhelming Quantity, Curation Is Recommended.
4.1. With Some Work You Can Create Your Own Cable Grid: Tivimate, m3u, EPG
On the frontend side, hardcore IPTV users seem to prefer the separate TiviMate app rather than Kodi. I started using it recently and like it so far. It does feel more responsive than Kodi so it’s a good option if you don’t mind using separate frontends to access your media library vs. the PVR/IPTV side. TiviMate is reasonably customizable and has a dedicated subreddit. A few observations after giving it a spin:
- Some of its options are hidden at first sight, you’ll want to long press on the remote and move your cursor around to display the contextual media player bar and the side menu.
- You can record programs with TiviMate, either live or scheduled via Custom Recording, though there’s no way to make it recur (PVR Live has support for “series recording”).
- Unlike TVIrl or EPiG, with Tivimate Android TV integration remains on the wish list so the app’s content won’t show on the Nvidia’s home screen or Play Next section.
Any IPTV player is of course only as good as the IPTV source(s) you feed into it, i.e. stream playlists (typically m3u) and program guides (EPG) to match the streams to a program grid like you’d have on a cable set top box. Reliable IPTV providers are a bit like Fight Club, so I won’t mention anything here, instead focusing on what to do in case you do find good sources, as it’s only part of the equation.
Putting together a user-friendly IPTV experience becomes even more complicated if you’d like to watch TV from multiple countries and in multiple languages. In that case, you’ll really want to curate the many channels you’re interested in – leaving out everything else that you don’t care for – into a clean, well-organized guide. When sitting on the couch you don’t want to have to wade through the hundreds of local network affiliates available in the US alone. This initial selection and organization work is best done on a computer where you can preview channels (I recommend MyIPTV as VLC doesn’t load EPG files) and manage what to do with each one using a third party tool such as:
- m3u4u: a free “m3u editor with EPG as a bonus feature. Epg must be used with its associated m3u4u playlist, not in isolation as a primary source of EPG.”
- EPG.Best – costs between 1 and 4 euros per month to consolidate up to 1,000 channels into up to 7 m3u files. Their pitch is that it will save you the hassle of looking up and assigning TVG-ids manually to fill up your program grid. It does look like a real time saver in some cases, though only some people will have a need for something like this. One option I like is to tell apart or outright filter out VOD series and movies, which I find useless for my own purposes as I’ve built something vastly superior in Plex.
- XMLTV.se – free, not sure how comprehensive it is. vProfil XMLTV is similarly free but it’s only a partial list that’s mostly listing European channels. I’m sure there are others like these out there.
4.2. What About IPTV in Plex?
Plex used to support IPTV via plugins but they no longer work. There are some workarounds though.
First, you could feed the .ts files recorded by TiviMate back into Plex if you wanted, though the results are likely to be messy because the resulting file names have a date and timestamp, but don’t feature episode or season numbers like favored by Plex agents, and all files are dumped in the same main folder. I think TiviMate Premium supports up to 5 devices with a single purchase, but that’s still constraining vs. dumping recordings in a Plex library. Even if the metadata indexing is going to be limited, this at least gives you the ability to do rudimentary catch up TV in Plex.
The second, more sophisticated option is to route your playlists via a proxy like xTeVe or Telly. This does work with the Live TV/DVR functionality coming with Plex Pass, as if you were running an actual DVR such as HDHomeRun. Read this guide for details. I might give this a spin as a docker container on my NAS at some point as the ability to merge m3u files could come handy, as well as restreaming.
There’s another way to blend IPTV with Plex by using dizquetv to turn Plex libraries into pseudo live TV channels. I have zero interest in using this myself, but it’s funny to see what people come up with.
4.3. Other IPTV Options: Kodi, Android Apps, Plex
In comparison, many Kodi addons seem to be a huge waste of time, with transient content and/or low-quality streams that can’t compete with a curated collection of quality encodes from the top private torrent trackers. And like torrents, the good stuff seems to be somewhat hard to find by design. Still, I found a couple useful options that are readily available either as Kodi plugins or separate Android apps:
- IPTV Simple Client to emulate channel surfing with program schedules and summaries.
- Catch-Up TV & More – the best IPTV source I’ve found for Kodi so far, especially for francophone content. You can set it up for live TV.
- Rai TV: Italian content.
- RTP: Portuguese. They also have a decent Android app.
- Xumo: has many free English-speaking channels, including Bloomberg, though a lot of that is cable junk.
- Ditto with Plex’ live TV, it’s quantity over quality, but maybe there’s something in there that scratches your itch.
It seems possible to hack your way into loading several URLs into Kodi’s PVR but I haven’t pursued that. Similar functionality is built in Tivimate, which alone might make the case for it being the better option. In the end if you’re willing to invest time and possibly spend a bit of money, editing your own m3u and epg files gives the best result. A TV guide full of “no information” blocks defeats its purpose.
Beyond that, there’s a slew of options to record shows from your own TV tuner (including with Plex Pass), but that’s outside of the scope of this entry and not something I’m interested in doing.
5. Misc Useful Apps
Since the Shield is an Android device there are thousands of apps you could install but these few are must-haves:
- X-plore file manager.
- Sideload Launcher.
- Private Internet Access – or other VPN – will be needed to see those IPTV channels that geoblock (a practice I fiercely despise).
6. Remote Access Files & the Shield UI
There are a few ways you can control your Shield remotely. You will need to go back and forth between your Shield and other devices for authorization purposes, so some of that stuff may best be done with a smartphone or tablet while sitting in front of your TV.
You can share the Shield’s internal and external storage on your network, I mounted the USB drive connected to my Shield as a drive on Windows for convenience. Make your life easier by assigning a fixed IP address to your Shield, either in its settings, or even better, via DHCP reservation on your router.
I really wanted to be able to control the Shield’s UI from my PC, which turned out to be its own side quest. I first tested TeamViewer, got it to share the screen, but couldn’t get clicks to register. I then tested Vysor which did handle clicks but the resolution in the free version is really blurry. I finally set up scrcpy as explained in this video, which like Vysor relies on enabling ADB network debugging after you’ve turned on developer mode in the Shield (Settings > About, scroll down to Build, click on it 7 times). This is very responsive at a good resolution, is free, and you can even copy/paste! The main limitation is scrcpy doesn’t forward sound, and I haven’t found how to do a long press (keyboard shortcuts).
Finally, Kodi has a web interface to change its settings remotely.
7. Gaming: Android, Cloud, Emulation
You can stream games from you PC, including your Steam library, using either the native GameStream app or Moonlight. Since it’s the type of setup that requires back-and-forth authorizations between your Shield and PC, remote control can save you running up and down the stairs like I’ve had to do many times in the past!
Geforce Now is a letdown for us because they don’t have servers in Chile and the 150+ms ping to North American ones is a deal breaker. Other than that, seems like a good option.
There are also extensive console/computer emulators but my son turned out to be much less interested in them than I thought, so I’ve only dabbled with this. It does take some time to set it all up. See:
- RetroArch (guide, video)
- Cores: PPSSPP, Dolphin, Recast, Mupen64Plus
Of course you could always just run Android games.
8. Ancillary Hardware: Mobile Devices, Remotes, Voice Assistants, Home Automation
8.1. Remote Options
Like many users I’m not a fan of the 2017 Shield’s remote. I bought a Rii i25 air mouse remote / keyboard combo (similar product on Amazon) which I’m satisfied with as I hate typing via an on-screen virtual keyboard. Before that, I used a Logitech wireless keyboard as well as Nvidia’s mobile app, but I never found either option to be as “couch friendly” as a physical handheld remote. The 2019 remote is better as it feels sturdier and is backlit. You can remap the obnoxious Netflix button to Plex or Kodi by using Button Mapper.
Many people rave about Logitech’s Harmony but I’m not a fan of their pricing. I guess that might be the way to go if you have a fancy A/V setup and a projector. My Samsung soundbar can easily be controlled via the Shield’s IR settings, so I’m all set. I was also pleasantly surprised that I was able to control our Shield, TV, DVR (somehow my wife still uses it), and sound bar with this $7 universal remote from Philips.
Speaking of managing your Shield from a mobile device, besides the aforementioned Nvidia app, here are the main options:
- Plex – obviously limited to whatever is in your Plex library. Includes Chromecast.
- Kore – the official remote from Kodi. Decent, nothing too fancy, works, no Chromecast.
- Yatse – on paper the paid version does a lot more than Kore, thanks to its ability to cast Kodi to other devices. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get streaming to work reliably.
- Wako – Trakt meets Kodi remote, but the ads are intrusive and the lifetime contribution a bit steep (and no, I’m not going to subscribe to a mobile app).
8.2. Voice Assistants & Home Automation
I put a Govee Wifi backlight behind the TV, not essential but it is a nice touch and it responds to Alexa most of the time. Let’s be honest, all these home widgets work every time, 60% of the time.
Speaking of Alexa, one of many abandoned side quests was to use this: Kodi Connect – Alexa. It’s an involved process that failed for me half-way through but this reportedly works well… when it does. There’s something similar for Google Assistant.
PlexKodiAddon supports Alexa, though it’s a bit more cumbersome to use because you have to say “Alexa, ask/tell Plex to…” instead of using Alexa’s native media support. But Alexa keep losing track of the Plex server and can’t find other players such as our Samsung TVs or Fire TV Stick 4K even though they’re supposed to be supported devices. I always feel “so close yet so far” with voice assistants.
I’d also like to chain Plex and Govee instructions through an Alexa routine for extreme laziness but didn’t get that quite working to satisfaction yet.
Jeff Flemming in the comments below suggests settings up a Home Assistant server, which has many integrations including AndroidTV, Plex, and Kodi, and may send ADB commands to launch specific apps on the Shield via the ADB – Android Debug Bridge. It’s on my backlog to set it up on my NAS. See for instance: Alexa to Plex: Resume TV series with no remote buttons (node red).
8.3. Cheaper Alternatives for Extra Rooms
If you want media players in other rooms that don’t need the full-fledged Shield experience, I’ve had a good experience with:
- Amazon’s Fire Stick 4K, it’s a good $50 option as a Plex client with an Android-like interface, though you do get some ads.
- TCL TVs with almost-stock Android TV. In the US market TCL used to mostly pushed Roku, but there’s now regular Android TV too like in the rest of the world.
- I have two Samsung TVs where the Plex player is installed just in case, but I’m not fan of the Tizen UI itself as I hate all the ads they cram down your throat.
9. Say No to Forced Ads on the Homepage!
Nvidia stalled on the latest AndroidTV “Discover UI” changes but they eventually started to roll out to Shields. I consider such forced ads to be malware, which thankfully my Shield hasn’t been infected with as I don’t live in one of the target countries. But if/when you get that update and don’t want your home screen to be hijacked by ads for services you don’t even subscribe to, setting up a custom launcher is the answer. The drawback is that you’ll lose the “Play next” functionality.
10. Conclusion: You’ll Get Out of It What You Put in It, But Pick Your Battles
To summarize my recommendations:
- Get the core storage right or you won’t have a sustainable solution.
- Ditto with networking: cable your home with Cat6 Ethernet cable if you can or get good wifi routers if you can’t.
- Plex and selected Android TV apps such as TiviMate are where it’s at for reliable, responsive behavior.
- Kodi can unlock a world of customization at the cost of spending a lot of time getting there. This is not the spouse/kids-friendly option.
- Home automation is fun but like Kodi, it’s never as simple as it looks. Once I figure how to get Alexa to set all lights just right and launch the latest TV episode of my choice in one incantation, I’ll let you know!
- In the end there’s no perfect solution, accept that there are tradeoffs.
- If you don’t want your family to endlessly mock you because your awesome media server is yet again borking, cut back on the cutting-edge experimental stuff and train them to use basic apps like MX Player as a fallback solution!
10. Related Entries
- Getting the Most Out of Your Synology Networked Attached Storage: Did You Know It Can Do That? You’ll learn how to run Plex and its friends (Sonarr, Radarr, Overseerr, Tautulli, etc.) in Docker and much more. This is the way to go if/when you outgrow the Shield as a server.
- How to Bend Plex to Your Will to Handle Complex Libraries Without Losing Your Mind. If you like your media collections to be organized just right, this is the entry for you.
- Home LAN + NAS Administration & Security 101.
Note: Amazon links include an affiliate tag. A lot of effort went into this entry, if you find it useful I appreciate your support.
Did you adopt the 2TB external USB drive as internal storage?
I’ll have to doublecheck but I think that’s what I did.
If your looking into complete Alexa/Google assistant integration I suggest homeassistant. Cheapest way is to run it on a pi3 or pi4. That or run it docker. HA has a lot of community support. I’m running ADB I. It over the network to my shield and it opens up a lot of doors that you simply can’t get with the built in Integration. You can do a LOT bit it does take so e technical skills if you want to get really involved.
Meant to leave this here. Guide on how to open any app using HA. The great thing is you create everything in HA then push it to Amazon and Google. Then everything just shows up in the Alexa or Google Home app. I just wish I knew more about pushing commands from ADB.
Going to try the Plex plugin for Kodi. Kodi is absolutely the best media player out there but it’s not great at file naming conventions, at least not “out of the box”. Half my TV shows up as a date of 1982 which tells me nothing so I use the built in file browser….
Thanks Jeff, I’m going to be playing with this for sure! I updated the entry to reflect your suggestions.
Try movian you wont regret it
I had never heard of it so I looked it up, it might be good but it looks pretty dead to me.
I’m in the same boat that you were. I’ve been using Emby since it was Media Browser and it handles some things really well, and other’s not so much. Recently I’ve delved into the IPTV scene and have found that Emby Theater doesn’t really handle IPTV too well, and lacks in features and functionality.
Anyways, to keep it short, I’m now testing migrating everything to the Nvidia Shield Pro. As many IPTV services are moving away from providing m3u files, I’ve had to move away from Emby as my IPTV front end altogether.
Some programs which you may want to test out are iMPlayer and MyTVOnline, which are similar to Tivimate, but have some improved useability over the latter.
For EPG, you might want to have a look at webgrabplus. They have a comprehensive listing of all countries, although set up is a bit confusing.
Thanks Alvin for your input, I’ll check those options out. We end up spending more time toying with all this than watching the media we collect!
Thanks for the great write-up. Question: I have a 128gb usb thumb drive but my internal memory is constantly full. The culprit is plex media server, which is almost 10gb alone. I have thumbnails turned off, I just have a very large media base so I guess all the metadata is the blame.
Anyway, why won’t it allow this to load on the USB? it seems Nvidia will only allow some apps to run on the internal media. However, it sounds like you were able to get PMS loaded on the external drive? I did uninstall plex and wiped the device and started fresh and put in the usb before re-installing plex and pointing it towards my NAS w/ my media files.
Jason, glad you liked my entry. You need to “adopt” your thumbdrive to use it as device storage. This however was never stable for me with two different thumb drives but I guess your mileage may vary. You’d be better off with a USB3 external drive.
Thanks for your quick reply. Yeah I adopted it as internal storage so it formatted it as such, presumably encrypting it as internal storage and can’t be used w/ other devices. This is the device I’m using, should be fast enough if it comes even close to advertised speeds: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D7PDLXC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
It appears they don’t let plex media server storage reside on external drives, or did you find otherwise? The usb drive shows it has about 578mb. so it was pointless to get a 128gb drive as it appears it let’s apps use very little external storage.
Plex player appears to be able to store on the external USB but that data is small, maybe 190mb. If you were able to get plex server data on an external drive I’d be very interested to know that. Their support is almost completely useless and I can’t get a straight answer on if that should be possible, but it seems like no (even though w/ covid level 2 support is unreachable by phone and email support takes weeks to reply in some cases).
The point of adopting the external drive is to make it look internal to the system and to apps like Plex. I just looked at Android\data\com.plexapp.mediaserver.smb\Plex Media Server on my Shield – the adopted external drive is mounted as a network drive on my Windows PC – and the size of the Media folder is 20+GB (probably about 60GB really, I stopped the process measuring it as it takes forever to complete).
That said, for my purposes I moved PMS to a NAS about 6 weeks ago. My Plex collection is now headed towards 60TB and beyond in size, and that’s pushing it for the Shield as a server (the Shield remains of course my media player of choice, and I kept PMS installed as a backup). I’m working on a lengthy post that will cover that and much more.
Yes the data can be housed on external drives, meaning the actual media files, but not the metadata, which is what I was referring to that’s around 9-10gb on mine. yes my media is about 48tb and pulled from a NAS but the processor on the Nvidia is far superior at transcoding and playing 4k files than on my NAS. In speaking w/ Nvidia some applications can not load on the external usb drives even though they are adopted as internal storage.
I am NOT talking about the location of the actual media files (as if I didn’t know the difference…), I am indeed talking about the location of the metadata, which is:
\internal\Android\data\com.plexapp.mediaserver.smb\Plex Media Server\Media
Notice the path starts with “internal” even though it’s an external drive, which is the point of the whole adoption thing. Related documentation:
My media files are not located there at all, they’re on various network drives (44TB NAS, 12TB in external USB drives, 30+TB in cloud volumes mounted via my PC).
I wasn’t implying you didn’t know, just wanted to confirm. That’s interesting and helpful, thank you.
I presume you’re finding that folder by browsing through the network and accessing the shield from a computer? When I do this I only have a \internal\Android\data\com.plexapp.mediaserver.smb\cache file, nothing else in the com.plexapp.mediaserver.smb folder. Are all of these files in here only what’s on the USB drive, not pulling the true internal HD files?
I don’t have any spare SSD drives currently but I guess I could purchase one and give that a try and see if for some reason it wasn’t allowing that samsung USB key to house some of the media. My disk speed testing resulted in that usb drive running at 211 mb/s read and 25 mb/s write. I’d think read speed is all that matters and 211 mb/s should be far more than it should need to run smoothly. Hmmm….
>I presume you’re finding that folder by browsing through the network and accessing the shield from a computer?
>Are all of these files in here only what’s on the USB drive, not pulling the true internal HD files?
It’s the content of the USB drive, nothing else.
I forgot I had a Samsung 970 EVO 500GB M.2 NVMe ssd that wasn’t in use. Way overkill but decided to format it and give it a shot.
Same story. If I go to settings, and device preferences and apps and look at plex (which is the player) it shows the media is on “ASMT USB drive”. yes, was formatted to use as an internal drive.
Then if you go to “see all apps” and “show system apps” and scroll way down to com.plexapp.mediaserver.smb it shows the memory there is used as “internal storage” which is the NVIDIA’s internal storage.
Also, if you go in to your apps and long press on it and go to info, some apps will let you transfer to the USB, which has the device name, in my EVO’s case it shows as “ASMT USB drive”. So it’s the same story, it is not letting plex server data house outside the Nvidia shield even though I have an extremely fast M.2 drive connected via USB.
Worth noting I purhcased a second Shield pro for trouble shooting, so I have two, both doing the same thing, so not a device issue. Their support team did say plex server data couldn’t be housed outside the internal HD on the shield which is why I was so perplexed by your finding.
You need to modify storage location from within PMS, I never said to do it or check it from app settings which is more likely to confuse or mislead you. Also, better do that procedure on a fresh install before creating libraries as I was never able to complete that process once there were libraries in PMS.
In my PMS settings, it says its Storage location is “Internal (user)”. In reality its data is physically stored on the external 2TB drive but it appears as “internal” (/storage/emulated/0) since it’s adopted (again that’s the whole point of adoption). I can see that from my PC through the network, or locally on the Plex with X-plore, without the shadow of a doubt. I updated the entry to hopefully make that clearer, see the X-plore screenshot.
My Shield doesn’t have an internal hard drive, it’s a 16GB model. I have way more than that in my PMS folder, so it’s physically impossible that PMS is actually using the real internal storage.
I know the whole “external storage pretending to be internal” can be confusing, but I suggest you stop second guessing what I’m telling you and start figuring out what you’re not doing properly when you’re setting up PMS. I, frankly, don’t care what Nvidia support says as it works for me and I bet plenty of other people, and I’m not sure why you’re trying to convince me that what works for me is impossible!
The reason I moved PMS from my Shield to my NAS is to give me more stability, control, and performance at a huge scale as I’ll probably end up the year around 100TB. But you can definitely run a mid-sized library on PMS on the Shield with adopted external storage.
You can’t modify whre PMS files are stored through PMS. You’re likely referring to the file tree when adding content, that string points to where your media is housed for PMS to scrape. Your (/storage/emulated/0) is the default (true internal) storage location until you point it elsewhere.
If it says your storage is internal, it’s not on anything connected via USB. Go to settings and storage and tell me how much available and used space you have on the internal and USB drive. You’ll likely find the internal space is nearing full.
All Sheilds are 16gb lol, that’s the only model they make unless you have an older model. 2019 (current model) is only avaialbe in 16gb, which is the internal HD I’m talking about.
RE your nas, it doesn’t matter if you had a 5 million tb data point, all of that is moot, the NAS is just the media storage unit that streams the file through the shield when you watch a video, it’s size is irrelevant so running PMS on does you no good and I’d be willing to bet its processor does a less efficient job of transcoding media and doesn’t have AI upscaling. you’re likely using a Synology or Qnap, neither of which have any units with processors that compete with the shield pro in terms of their integer processing power.
1. I already established beyond doubt that it’s physically impossible for my PMS data to be stored on my 16GB internal storage, so I’m not sure why you’re still wasting cycles on this.
2. Gotcha, all shields are 16GB except those that are not. Since indeed some older models came with 500GB hard drives, you might want to look up the definition of “all”.
Re: my NAS: I have zero interest in transcoding as I stated in my entry. I was just providing context about why I no longer use PMS on my Shield, you somehow took as an opportunity to try and win internet points against someone trying to help you.
3. You’ve established you’re an uncoachable know-it-all. Here you are with your two shields having spent hours with nothing to show for it. I’ll have a thought for you next time I enjoy an 80GB HDR movie while eating popcorn. Meanwhile you’ll probably be contemplating buying a third Shield just to prove you’re right. Hint: all the assumptions you’re convinced are right, are factually wrong, and you have no clue how to falsify technical hypotheses.
Normally I’d just delete the whole section of the thread, but I’ll leave it for the edification of other readers. Plex is not super complicated, but it’s complicated enough for people with little reading comprehension and even less self-awareness. All further answers from you will be spam-filtered, so don’t bother.
1. I already established beyond doubt that it’s physically impossible for my PMS data to be stored on my 16GB internal storage, so I’m not sure why you’re still wasting cycles on this.
there is nothing that makes it physically impossible. I am also watching 65gb HDR movies, no issues since the media isn’t housed on the shield, just the metadata, not sure why that continues to confuse you
2. Gotcha, all shields are 16GB except those that are not. Since indeed some older models came with 500GB hard drives, you might want to look up the definition of “all”.
Me prior to you saying this:
“All Sheilds are 16gb lol, that’s the only model they make unless you have an older model. 2019 (current model) is only avaialbe in 16gb”. So…you may want to look up the definition of stupid.
You may also want to delete this all to save face. I thought from your original article I may of found someone who knew more than me about this, but I did not. thx for the replies.
Firstly, I would like to thank you for this detailed guideline it is the best and most comprehensive material I have find so far. I am a happy owner of Shield TV Pro running PMS with roughly 1 TB of various media files and my use case is very similar to yours. Meaning mainly local direct play, however I am tempted to experiement with remote access in the near future, nothing big though.
Secondly, I have some questions I would love to ask. Let me go one by one.
In the very first section you mention you have to unistall PMS from the device, adopt the large external drive as internal Android storage and afterwards install the PMS, do I get it right? I did something different, right after my Shield arrived I plugged SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB, I set it as external drive and immidiately changed Storage location for server data in PMS setting. And only after that I hooked my main media drive and started setting up my libraries. For the reference my Plex Media Server foled on SandDisk drive is 12,67 GB as of now.
I was wondering, have you tried this route? If yes, did you run into any issues I should beworried about? So far my setup seems solid (though I have a much smaller library then you). The only issue I am struggling with is offline watching. In order to preserve battery in my tablet I sometimes try to download content in advance when I am charging the tablet. In many cases the sync process gets stuck.
Hi Martin, I’m glad you found this guide useful. It sounds like you got to the desired outcome, which is that PMS data/metadata doesn’t end up filling the measly 16GB in internal storage. In the end as my collection kept growing (I’m now in the 100TB vicinity across 13 libraries) I never found any PMS setup on the Shield that remained perfectly stable, and that seems to mirror the experience of many other people pushing their Plex install on the Shield. With a 1TB-10TB collection I think you should be fine. For the past 6 months I’ve run PMS on a NAS and apart from a couple easy-to-clear hiccups, it’s been rock solid in a way that the Shield never was for more than a few weeks at a time.
Thank you for response. It certainly seems I have reached a sweetspot at this moment.
May I ask about the issues with offline syncing, have you ever encountered similar troubles?
Also, regarding the topic of future proofing. I am thinking about two options. Either a beffier NAS as you suggest (that dockerization article of yours is so inspirating – thank you!), which – in time – would correlate with higher capacity needs. Another possibility I am evaluating is Apple Mac Mini with M1 chip. Do you have any experience in the Apple rabbid hole?Mart
Sorry I’ve never used offline syncing.
Regarding using a NAS or a PC/Mac, it’s all about defining what’s the right fit with RAM vs. storage vs. compute vs. energy consumption vs. ease of use. Using an Apple/PC for Plex leans towards higher cost in return for a more powerful CPU and UI familiarity, which is the opposite of why I personally chose a NAS. This is a good fit for someone who wants to do everything through a GUI and intends to do large scale transcoding. There is no right answer, focus on matching your own requirements and preferences. I despise Apple so I’m not the right person to ask about using a Mac Mini specifically!
Thank you for additional insights. They are greatly appreaciated.
Just bought a Shield Pro so finding this was a huge boon, thank you!
I have one question, if you’d oblige. I was a little confused by the instruction to “Install PMS from scratch and move it to the external drive (that pretends to be internal) before you load media to your libraries”. I’ve got a 1TB external HDD which will do me nicely for this, but in practical terms how do I “install” and “move” it in terms of it being an external drive?
For clarity, I mean do I re-install Plex onto the external drive – via – the Shield Pro or via connecting it to a laptop or somesuch? And how do I turn off/uninstall the existing version of Plex that’s pre-installed on the Plex already?
Matt, everything is done on the Shield, nothing is installed from a laptop (though you could do it remotely like I explained in the post, but it’s just a way to interact with the Shield).
To uninstall read the following page, then reinstall it from the app store. However you don’t need to do this if you haven’t set up any libraries yet, just move PMS to the adopted external drive.
I have some videos that use audio codecs that my tv does not support, would playing via a shield give sound out of the tv speakers? If yes how is this achieved, is it decoding it to some other standard?
I’m really not an expert on this, but my understanding is that the Shield will do audio passthrough if it detects that the connected device (e.g. TV or audio receiver) supports the codec in your source file, otherwise the Shield will handle the decoding and send a sound signal the downstream sound device can interpret. I have files with a bunch of different audio codecs and my basic 2.1 sound bar plays everything fine via optic cable.
I was wondering if you could point me in the right . I have an ext ssd attached to shield and my Yamaha receiver used to access all my mp3’s via musiccast application on my phone using dlna/upnp. This worked fine for over 2 years but recently stopped working I think issue is upgrade to Plex software but you cannot go back to an older version of plex to test. I can still see my plex server on pc and yamaha will see emby although this does not work a known issue with musiccast.
Sorry, no idea, I’d start by checking whether I still see the drive from a file explorer on your Shield.
I am considering Nvidia Shield Pro with a kinda different or not standard setup – I was thinking to position the Shield in my small server cabinet, connected to the HTPC via USB or LAN, and use the Shield to help my media server with the transcoding (the pc is sort of weak). I have 3 TVs in different rooms so I was wondering if I can use the Shield as “server” without it being connected to a TV? I plan using Plex for most of my needs but the PC is not powerful enough for 4K transcodes (direct play is not always an option), so maybe Shield will help with its hardware accelerated capabilities. What do you think?
This is probably a stretch, both because the Shield doesn’t have a lot of RAM and is not the easiest machine to administrate remotely. For your use case you’d be better off with a NUC. That said I never use transcoding so I’m not the best person to ask.
Thanks for the very detailed post! However, it did not address the one thing I was looking for. If you have a moment, I hope you might be able to help:
I have a USB hard drive attached to the shield. I have Kodi installed to play videos on it. I have 3 folders on the drive and I would like to have a shortcut to each of those folders on the Kodi home screen. I don’t need any sort of media management. I want to just browse my folders for what I want to watch.
I can’t figure out how to put short cuts on Kodi that go just to the external hard drive! Any help is greatly appreciated.
Sorry Sean, I stopped using Kodi a while ago so I don’t know. I bet there’s an addon for this, but you’ll have better luck asking on a Kodi forum.
How Do I point non PC Plex to Local Libraries such as USB?