tl;dr: Create a developer account at the Vewd Publisher Site, pair your device and then use URL Loader to call http://plex.tv/web/tv/opera
Personal media servers have come a long way this millennium. In the 1990s, transferring media from a computer to a television usually required a balanced mix of hardware and luck. My earliest foray involved running an S-Video cable from my PC’s video card to a compatible TV, then using the television as a secondary monitor strictly for media watching and video editing.
When DVD players rolled out, some sported the ability to play DivX-encoded media along with other primitive codec variants (VCDs and SVCDs were a big thing). At one point I upgraded to a VCR/DVD Burner combo that supported USB flash drives and played a slightly larger range of media formats; I recall writing a custom script to translate .SRT captions into a device-readable format for foreign films, due to the device’s unique particularities with subtitles.
Flash forward to 2017, where we are inundated by smart TVs, Wi-Fi enabled set-top boxes and a slew of media center apps all aimed at synchronizing our media collections and ensuring that we can watch whatever we want, from any devices we have handy. With the ever-increasing affordability and capacity of modern hard drives, it makes sense to establish a personal media server containing a digital archive of your media library collection.
While Microsoft provides limited DLNA/UPnP media streaming capabilities via Windows Media Player (configurable via the Stream and Organize > Manage Libraries menus), the supported media formats and stream quality will vary drastically depending on your connection and target platform. Other enhanced products exist including Universal Media Server that support real-time transcoding and other features to enrich the remote viewing experience, but still adhere to the traditional DLNA interfaces that are as bland as traversing one’s own computer directory structure.
Plex Media Server and Plex Media Player Apps
Over the past couple of years, the Plex Software ecosystem has made remarkable efforts to provide a free and affordable, professional-grade user experience for quality media streaming. Rather than relying on the clunky and aged DLNA/UPnP interfaces, Plex offers beautiful native interfaces for nearly every Internet-enabled device imaginable.
The media server is free, and players for various devices range from free to around $5. A premium Plex Pass is also available for more expansive options at $5/month, but for most users the free version is perfectly adequate.
Apps for streaming content from the media server are available for most major platforms (Windows 10, Amazon, Android, iOS and many others). Even so, a range of Bluray players, set-top boxes and and Smart TVs do not provide official support for Plex through their respective stores.
One of the more notable voids comes from some devices powered by Opera TV, including my older Samsung BD-H5900 Blu-ray player. While some Opera-powered devices do natively support the Plex app from the Opera Store, others do not.
Fortunately, Plex has an HTML5-based app that we can manually wire-up to our Opera devices and it is every bit as functional and charming, so let’s get started!
Tutorial: Manually Add Plex Player to Opera TV (Vewd)
Getting Plex to run on an unsupported Opera TV (Vewd) device is not difficult, but does require a little work. I’ll break this tutorial up into two sections, Plex Media Server and Plex Player.
Prerequisite – Install and Configure Plex Media Server
(If you already have a Plex account and have the Plex Media Server software installed and configured on your computer, you can skim through this section and proceed to the next.)
Before we get into the heart of this tutorial with the Opera TV app, it’s best to make sure the media server itself is up and running on your PC.
- Visit https://www.plex.tv/ and click on the Sign Up button at the top to create an account. Registration is free and only asks for an email, username and password. An account is required to access the Plex infrastructure and communicate between the server and player apps.
- After signing up, you’ll be taken to the online Plex Administrative Interface. From your desktop computer, click on the Download Plex Media Server button (also available here) to download the application, being sure to select the appropriate version for your platform.
- After the download is complete, open the installer and run through the wizard. The only option in the installer is what directory you wish to install to, the default path is fine.
- Once installed, click “Launch” or open Plex Media Server from the installed icon. Then open the admin interface by double-clicking the Plex icon in your taskbar. This should open up the main server page at http://127.0.0.1:32400/web/
- Sign-in using the credentials created in step #1. Once signed in, you may see an offer for Plex Pass that can safely be closed and ignored.
- Click on the Add Library button and select a type, then click Add Folders and browse to the directory where the movies will be contained. Once complete, you should see the media appear in your library.
- A few important items should be configured under the Settings, so click that button (top toolbar) and then click the Server tab and set as follows:
- Claim Server: Click this button to claim the server using your Plex account for security and to assist with device discovery.
- Friendly Name: Set to anything you wish or use the default of PLEX.
- Local Application Data Path: The default path is fine but the app data can become quite expansive so you may wish to specify a separate drive or directory.
- Remote Access
- Make sure Remote Access is Enabled and that it indicates it is “Fully Accessible Outside Your Network“. This should automatically occur after a few seconds when you first enter the Remote Access section. If there are any router or application conflicts, you may need to manually specify a public port and then configure port forwarding on your router (rarely needed for Plex).
- Enable Local Network Discovery (GDM): Make sure this option is Checked.
- Enable HTTP Pipelining: Make sure this option is Checked.
- Webhooks: Make sure this option is Checked.
- Transcoder Temporary Directory: The transcoding process can generate significant temporary data so you may wish to update the directory to a larger capacity location.
- Enable the DLNA Server: Make sure this option is Checked to support traditional DLNA connectivity outside of the Plex apps themselves.
- Finish configuring any server options that you wish. I recommend that you review this guide on naming and organizing media within your file structure.
Manually Load Plex Player through Opera TV (Vewd)
(Before following this procedure, first search the Opera TV (Vewd) Store on your device to see if the Plex app is already available. If you find it, great! Download, sign-in and enjoy. If not, continue below.)
The workaround for running Plex on currently unsupported platforms is by acting as a Opera TV developer and then linking to the Opera-tailored Plex web interface. It sounds more daunting than it really is, so let’s get to it.
Creating a Free Developer Account
- On your PC, navigate to https://publish.cloud.vewd.com/ and click Sign In.
- Click on the link below the login form to Create an account. Fill out the basic requested information and select Create Account.
- After your account has been created, click Sign In and login using your new credentials.
Paring your Device with your Opera TV (Vewd) Developer Account
In order to get Plex up and running within the Opera TV (Vewd) app store as a private non-published and unsupported app, we have to enable a special Developer tab by paring the device with our developer account. The quickest and most supported way with the current Vewd app interface is to retrieve and enter the ID For Developers code as explained below.
- On your Opera TV (Vewd) device, launch the Opera TV (Vewd) Store.
- Navigate to the My Apps tab and then select the Menu icon in the top-right corner.
- Press the ID For Developers button to generate a verification code and remember this four-digit code. Do not exit from this screen.
- On your PC, sign into your developer account as described above and then click on the Paired Devices option at the top.
- Scroll to the bottom of the “New Device” page, give the device a nickname and then enter the previously noted code and then press Pair. If successful, you will see the device added under Paired Devices.
- Now check your TV again and you should get a prompt asking to confirm the user as a developer.
- After the Opera TV (Vewd) Store relaunches, you should see a new Developer tab to the far-left of the the top category bar.
Using the URL Loader app to call the Plex Web Player
This is the simplest method for getting Plex to launch from Opera TV (Vewd).
- From your TV, launch the Opera TV (Vewd) Store.
- Navigate to the Developer tab and then open the URL Loader application.
- Enter the URL: http://plex.tv/web/tv/opera – Note that after you enter the URL once, it will be saved for easy selection in the future.
- Select GO (Same Window) and the Plex application should then launch.
For subsequent launches, you can simply select the previously entered URL from the saved list in URL Loader and then press GO (making sure to always select Same or New Window, instead of iFrame).
With everything said and done, the Plex Player App should launch successfully. Sign-in using your Plex credentials and, after linking the device to your Plex account as indicated, you should see your library appear. Enjoy the benefits of customizable real-time transcoding, an incredibly slick and versatile interface and access to your media library from any device that has the Plex Player on it.
Note that there’s an alternate way to launch Plex by means of creating a dummy application and pointing to its URL so that a shortcut appears directly below URL Loader, but this requires completing the full application submission form (being sure to select “save” instead of “submit“) and you may need to append a random number to the end of the URL when specifying it to avoid any conflicts (e.g., http://plex.tv/web/tv/opera?1234321). This route is convenient simply because it can save you one click and you can add custom icon and media to give the app a more professional appearance from your Developer tab.
Update 11/02/2017: This past month, Opera TV made the full transition to its new branding and app store interface known as Vewd. However, the instructions above remain fully compatible and the minor differences have been updated in the guide above. Remember that this is an entirely unsupported method of loading Plex onto a device that lacks a native version, and is something that Plex staff discourages since the URL and features can change or be revoked at any time. Instead, they recommend purchasing a Roku or other Plex-enabled device to avoid the hassle.
Update 12/10/2017: I have been in contact with Opera/Vewd staff about another bug that has plagued certain models since the transition. The quirk would alter the Device ID each time the user rebooted the player and launched the Vewd store, requiring the full pairing process to be completed each time. They have recently confirmed that the issue has been resolved and should not occur anymore.