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Alexa and Plex working together to play music and video

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Alexa and Plex working together to play music and video
« on: January 05, 2018, 11:28:32 pm »
(Edited post) 
NOTE:  This has become a rather long thread as I turned it into a log of my experiences, helped others to set it up, and added new features as they came along.  Worth the read if you are wanting to set this up for yourself.
 
I have been working on getting Plex to play music and video from my NAS server to a Fire TV by using an Alexa voice command.  No luck so far, BUT, I was able to use Alexa command via an Echo to cause Plex to stream (music and video) to my Roku.  Fire TV (actually, no Alexa device) is listed as a possible Plex default player I can select from. 

Anybody know how the Alexa devices can be made to do the same?.  They are supposed to have the capability.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 05:34:08 pm by mike27oct »

Re: Alexa and Plex working together to play music and video
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2018, 03:39:08 am »
Hi mike27oct
If you google Plex with Alexa you will find a video.
Dell
Old man but still learning

Re: Alexa and Plex working together to play music and video
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2018, 03:09:25 pm »
@Dell
Thank you for your wonderful non-answer.  How do you think I got Plex and Alexa to work with Roku as I described above? I GOOGLED!  Telling someone to google for a video and nothing else (not even a link to video) is useless.  Have YOU got any Amazon device (e.g. Fire TV) to play via Alexa/Plex?

Re: Alexa and Plex working together to play music and video
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2018, 04:42:11 pm »
I said that earlier last evening I got Plex to play to the Roku,some music (even got it to shuffle an artist's albums) and play a video.  Today, nothing happens; Alexa tells me it is playing the music I requested, but all is silent.  I could still play a move, though.

Later. . . .breakthrough.  I deleted Alexa Plex skill and tried again.  This time when Plex skill was started it told me it set my Roku as the default player, and added "next time just ask Plex to play (title) on the Roku"So I did that; asked Alexa to open Plex and for a test asked, "play Let it Be on Roku: and it worked,  Then asked Plex to "shuffle artist X on Roku": and is doing that now.

So, have Roku/Alexa/Plex working fine together, but still can not get the Fire TV to work with Alexa/Plex  (New word for dictionary: "Plexa")

Re: Alexa and Plex working together to play music and video
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2018, 03:34:03 pm »
I have learned that the Fire TV (although I had given it a name) has a generic name of AFTT, and Plexa has difficulty with this and can't find it.  This week I will contact both Alexa and Plex support lines and see how to get the Fire TV recognized and working as well as working on the Alexa devices like Dot, etc.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying it all on the Roku.  The Roku also has a better user display screen than tha AFTY, and other things like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, etc..

Re: Alexa and Plex working together to play music and video
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2018, 09:58:09 pm »
Apparently, I am the only one here interested in this.  Whatever, I will continue to log any progress I have had here, and I have some significant progres. since I last posted.  About this later.

First, I want to mention I got some "assistance" from Amazon. but assistance is in quotes because none of the three Amazon support assistant folks I spoke with had any knowledge about getting "Plexa" to work with Fire TV stick, although the last guy from Fire Stick div. showed enough interest and we struck up a conversation for over an hour.  He searched and googling while I tried different things.  We ended conversation with he would call me back if he had obtained any valuable info.

The young man was in Costa Rico, and it's a country that cannot fully operate the Alexa gadgets like we can in US.  Come on Amazon, base your support team in a country that has full capability to test the Alexa platform! I received no return call since we spoke. 

Nevertheless, I got "Plexa" working on one of my Fire TVs today!  My gen1 FireTV can now play music and movies from Plex via an Alexa command! I can ask to shuffle an artist and it plays songs untill they run out.  I cannot get it to play a specific song as I can with the Roku. I am still trying to get the gen2 FireTV to do the same.
To be continued . . .
« Last Edit: February 16, 2018, 01:35:30 am by mike27oct »

Offline 5js

Re: Alexa and Plex working together to play music and video
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2018, 01:03:42 pm »
Apparently, I am the only one here interested in this.  Whatever, I will continue to log any progress I have had here, and I have some significant progres. since I last posted.  About this later.

Nevertheless, I got "Plexa" working on one of my Fire TVs today!  My gen1 FireTV can now play music and movies from Plex via an Alexa command! I can ask to shuffle an artist and it plays songs untill they run out.  I cannot get it to play a specific song as I can with the Roku. I am still trying to get the gen2 FireTV to do the same.
To be continued . . .
Mike - I am interested in this.  Well, primarily the Alexa / Plex / Roku.

My quest started with trying to figure out a simple way to stream my mp3s from my computer to my stereo using Alexa voice commands (Echo Dot).  The simplest method seemed to be to plug my Echo into the receiver then install My Media on the PC.  But, this has limitations.

Further researching brought my to this thread.  I have not used Plex, but the thought of streaming video/music to the entertainment system sounds even better. 

I have an Echo Dot and a Roku 3 which is connected to the entertainment system (TV, DVD, Onkyo receiver, etc).  Oh, I also picked up a Harmony Hub at Christmas but have not installed yet - likely do this this weekend.

From the research I have done this seems to be the best method for the equipment I have.  Install Plex on my PC and install the Plex channel on the Roku and I should be able to stream from my PC to my TV/Stereo via Plex/Roku and control with voice commands using the Echo Dot. 

Not wanting to hi-jack your thread - but if this sounds like the best method for me - and you can point me to a thread that may be of benefit I'd much appreciate.  Looking for pro's/con's, better options, limitations, etc.

Re: Alexa and Plex working together to play music and video
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2018, 07:05:36 pm »
Hi, finally someone who is interested in this responded!  There is no way you are hijacking my monologue!  You did what you should do at a forum -- make a comment!

I will be glad to help, but not until tomorrow.  We are going out for dinner and LIVE music soon.
So, watch this space for a reply from me tomorrow.

Meanwhile, you are on the right track.

Re: Alexa and Plex working together to play music and video
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2018, 06:44:07 pm »
@5js
Hi, to continue on . . .

You first need to install the Plex server program on your PC which you obtain from www.plex.tv/ site, unless you have a better and more appropriate device to install it on.  (I say this because I do not have it installed on a PC, I have it installed on my Western Digital WD MyCloud DL2100 NAS.  It was designed to handle the speed, computing horsepower, and storage capacity necessary for optimal operation.  Nevertheless, many people have it installed on their PC.  Plex is a Media Server in the way My Media is, but more robust.

I have LOTS of ways to stream media files within my home as well as remotely.  All the ways are useful depending upon the features they have. Plex has some unique features  and I use it for that, but it is not my favorite way to stream.  One uniqueness is the ability to stream music and video to Roku and Fire TV, tablets phones; even without also using Alexa voice commands and the addition of Alexa makes it even more useful.

So you will also need to install Plex channel on your Roku and after this all done you can stream media to Roku without needing Alexa.  And, to add Alexa to the mix you need to install the Plex SKILL in your Alexa app. Before you incorporate Alexa into the fray, be sure that Plex and Roku play together as they should, Then add Alexa to the gang.

To use with Plexa, ask a nearby Alexa device the following kinds of questions and statements:

Alexa, ask Plex to tell me my devices (one you should here is name of your Roku; mine is named Family Room Roku.)

Alexa, ask Plex to set {Family Room} Roku as my preferred player).

Now you are ready to demonstrate and enjoy the power of this setup by saying something like,

Alexa, ask Plex to play (or shuffle) Dave Brubeck (any artist) to Roku. and if you have more albums than one they all will be shuffled up to around 20 tracks.

I do not have to specify Family Room, just say Roku, but we HAVE to specify the player otherwise it will play on Dot and not to Roku.
Use Roku remote to navigate using buttons at screen bottom.

Another example, right now I have Plexa playing artist Ken Emerson on Roku (I have four albums) and they are being shuffled and played.  I said,

Alexa, ask Plex to play Ken Emerson on Roku....... and Plexa did the rest, including shuffle the albums and tracks to Roku and onto TV and stereo in glorious sound quality.

That's it, so get it all up and running and be sure to use the Roku buttons to see what each can do; last button shows the list of what is playing.  Cool.

Once you have the music mastered, ask me how to play videos, movies and I can explain that. 

BTW, all the music on my server is from a COPY of my iTunes Media database on PC and movies on my server are mp4/m4v files I made from DVDs with free Handbrake program.

HAVE FUN with this!





Offline tthoben

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Re: Alexa and Plex working together to play music and video
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2018, 02:31:27 am »
I got the PMS installed on a Debian Linux based device and Plex client app installed on my android TV box.

Also enabled the Plex skill for Alexa and was able to use voice commands to stream videos and music to the android TV without problems but somehow playlist doesn't seem to work well when playing mp3 files on the echo dot.

Dot will not play the entire playlist from start to end, i.e. it stops after every song. I had to say "Alexa, next" or "Alexa, skip" for it to play the next track on the playlist.

Tried searching in Plex forums and noticed lots of people with somewhat similar issues but till date developers weren't able to fully fix the bug. Somehow it seems to affect only certain types of mp3 tracks.

Have you encountered anything like this?
Echo Dot @ SG

Re: Alexa and Plex working together to play music and video
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2018, 03:38:02 am »
@tthoben

I use a Windows platform, Not Linux.nor other things you mention.  I just use the "standard stuff" anyone can use and understand.  As I mentioned in other threads on this forum, I have it all working as it should using the Roku as the Plex player, but just limited success on one of two Amazon Fire TVs as Plex player connected to standard TVs.  It works mostly on the Gen1 FTV but can't get it work well at all on a newer Gen2 FTV w/mic.  And, as far as getting any of this to play to a Dot or Echo like it is supposed to do, it won't.  But, I don't care; I didn't put this together to play my music to a lousy sounding tin can of a Dot, nor the table radio sound of an Echo!  I want and have the music playing this way to the TV and stereo that looks and sounds great.

I do not have issues like you do with the tracks stopping.  They go right along playing fine. My TVs atr not smart ones nor are they Android.  They are basic modern wide TVs that end up being smarter than smart TVs because of all the devices connected to them!
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 02:39:44 pm by mike27oct »

Offline tthoben

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Re: Alexa and Plex working together to play music and video
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2018, 11:11:50 am »
...And, as far as getting any of this to play to a Dot or Echo like it is supposed to do, it won't.  But, I don't care; I didn't put this together to play my music to a lousy sounding tin can of a Dot, nor the table radio sound of an Echo!  I want ad have the music playing this way to the TV and stereo that looks and sounds great...

LOL well noted...  ;D

for me I need the output on the dot in my young daughter's bedroom for bedtime lullabies
Echo Dot @ SG

Re: Alexa and Plex working together to play music and video
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2018, 05:53:15 pm »
OKm so help ME.  I told you I cannot get plex to play on a Dot or Wcho, only a Roku, so what are the magic words to say to get this to happe?.  <y wake word for Echo is Alexa, and wake word for Dots is Echo.  In addition each has a unique name (Echo is Lamed Living Room and a Dot is named Befroom.

Offline tthoben

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Re: Alexa and Plex working together to play music and video
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2018, 10:09:44 pm »
I'm able to play on the dot that's listening to my command. For your case, what's the error msg when the playback fails?

To play on the dot itself, command would be: "Alexa, ask Plex to play children's songs" (that's the playlist name)

To cast on my Android TV, command would be: "Alexa, ask Plex to play children's songs on Android shield TV" (that's the Android device name)
« Last Edit: February 17, 2018, 10:14:25 pm by tthoben »
Echo Dot @ SG

Re: Alexa and Plex working together to play music and video
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2018, 02:01:28 am »
Thanks for the help.

OK, commands are what I have tried before and they did not work on Dots.  Tonight, I had limited success on one Dot - the first one I tried.  Five other Dots and an Echo did not play what I asked, although it said it would but then all was silent.  Somehow it sees one Dot as a default player but none of the others.  I will screw around with it all later.  Frustrating app.