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How to play Plex media from the Linux desktop with Girens

Plex Media Center has a pretty good web interface. It works very well with Linux, and there are no issues using it on lesser-known open-source browsers like Falkon, Midori, and others. Still, for as good as the Plex web interface is, not every Linux user loves to use it.

If you’re not a fan of the Plex web interface and don’t like using a web browser to access and watch the media on your Plex server, there’s a better way! It’s called Girens, and it’s a native GTK plex client for the Linux platform!

Girens allows users to have quick access to any media in their Plex library. So, if you want to watch a movie or TV show on your server, you can do it just like you would with the Plex web UI, but from the comfort of a stylish, speedy Linux app.

In this guide, we’ll go over how to install the Girens GTK Plex app on Linux. We’ll also show you how to log into your server with it, and how to watch your favorite media.

Installing Girens on Linux

Girens can be installed on most Linux distributions through Flatpak. However, in addition to Flatpak, it is also possible to get the app working by downloading the source code here.

To start the installation of the Girens application on your Linux PC, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, with the terminal window open, follow the step-by-step instructions below to get Girens working on your system.

Step 1: As Girens is installed as a Flatpak, you must enable the Flatpak runtime on your Linux PC. To install the Flatpak runtime on Linux, search for the “flatpak” package and install it.

If you can’t figure out how to get the runtime working on your own, don’t worry! We can help! Just follow along with our guide on how to install the Flatpak runtime on Linux.

Step 2: After installing the Flatpak runtime, you must subscribe to the Flathub app store. It’s the largest Flatpak distribution outlet for Linux and where the Girens app is distributed.

To subscribe to the Flathub app store, use the following command below in a terminal window.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

Step 3: Once the Flatpak runtime has access to the Flathub app store, you will be able to quickly install the Girens program on your Linux PC with the command below.

flatpak install flathub nl.g4d.Girens

Setting up Girens

With the Girens app installed on the Linux desktop, setup can begin. Launch the Girens application by searching for “Girens” in the app menu. Alternatively, it can be run directly from the command-line with the following flatpak run command.

flatpak run nl.g4d.Girens

Once the Girens tool is open on the Linux desktop, follow the step-by-step instructions below to set it up.

Step 1: As you first launch Girens on the Linux desktop, a “Plex – Account info” window will appear on the screen. In this window, you will see a “User” and “Url” option.

Click on “User” and use the box to log into your Plex user account and password. Alternatively, if you prefer to access the server on your LAN directly, without an account, click on the “Url” box, and paste the local server URL into the box.

Step 2: After filling out your user account in the Plex box, click the “Login” button to load your Plex server via the user account.

Alternatively, if you choose to connect via the “Url” option, locate the “Connect” button and click it with the mouse to start the connection.

Upon successfully adding in your user credentials to Girens, the app will load your server and display the Plex home page.

Watching movies

Want to watch a movie in the Girens app from your Plex server? Here’s how to do it. First, maximize the app so that the sidebar is viewable. Then, locate “Movies” in the sidebar, and click on it.

Note: if you do not have a “Movies” section, click on the category normally reserved for movies on your Plex server.

Once in the “Movies” section, scroll through the list of media for a movie to watch. Then, when you’ve found something to watch, click on the play button to start it. Alternatively, watch a random movie by clicking on the shuffle icon.

Watching TV

Trying to watch a TV show you’ve added to your Plex server in the Girens application? Here’s what to do. First, maximize the Girens app so that the sidebar is visible.

When the app is fully maximized, find the “TV Shows” section in the sidebar and click on it with the mouse. Selecting “TV Shows” should take you to TV programs on your Plex media server.

Note: if you do not have a “TV Shows” section, click on the category normally reserved for TV on your Plex server.

Inside of the “TV Shows” area in Girens, scroll through and find something to watch. Once you find something, click on the play button to start it. Alternatively, watch a random TV show by clicking on the shuffle icon.

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