I’ve been digitizing my media collection with a goal of making a local Netflix-ish solution (discs are terrible). I landed on Infuse as my primary platform and have been pulling directly from my NAS over SMB.
I’m curious and would love to hear people’s take if it’s worth using Plex/Emby/Jellyfin as the base. Would these help with meta data management, speed of sync from my NAS, etc.?
I don’t use any of those; I’m happy just using Infuse by itself; pulling my content from my local NAS (via NFS), and not requiring my NAS to run a piece of full-time media server software.
I prepare my library additions using Kodi on my PC so that I have all the images Infuse refers to stored locally — posters, fanart, and tv episode thumbnails — which makes re|building libraries faster as Infuse won’t need to pull images from TMDB. I used to also speed things up and gain more customizability using local .nfo — but that broke cast and crew searching when Infuse added support for cast and crew overrides from .nfo so I had to stop.
Those who use Plex, Emby, etc. may prefer things like Plex’s ability to transcode content on the fly to account for variable internet bandwidth when streaming content to locations outside their homes; or they might prefer the external servers’ more customizable ways of organizing and browsing their media.
Mostly the folks using the external programs seem to prefer them, but think Infuse does a better job playing back most of their content, so that’s why they use Infuse as a front end.
Others will likely chime in with their own opinions shortly…
Hello there, I apologise I’ve gotten a bit ahead of myself and the post is quite long.
I have used both Infuse as a standalone (connected to my Synology NAS through WebDAV) and as a front-end for a Plex server (my current set-up).
To piggy back on what @FLskydiver said:
I don’t use Plex for its transcoding capabilities, although I would agree it’s most likely one of the reason people would choose to use it. The reason I don’t is because my synology can’t do that effectively. The files it would need to transcode are mostly 4K remuxes (plus tone mapping DV/HDR to SDR), and I chose to buy a synology with more bays + large drives rather than one with the ability to perform this operation (i.e. budget constraints).
Because Plex is cross-platform I can share my media with non Apple user. Although the Plex player on any given support is, in my opinion, miles away from Infuse (except maybe on Nvidia Shield). It can cause some problems, especially without transcoding, but it doesn’t bother me. I tell my users that it’s on them to have the hardware that best suit their needs, if that leads to issues playing media it’s on them to adapt.
It also has allowed me to use Infuse as if it had a multi users feature (at least until 2024 when the proper one is set to be released) : with both trakt and icloud sync unchecked on a given device you can use the same “Infuse account” with different shares (here a different plex user) than the main devices that are synced together.
Because it’s a server, I can connect multiple services to Plex: overseer to handle media requests (I also use it myself instead of keeping a list of media I want), tautulli for more detailed logs about the server’s activity and so on. By essence, Plex server also makes it easier to manage access to my library, without having to create dedicated accounts for my users on the nas itself as I had to do with Infuse stand-alone.
I much prefer the way plex handle metadata: when changing the file structure on my nas, all metadata changes done on infuse would be lost, not a big issue with movies but since I have a lot of extras and other videos without clear corresponding TMDB entries, it’d took me quite a long time to fix those before jumping to Plex. On Plex, extras are always recognised as extras, and metadata edits seem to persist through file structure changes.
The fact that you can have multiple libraries with granular settings (metadata languages, collections behaviour and so on) is also a plus.
On the extras subject: if I want to watch them I use the plex player where they are neatly organised. I do have to use two apps but to me it’s much more convenient than having all those extras appear as unmatched (or worse mismatched) movies in Infuse. Although I can’t wait for the day Infuse handles extras, at least for now I have a clean library in Infuse (they don’t appear in the library at all) and access to extras through the Plex app.
I would also use the Plex app from time to time because it could handle multiple editions of the same movie, but I am happy to say that Infuse also has this feature now so that’s not a differentiator anymore.
Same can be said for editing metadata language on a per file basis, Infuse added that option in one of its latest updates if I am not mistaken. A very welcome addition, although I don’t use it since I am handling all things metadata through Plex.
Anyway, apologies again for the lengthy post. I’d like to end by thanking James and the whole team behind Infuse. Truly a fabulous product, I never regretted paying for the pro version once and I can’t wait to see what they bring next.
A media server simply gives you more options for all of your media content. The following are just a few advantages if using Plex:
Prefer to securely host your media on a remote (cloud) instance instead of your home?
Infuse is without a doubt the best Plex client for movies and TV shows in the Apple ecosystem, but what about your music collection? Plexamp has you covered.
Like Audiobooks? Prologue with Audnexus is a terrific combo.
The nerd in all of us likes to keep tabs on this stuff, don’t we? Varys to the rescue.
Infuse by itself works fine in this scenario.
But all the other features (music, audiobooks, detailed breakdown of video and audio encoding specifics) are indeed lacking from vanilla Infuse.
Thanks, all! This was really helpful. I spent some time playing around with Emby (since it was a one-click install on my NAS) as well as digging more into this topic.
I’ve ended up just sticking with pure Infuse (w/ local metadata via tinyMediaManager) for two reasons:
- Occasional issues with accessing media files (e.g. Can no longer connect Emby (4.8 beta))
- The metadata doesn’t pull directly from these sources (e.g. Use Plex metadata when downloading files - #15 by james)
The use-cases around user management, accessibility for non-apple devices, and other media types are all valid and the insight is greatly appreciated. At the moment, though, stability is most important for me.
Heh, go figure. Looks like support for Infuse as a front-end may be increasing in the future: https://community.firecore.com/t/new-direct-mode-for-emby-jellyfin-and-plex/