So, I like Plex. I like it a lot; it does a lot of things very well. Unfortunately, one of the things it doesn’t do is allow you to limit data usage on audio tracks. This is ‘unfortunate’ – and somewhat of an oddity, at least as far as I’m concerned.
This is a problem because I don’t have unlimited data. I’ve got what I thought was fairly generous 5 Gb allowance, but over the month Plex has sucked up over 2.5Gb of that on just a few hours of use.
Having scoured the forums, lots of people have commented that it’d be nice to have a transcode-to-lower-data-rate function, but there seems to be no enthusiasm to add it – which is odd, because the thing I (and a lot of people, seemingly) do the most is listen to audio. I rarely watch video on my mobile; so the fact it transcodes it down to use a lower data rate is nice, but not desperately important to me. Then, whilst I was poking around looking for an answer I came across Subsonic.
Having installed it this morning I can say a few things:
– It has some really nice features (like handling podcasts) which may mean I can finally completely dump iTunes.
– It’s not nearly so cuddly as Plex.
– It weirdly could find all the tracks but failed to add them properly to the database because I pointed it at the disk with them on, not the (two layers down) subdirectory with the audio-file directories in.*
– It’s installation and FAQ information could do with some Technical Writerly assistance (most of it was fine, but I spent ages trying to work out why it was generating the error “Sorry, you are not authorized to perform the requested operation” when I tried to access any music folders before realising that I hadn’t cleaned the database after scanning them with the wrong file locations.
– It’s also much cheaper than Plex.
However, it does allow me to tweak the audio settings down for Mobile Data separately to WiFi, which means that since usually I’m listening to it in the car, or while walking, and I don’t need my much higher quality audio, I should be able to feel a bit more comfortable about the amount of data I’m using.
Anyhow, we’ll give it a go for the month and see how things go – if they go well, then that’ll be an actual subscription service I’ll need to pay for (but at $1 a month, I think I’ll cope :) ).
* I pointed it at “/media/Delia Derbyshire” which is the disk that houses all the audio files (obviously). However, it wanted to be pointed at “/media/Delia Derbyshire/Audio/…” (…=Clean Rips, or …=Digital Downloads, or …=Dirty Old MP3s).