Starting my own personal internal netflix (part 1)

For some 20  years, I’ve collected physical and digital copies of tv, concerts and movies, from various sources, through various friends. About a year and a half ago, I looked at my walls and decided it was time to shrink it down somehow. I had my entire living room wall covered in movies, and TV was covering the back part of my kitchen wall. It was a hell of a mess trying to find things, because, try as I might, keeping things in order was ugly, and I never knew what (if any) platform that things were to be found on (Apple, Amazon, a couple Vudu, etc).  With over 2k movies, 150+ professional live (WWE, concert) shows, 300+ TV series (1200+ seasons, 17k+ episodes), it was time to put it all together, and that took a good bit of planning and investigation.

This project started by looking at how to distribute the content. If I was going to put all of this stuff on disk, I’d have to figure out how to get it distributed. After quite a bit of research, I cam across and settled on Plex. This allows me to serve content that I own (legally and properly) to my own network. While others have found methods to distribute Plex media across to friends, in private servers, across public networks, I have decided to stay within the law on this one (at least as much as possible). No downloading, no sharing (outside of my own internal network, a-la my wifi), no torrent distribution. Just a simple , easy to understand and use interface to distribute the stuff to smart TVs with clients internally.

So, now that Plex was brought on board, how about movie / TV management? I mean, being the OCD person I am, how do you keep things all clean, neat, and subtitles managed. With all that, you’d think it’d be a pain in the ass (and it can be)? Well, not really.

Sonarr helps me keep TV in line. Whether I want to rename TV, putting together a list of what I’m currently watching, when it’s up next, or just view what I’m missing (so I can try to find it), Sonarr helps me keep all that in line and managed. I find that extremely helpful this year, when going through the new fall stuff and coordinating that.

Radarr is Sonarr’s counterpart. What Sonarr does for TV, Radarr does for movies (kind of). It keeps things organized, lets me see where I’m going, what’s been watched, what I’m missing, etc. The feature list isn’t as great for Sonarr, but it doesn’t have to be.

While some would (again) use Sonarr and Radarr for nefarious purposes (ie: pirating, downloading, stealing shit), not here. I don’t have that software tied in, and it’s there basically only to serve as a management tool, or to tie in with Bazarr

What about Subtitles? With over 20k titles, it’d be impossible to manage those all at once, no? Well, you’re right. That’s where Bazarr comes in (and boy does it ever). Bazarr hooks into both Sonarr and Radarr and says “Hey, let me see what you’ve got, and if I can find subtitles for that”. With scoring methods, and subtitle upgrades Bazarr is rather intense when it comes to looking through things and downloading subtitles.

All that being said, what about storage space? I mean, with all these movies, this must put quite a few disks in use, right? Well, yes. Right now, I have 3 external boxes (Mediasonic Probox). No RAID (RAID is evil, mkay). When it comes to backups (once I get that third box filled), I’ll start mirroring drives , using Windows so that I don’t have to worry about that.

A year and a half, this project has taken me, and I feel so much better now that I’ve done it. It’s far, far easier to make it through things. I can sit down in the front room, start a TV show, and continue it in the bedroom (or eventually the office, where the third TV will go). I can start a movie series like John Wick, Hunger Games, Star Wars, Star Trek , Rambo, etc, and not have to worry about where the next disk is, disk corruption (even with BRD, it happens, people), or getting up and swapping the disk out. It’s all here, all right now.

Up next (maybe, if you’re lucky)?? The software I used to create this mess. Oh, I’ve outlined the software used to manage it, but how on EARTH did I do it? You’ll have to check back to find out!

Tom Whiting

Tom Whiting is a systems administrator, programmer, developer, internet guru, game and movie collector, and business owner.