Today, we’re going to fix some common Plex agent problems that you may encounter during the configuration of your Plex Media Server. When you’re setting up your movies and TV shows, Plex will reach out to sites like IMDB and TVDB to retrieve certain files for each movie or TV show, including its cover art and background image, as well as a whole bunch of metadata such as its title, rating, summary, and the cast. All of this information is predicated on one thing, which is the name of its folder and file, so it’s extremely important to name them correctly. You may experience symptoms of missing cover art or metadata if you don’t. On top of that, there are some Plex agent settings that you need to make sure are set up properly. Let’s take a couple movies and TV shows as examples. Here I have the latest Spider-man and Wonder Woman movies, both released in 2017, and then two TV shows – the 1967 Spider-man cartoon series consisting of three seasons, and then the 1976 Wonder Woman series, which also lasted three seasons. Again, the ultimate determinant for the retrieval of correct metadata is the naming of the files and the folders. The files that you see here could be text files, or Word documents for all I know, but as long as you have the correct names and extensions, Plex will go out and find the correct metadata based solely on the filenames. Since IMDB is the main agent for movies, let’s go to IMDB and find the correct names. Searching for Spider-man, we see that the full name of the movie is Spider-man: Homecoming, released in 2017. We’ll want to name the file the same way, but since Windows doesn’t allow colons in filenames, we’ll skip that. In general, I remove punctuation marks like commas and periods from the name. You’ll always want to add the year in parentheses at the end of movie files. Next, you’ll want to create a new folder named the exact same as the filename. I’ll copy the filename, create a new folder, and then paste. Then I’ll drag and drop the file into the folder. So now you should have the file inside the folder with the same name. Going back to IMDB, we can see that Wonder Woman was also released in 2017, so let’s name the file appropriately. Going back to Windows Explorer, I’ll simply append the year in parentheses to the name. If you don’t add the year, the Plex agent can get confused, and you may end up with the wrong data for your movie. I’ll create a new folder again and name it the same as the file, using the same copy and paste procedure as before. Then I’ll just drop that file into the folder. Once again, I’ll navigate to the folder to verify. Now let’s look at the TV shows. I’m going to go to TheTVDB.com, which is the main Plex agent for TV series. As I search for Spider-Man, you can see there are several Spider-man shows over the years, so you’ll want to make sure you choose not only the correct series, but the correct language. The general rule of thumb for TV shows is to NOT append the year to the folder and filenames, unless the show was aired with the same name in different years, as is the case with Spider-man. This particular series was originally aired in 1967. I see that there are three seasons with a few special episodes. When you name your files for each individual episode, make sure the episodes match with the ones that you find here. So going back to Windows Explorer – let’s name the folder Spider-man (1967) and in that folder you’ll want to create a subfolder for each season, like I have here. In fact, I’m going to go in and add zeros to the beginning of each season number, which is the recommended format. And in each season folder, you’ll want to place your episodes for that season. In this case, the format of the name is S01E01, which stands for Season one Episode one. You could keep the names like you see here, and the agent should retrieve the correct data, but the recommended format is: the name of the series – S01E01 (and optionally) – the name of the episode. Now to do this for each and every episode would be really tedious and time-consuming, so there are utilities out there like Filebot, which will do the renaming for you automatically. I’ll cover Filebot in a separate video, but for now, we’ll leave the filenames alone. Let me go ahead and rename this as S01E01again. For Wonder Woman – for all intents and purposes – there has only been one TV series called Wonder Woman, so the year is optional. The series listed as 2011 was actually just one pilot episode that never aired on TV. The more famous series first aired in 1975. Again we have three seasons and a few specials. Returning to the root directory in Windows Explorer, we’ll keep the name of our folder Wonder Woman, and we’ll rename the subfolders to add the zeroes in front of the number. If we look at season one, I’ve already run these files through Filebot, so you can see all the names are in the recommended format. In the Additional folder, I see I have some special episodes with a season of “00” in their names. In fact, if you have any specials, you’ll want to name the folder season “00” as well, so let’s go ahead and do that. Again, you’ll want to make sure that any episode – even the specials – match up with the TVDB entry. Going back to our root folder, we have our movies and TV shows named correctly, but we’ll want to place them in the correct structure. Plex highly recommends that you separate your movies from your TV shows, so I’ll create a new folder called Movies, and drag and drop Spider-man: Homecoming – then Wonder Woman – into that folder. I’ll expand the Movies folder to show you the subfolders underneath it. Let’s do the same thing for TV Shows, where I’ll create a new folder name it TV Shows, then select Spider-man and Wonder Woman, and drop them in. And here’s the expanded folder. You could even create a folder called “Media” as the top-level folder, and place the Movies
and TV Shows folders into it, but that’s entirely up to you. I’m now going to go into my Plex Media Server, and I’m going to create a new library for my movies – let’s call it Movies Temp. Tabbing over to Add Folders, you’ll need to browse for the Movies folder that you just created, and add it to the list. Let’s navigate to the root directory, which in this case is the W Drive, and look for the Movies folder. I’ll click Add, and once you hit the Add Library, Plex will add the two movies and retrieve the metadata. This will take a short while so I’ll fast forward. As you can see, I’ve successfully added the two movies, and the Plex agent has retrieved all of the posters and background images from IMDB. Here’s the cover art and images for Spider-man: Homecoming… and then here are the ones for Wonder Woman. Now let’s consider the library for TV Shows. I’ll create a new library called TV Shows Temp After clicking the Next button, we’ll need to go to Drive W again, navigate to the TV Shows folder, and hit the Add button. Click Add Library, and once again, let’s wait awhile for the Plex agent to scrape the info. Navigating to Wonder Woman, it looks like the artwork for each season and episode has been added successfully. Here are the episode images for season one… and then the images for season two… and finally those for season three. I’ll take a moment to show you the results for the Spider-man series, so let me go back to Spider-man – and let’s go into season one – which looks good… and then season two looks good… and season three… doesn’t look so good. Obviously, these aren’t the episode artwork from TVDB, which begs the question – where did these
come from? The clue is in the thumbnails. If we go back to Windows Explorer and take a look at the episodes – let me change over to an icon view so you can see the thumbnails – you can see there’s a thumbnail image embedded into the mp4 files. How do you get the artwork from TVDB instead? If you ever run into this problem, you’ll want to go to your server Options and look at your Agents settings. Let’s look
specifically at the Shows tab and the TVDB sub-tab. Plex uses these agents in the order that you see them. If it doesn’t find the metadata from the first checkmarked source, it will go to the second source, and so on down the list. If you’re getting thumbnails that are NOT from TVDB, that means you don’t have TVDB as your first agent. So you’ll want to move that up to the top. And you want to move Local Media Assets to the bottom. Now let’s give it another try. Once you have that set, you can go back to your TV Shows Temp library… and Refresh All Metadata. After clicking the Refresh button, let’s start the timer again and fast forward. Once it completes, we’ll go to Spider-man again, and to season three, and you’ll have the images that you were expecting. One last thing – in the world of Windows, especially if you’re using a Server version of Windows,
like 2012 or 2016 – you can run into problems if you’re using the Resilient File System from Microsoft. If you use our ReFS as your file system for media storage, you’re going to have problems downloading and storing your media metadata, because the file system doesn’t support symbolic links. You’ll need to format the drive containing the metadata directory using NTFS. I hope you enjoyed – thanks for watching!