Plex and metadata

I’ve been using Plex Media Server running on my NAS to serve up movies and videos. For movies this works well as long as you follow their naming conventions. Just drag and drop the movie into the movies folder on the NAS and the movie shows up on the Plex channel on the Roku TV complete with poster art, synopsis, etc. So far that has worked 100% of the time for me.

And it has also worked for the couple of TV shows I have on DVD.

Where it falls apart a bit is when handling home videos. Specifically when coming up with a year value: Other things like a synopsis can be added by clicking on the edit pencil. You can set the first released date. But there appears to be no way to set the year. On some videos the release date seems to be used to fill out the year. But on most videos it doesn’t. Usually it just ends up to be the year from the file creation/modification date.

It is really annoying to have a 2012 year on a video originally made in the early 1990s and only digitized 20 years after the event. I’d like to have the sort by year or decade work on my home videos as well as it does on movies. For that I need the year data to be accurate.

Web searches indicate that this has been an issue with Plex for a lot of years now. But I’ve found nothing indicating it has ever been fixed or is even being considered for fixing. And no work around at all. It seems that the Plex developers couldn’t care less about proper metadata handling for “other videos”. Their focus really is on movies and TV shows.

Things I’ve tried so far:

  • Use the metadata editor provided by the web interface by Plex Server.
  • Find the XML files created by the automated metadata scanners and edit them to have the correct year.
  • Use a video metadata editor to add release year to the videos themselves prior to adding them to Plex.

All of these have failed. I haven’t tried to modify the file creation/modification date as some films/videos are from the 1930s and 40s and I am not sure how well modern file systems handle dates that are prior to the usual Unix January 1st 1970 epoch.

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