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How to set up Plex Media Server on your NVIDIA Shield TV

When it comes to the centralization of your media in one place, nothing does it better than Plex. It's a very versatile and user-friendly application that lets you stream all your media to any device with the Plex app installed (opens in new tab).

Best of all, it comes preinstalled on all NVIDIA Shield TVs, making the Shield a natural choice to set up as your Plex Media Server.

Why the Shield is a natural fit as your Plex Media Server

The NVIDIA Shield is an incredibly powerful Android TV box with support for 4K Ultra HD resolution, hardware acceleration for the top media codecs, and features a great user interface. The Shield Pro (opens in new tab), in particular, is an ideal candidate for the Plex Media Server what with the 500GB of onboard storage for all your music, movies, TV shows and photos.

Plex has included the software for setting up a Plex Media Server on your NVIDIA Shield right out of the box and as with pretty much everything involving Plex, setup is intuitive and user-friendly.

See NVIDIA Shield Pro TV on Amazon (opens in new tab)

Creating an account with Plex

If you've never used Plex before, the first thing you'll need to do is create an account on the Plex website (opens in new tab). It's free to set up an account and get the basic functionality from Plex, but you might want to consider going premium (opens in new tab) for some valuable features including Cloud Sync, which lets you sync your library to a supported cloud storage service so you're able to enjoy all your content even when your Shield is turned off or disconnected from the internet.

Setting up a Plex Media Server on your NVIDIA Shield

First thing you'll need to do is link your Plex account to the Plex app on your Shield. To do so, simply open the Plex app on your NVIDIA Shield and sign into your account. To do so, you simply have to enter the provided code at the Plex Account Link (opens in new tab) in a web browser. Once you've got your account linked on your Shield, it will instantly start searching for your Plex Media Server — and won't be able to find one unless you've previously set one up on another device.

Don't sweat it, because on the next screen you'll see the option for setting up the Plex Media Server. Setup is a breeze — simply keep tapping Next to enable Plex Media Server, create default libraries for your Media Server, and accept the permissions that Plex requires to do its thing. It will take some time for the Plex Media Server to set up at first, so you'll have to be patient. Once it's set up, you'll be able to view your server's settings by logging into your account at Plex.tv (opens in new tab).

The NVIDIA Shield TV Pro has 500GB of internal storage, which makes it the ideal candidate to be your Plex Media Server.

Next, you'll want to load up your Shield with all your favorite media. This is where having the NVIDIA Shield TV Pro comes in real handy, because you'll have 500GB of internal storage to use compared to the 16GB of space on the basic model. The easiest way to transfer files to your Shield is over your local network. Go into your Shield Settings > Storage & reset, and toggle on Over local network under Shield storage access.

It will give you a username and password to connect to your Shield on your computer. Then, simply hop onto your PC or Mac, find your Shield in the shared devices, and start dragging and dropping into the appropriate folder in your Shield's file system.

If you've opted for the 16GB Shield, or simply don't have the space on your Shield to accommodate all the media you want to add, you can always connect a USB drive filled with your media to one of the USB ports on the back of the Shield, or set up a network storage device. Once you've got your media added, you'll want to go to Plex Media Server settings in a web browser and add your media folders as libraries, whether they're stored internally, on a USB, or connected via your network storage device.

Access your media on the go!

Once you've set up your NVIDIA Shield TV as your Plex Media Server, you're able to access all of your media by logging into your Plex account on any other device you own that has the Plex app installed. Your NVIDIA Shield will need to be up and running for remote access, so if you want your file accessible all the time, you'll want to go into the Screensaver settings and set it so your Shield never goes to sleep.

And that's all it takes! You'll probably want to bookmark the Plex Media Server settings so you can quickly add or remove content as needed.

Questions? Thoughts?

Let us know what you think about Plex as a media storage companion on your Shield, and perhaps how it compares to Kodi in your opinion.

Marc Lagace was an Apps and Games Editor at Android Central between 2016 and 2020. You can reach out to him on Twitter [@spacelagace.

19 Comments
  • Typo. In the very first sentence. In the very first word in fact:
    *Turning your Shield TV into a Plex Server is both easy and convenient!
  • I wouldn't need Plex if the Shield supported AC3 audio decoding.
    Why would I want to use a 'server' just to play video from a hard drive?
    You have to log into a Plex account on a web browser to set up the libraries even if the media is connected to the Shield directly.
    The Shield doesn't have a browser, so you need a separate device to access server settings. How convenient!
  • You can set up the libraries on whatever it is you are using to post this comment. It is a 1 time thing. You don't own a laptop or desktop?
  • What happens when you play those files with VLC? Do you get audio? What are you connected to that you want AC3 audio to come out of that can't decode the stream itself?
  • The ShieldTV has several web browsers, you have the very basic ‘Web Browser for Android TV’, Chrome, Free Adblocker Browser, Brave Browser and others, thats how I had setup Plex on one of my ShieldTVs when I was testing it.
  • You don't want to have your Shield set to "never go to sleep" so I wouldn't recommend it. Plex will still be accessible even if the Shield is sleeping.
  • That's news to me. I gave up on using my Shield because of the Plex DVR Beta. I'm having much more success with my AMD WIndows 10 Server I built. When DVR is out of Beta and Nvidia Shield is running on the current DVR build I might try it again so I can shut my PC down once in a while.
  • You want to record video to the Shield from your own server?
  • LoL, no you record from a HDHomerun to your Plex Server. It is in beta and is only for Plex Pass subscribers. This article was explaining Plex 101.
  • What is worthy of recording from cable or antenna these days?
    I only store full movies without commercials.
  • DVR. People pay monthly for DVR services. Whether it is through cable box rentals, Tivo, multiroom DVR service, etc. Not to mention there are applications that remove commercials for you.
  • If you want advanced video directions on what you can do with a Shield and Plex, search for Lon Seidman's channel on youtube (Lon.tv). He will be your guide.
  • I am having an issue with Plex being recognized on my desktop PC over local network. I mean, the Plex server shows but I can't drag and drop files which is the main reason I want to use this feature for so i can stop unplugging my external HDDs from the Shield and manually connecting them to my PC to do transfers. OAN, ES File Explorer isn't working properly on my Shield TV. I can't use the app because highlighting selections is extremely hard to see. It's as if making the selection for a function is invisible (can't see if the function I want is highlighted or not).
  • You just have to enable the setting on the Shield to see it over the network, then take that username and password and find the shield on your network and put the info in. If you can't see it, open a folder and type in the shields ip. //192.168.x.x and then put in the login info. Drag and drop into the folder NVIDIA_SHIELD that was created on your external when you plugged it in to the shield. It is the only folder the shield has read and write access to through the network I believe.
  • I appreciate it but let me clarify. I can get the PC to recognize it and the Shield shows up. My problem is I cannot seem to access the folder to do drag and drop. I should have been more clear about my issue
  • Did you put in the username and password the shield generates for you to sign in on your PC?
  • Best Android TV device? Have you guys ever looked at the SkyStream X5? QWERTY keyboard on the back of remote (not extra). TV tuner for real cutting the cord (think plugging in the coaxial cable into the box), KODI, MOBDRO, etc. 4 usb ports. and $140? And Plex is simply a media storage unit that you need to access the cloud for with the premium membership. And downloading movies from torrents will probably get you flagged by your ISP.
  • First the SkyStream isn't Androind TV, but a Android Mini PC. It is also running android 5.1.1 which is now fairly old at this point and will have limited life for security concerns. My home server is a media storage device, Plex is the software that allows me to watch my content anywhere i go. I didn't used the cloud with plex until recently when i got accepted to the Plex Cloud Beta. You really should know how the software works before trying to criticize it.
  • So first of all, that SkyStream X5 thing is a piece of junk. It is running Android KitKat from 3 or 4 years ago not Android TV which is an operating system different from regular android on phones. The fact that it is even over $100 is puzzling, let alone within $50 or less of the Nvidia Shield. Your second point about the cloud is confusing. Plex Cloud is in beta, and thus is only accessible for Plex Pass subscribers but that is only a recent development. The benefits of using Plex, as a free user, are fantastic and the reason their popularity has only increased over the last few years.