Help me get my head around the point of Infuse - I want to love it, but

Okay, so. I’ve heard of infuse here and there through the Plex subreddit (I’ve been an avid Plex Pass user for 5+ years and have a library consisting of 30,000 movies and 160,000+ episodes.

From my understanding, each device I sign into Infuse with has to download my entire library’s metadata for all the TV shows and movies. Eg: My iPhone’s Infuse app, my iPad’s Infuse app, and my Mac’s Infuse app, all have to download the metadata themselves, and can’t pull it from one central location, such as my Plex server? Is this an accurate statement, or am I misinterpreting it?

I read up on iCloud Sync, which is said to not be used when a media server is acting as the source for content. I believe pointing Infuse directly at the source of content and using iCloud Sync would share the metadata amongst my devices rather than force each individual device to download the entire library’s metadata. Does this sound accurate?

One more thing, transcoding. I am able to play large files well when my internet connection is suffice, but when it isn’t, I need transcoding. (My server is installed on a VPS using cloudbox config. Is it not possible for Infuse to send a request to Plex to transcode at a certain bitrate when required?

Either is possible. You can connect to your Plex, (Emby or Jellyfin) server in which case Infuse in effect becomes an alternative client for Plex (although a far, far more capable one than Plex offers.) It still uses the metadata provided by Plex. It still reports in the Plex & Tautulli dashboard as a Plex client.

Or infuse can be a serverless client not slightly connected to Plex, Emby. Jellyfin etc…

Infuse does not transcode or tell Plex to transcode. It’s a direct play client.

Personally I use Infuse connected to Plex whilst viewing at home on a 55” screen. On the few occasions I watch media while out and about I use the official Plex client.

Infuse fully supports Spatial Audio for those with AirPods Pro or Max. Plex doesn’t.

Infuse supports direct play of HD Audio for those using surround sound systems. Plex transcodes the audio to Flac.

Infuse does video scrubbing with thumbnails on the fly. Plex has to create those thumbs which can take several months hammering the CPU and easily take up 300-400GB of space in the Plex database.

Infuse works with Trakt natively. Plex have no idea what Trakt is.

That’s not in any way a complete list. But they are the ones that come to my mind as they are the reasons I use Infuse.

If none of the above reasons are or will in the future be relevant/applicable to you, then perhaps you don’t need Infuse.
If you’re happy using the native Plex clients for your use case then you most certainly don’t need Infuse.

But for me it’s a no brainier for my “personal reasons” given above.

As a general rule of thumb if you don’t know why you need something different…you probably don’t.

I hope it’s helped clarify a few things but feel free to ask if you have any more questions. :grinning:

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Although I have been slow getting back to you, thank you!

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I will pull you up on one thing, at least in my experience though.

Are you sure? I connected Infuse on my Apple TV to my Plex server and let it run it’s scan for a week or two and checked the storage it was using only to see Infuse was using 55gb

Then i would imagine some metadata fetching is enabled that doesn’t need to be.

When you say you let it runs it’s scan for a week or two what exactly do you mean?

If Plex itself is fully scanned in then connecting Infuse to it is more in the range of it taking minutes or a couple of hours. Certainly not weeks or even days.
Perhaps I’m misunderstanding.

But since my original reply James has made great progress with direct Google Drive mounts and that what I’m currently using rather than connecting to Plex.
Even that is only using 3.5GB for metadata.

I’ve used Plex/Infuse for a couple of years, and been MUCH happier with it, than with the native Plex client (Note, I haven’t tried their newest rendering engine).

My only major ‘but’ is the complete lack of support for Extras (They just don’t show up anywhere in Infuse).

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Hey @Hitsville, I have to chime in here, as I’m a week into using Infuse 7 Pro and have spent a full week trying to get all my 3 Apple TV’s and my MacBook Pro fetching metadata nonstop for more than 800K movies and TV shows from 4 of my Plex shares that I added to Infuse. Am I not doing this right? I don’t pretend to know a lot about the backend of things here, but I definitely don’t remember going through this when I installed Plex on my devices; I signed in, and they pretty much populated the metadata with the Plex shares linked to my account.

With Infuse, as OP mentioned, I have to get all my ATV’s and MacBook Pro fetching metadata for weeks now, running non-stop pretty much (I’m scared to look at the storage eaten up so far). Are you telling me there’s another way here? Is it possible to get Infuse to simply read off the metadata from the Plex servers, without downloading it all? Sorry if that’s a dumb question. Thanks!

Absolutely…if I’m understanding correctly that is.

You simply tell Infuse to connect to your PMS.
It then just basically uses whatever info you have on Plex rather than anything being pulled by Infuse.

@Hitsville I am getting my media from a Plex share elsewhere. I have already pointed Infuse to read off that Plex share, but it still fetches metadata and takes weeks to get the info from almost 800K movies/TV shows.

To be fair that is a huge amount of files and if it is remote then there will be noticeable lag between each api call to the server. So a lot of it depends on how fast that connection is

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Gotcha. So what I’m doing is normal then, waiting a long time for all the content to be fetched. Any idea how it’s different than Plex? I just remember logging into Plex and having everything pretty much ready to go. Don’t remember waiting for all this metadata fetching. What’s the difference? This kind of stuff is all new to me. :slight_smile:

Can you connect to those shares and get details of your movies and shows when not connected to the internet? I’m guessing plex pulls data every time you navigate whereas infuse downloads it all at once so you have access to details even when offline.

Good question. Yes, you’re right. Internet is needed to load Plex. So that’s the difference then? Wonder why Infuse can’t do the same; I think I’d rather it just connect to those shares when I load it up (almost always connected to internet anyways…) rather than wait a few weeks to download this metadata.

So I’m thinking of using Infuse instead of Plex.
Right now I use both. My Plex server is hosted on a VPS, but the media itself is in Google Drive.
On my ATV or iPad at home, I use the Plex client (streaming).
On my iPad on the move, I use Infuse (offline): when at home, go to Google Drive, download, and then view the downloaded media when on the road or plane.

Things that are not optimum and I’d like to solve:

INFUSE:

  • media viewed in Infuse this way does not sync views to Plex
  • I’m not sure it’s correctly pulling all the external subtitles that reside along the media in Google Drive
  • It’d be great if I could “suscribe” to a show I’m viewing, so that Infuse downloaded automatically the new episodes as they appear in Google Drive. Right now, I have to go into Files->Google Drive, find what I need, choose to download it.

On Plex:

  • Plex client on iPad says it does not support H.265 on MKV and seems it always transcodes those
  • Plex download functionality is terribly slow and also balks at some formats, stating it’d need to transcode

I don’t know if Infuse supports downloading (for offline viewing) from Plex; and if in doing so, it’ll then sync back views of such downloaded media, to the Plex server. If it does, that’d go a long way towards solving my gripes, unless downloading from Plex is slow as hell as it’s in the Plex client.

And it’d be ideal if Infuse supported “subscribing” to a show, to automatically download new episodes, either from Plex or Google Drive - the same way the Netflix app does automagically downloads next episodes of the shows you’re viewing.

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You mean using Infuse natively?

Sadly that’s more a Plex issue.
A free Trakt account will push your watched status (and ratings) from Infuse to Trakt.

There is a free 3rd party tool called PlexTraktSync that can then pull from Trakt to Plex. Officially, nobody at Plex has even heard of Trakt so there is no direct integration.

Also…I tend to do the opposite mostly.
Plex on the Apple TV is god awful compared with Infuse.
I do sometimes use Plex on my iPhone to sync stuff to watch at work or whilst travelling…But that’s only if I do it at least 3 days in advance.

If it’s a last minute thing then I use Infuse for that too because it actually works in Infuse. Original quality 10-20GB of files in Infuse a couple of minutes.
Any quality in Plex is 2-3 days and then just hope it actually worked.

Also just as a heads up…my storage is Google too.
If all your shows and movies are mainstream stuff then switching to Infuse and Google Drive natively is a no brainer.

Actually I just need to add one more thing.

There have been rumours of Google unlimited becoming strictly monitored (minimum 5 users etc…) from early May.

https://admin.google.com/ac/storage

This will now show how far you are over your storage quota and is pretty alarming.