Farewell to Universal Media Server, hello Plex Media Server

After many years, I’ve had to remove Universal Media Server.

I used v. 6.3.1 for many years and I see that was launched in 2016. I know that wasn’t the first year I began using the program, so I could well have had some form installed for the last decade.

I stuck with v. 6.3.1 because nothing else worked. I tried upgrading as suggested, and it never worked. From memory, I would see JPEG previews of the videos, but the videos themselves would never play.

Could it be my old computer? When I bought a new desktop PC in 2019, I decided to install the latest. And that didn’t work—same bug as whatever I had encountered all those years before, with what must have been either version 7 or 8.

I blogged in August 2019 that I was on v. 6.3.2, so somewhere along the line I must have gone back a sub-version. That earlier blog post was about that version forgetting to recognize my TV (the same one we have today) so it may well have been soon after that I downgraded.

July 2023: four years later, that version stopped working. It wasn’t in the Task Manager, and it wasn’t in the Windows 11 start-up menu any more. I never made any changes, and, to my knowledge, I didn’t have a Windows update in the meantime. It wouldn’t even load properly. It’s a mystery to me why programs—which are supposedly logical—just give up, or just plain forget how to function. But it’s happened so often, and I’ve kept some record of these happenings on this blog.

A small upgrade to v. did nought, so I decided I would bite the bullet and go to the second newest Universal Media Server, v. 13.4.1, the newest being reserved for paying customers.

All seemed well initially—it was detected by VLC Media Player on the TV through the network—till it stopped playing a film part-way through. The same bug happened with another film the day after.

I just have to consider these Universal Media Servers turkeys. I had an old version that worked 85 per cent of the time, according to my August 2019 post. That figure seems right. It was probably higher after I made the TV into a smart TV and installed VLC on it.

Till this month, anyway.

I had a Plex account from way back and decided to install its Media Server instead (v. I had trouble with Plex many years ago, which actually was why I wound up with Universal, but unlike Universal, Plex seemed to have ironed out its bugs over the last seven or more years. We had the standard app on the telly anyway, and Media Server just synced faultlessly with it (even if its folders were a bit hard to find).

I can’t explain Universal Media Server’s faults, but, for now, I have a set-up that works again.

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