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How to Access and Stream Your Plex Media Library on the Steam Deck

March 14, 2024

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Want to tap into your robust Plex media library while gaming on your Steam Deck? Thanks to Linux compatibility, you can install the Plex app directly on your Deck in just a few quick steps.

Why Stream Plex Media on Your Steam Deck?

The Steam Deck is an incredibly versatile handheld gaming PC with a large vibrant touchscreen perfect for media consumption.

Benefits of using Plex on your Deck include:

  • Stream your personal media anywhere without needing WiFi
  • Save limited storage space on your Deck
  • Enjoy couch gaming and seamlessly switch to movies/TV between gaming sessions
  • Plex amps up your entertainment options beyond Steam’s offerings
  • Completely free media access once Plex app is installed

Combining Plex as your media server with the Steam Deck provides unlimited on-the-go access to all your movies, TV shows, music, and more.

Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Plex

Here’s exactly how to get the Plex app set up on your Steam Deck:

Switch to Desktop Mode

First, you’ll need to exit the standard gaming UI and enable the Linux desktop environment underlying your Steam Deck.

  1. Press the Steam button to open the Quick Access Menu
  2. Select Power > Switch to Desktop
Steam Switch To Desktop

You’ll briefly see a terminal screen before being dropped into the Linux desktop.

Open Discover and Install Plex

The Steam Deck comes pre-loaded with Discover, Linux’s app store.

  1. Click the shopping bag icon in the taskbar to launch Discover
  2. Search for “Plex
  3. Select the “Plex Media Server” app
  4. Click Install and enter your account password when prompted
Steam Deck Open Discover And Install Plex 1

The install only takes a minute. Two versions get added – launch “Plex Media Player” for now.

Log Into Your Plex Account

If you already have a Plex server with media loaded, logging into your account links this new app install to your libraries.

  1. Click Sign In and enter your Plex credentials
  2. A Firefox window may appear – log in again to sync your account
Log Into Your Plex Account

If Firefox does not pop up, run this command in Konsole to fix connectivity issues:

systemctl restart –user xdg-desktop-portal

Now Plex has full access to all your media through your account.

Adding Plex as a Non-Steam Game

To easily launch Plex within the Steam Deck’s standard gaming interface:

  1. Return to the Linux desktop mode
  2. Open the Steam app
  3. Click Add a Non-Steam Game to My Library
Adding Plex As A Non Steam Game 1
  1. Choose “Plex HTPC” from the list of installed apps, Click Add Selected Programs
Adding Plex As A Non Steam Game 2
  1. Return to gaming mode from the Quick Access Menu
  2. Your game library now has a “Plex” app icon
Adding Plex As A Non Steam Game 3

You can now conveniently boot directly into Plex without switching back and forth from desktop mode.

Accessing Plex on other popular streaming platforms is easy too – check out guides for Plex on Amazon Fire Stick, Plex on Nintendo Switch, and Plex on Chromebook.

Enhancing the Viewing Experience

To optimize media consumption on your Steam Deck, consider connecting these accessories:

  • Bluetooth Speakers – For room-filling sound without headphones
  • Portable Monitor – For a larger display to really immerse yourself
  • Tablet Stand – Angles the Deck for easier viewing while freeing your hands
  • USB-C Hub – Allows connecting multiple peripherals over a single Type-C cable

Pro Tips for Running Plex on the Steam Deck

To ensure the best Plex performance on your Steam Deck:

  • Use Plex HTPC in gaming mode for proper controller navigation
  • Connect your Deck to strong WiFi or hotspot from your phone
  • Lower video quality settings if buffering (720p recommended)
  • Leave sufficient internal storage available for Plex data cache
  • Monitor CPU temperature – Plex can tax Deck’s processors
  • Keep OS and Plex app updated so fixes roll forward
  • Preload any media you intend to watch offline to the Deck
  • Steer clear of the GPU-intensive PMP app when possible

If you want to expand your streaming options beyond Plex, review these Plex alternatives. Services like Emby, Kodi, Infuse, and Pluto TV offer comparable media management platforms. See how Emby compares to Plex.

Frequently Asked Questions About Plex on the Steam Deck

What are the main benefits of using Plex on the Steam Deck?

The key advantages are accessing your full Plex media library without taking up storage space, leveraging your server for smooth streaming and expanded format support, downloading content for offline viewing, and enjoying a polished 10-foot media interface.

Do I need an active Plex Pass subscription?

No, a Plex Pass is not required. However a subscription unlocks useful features like mobile syncing & downloads, premium music libraries, advanced home automation capabilities, and more.

Does the Steam Deck have enough processing power to run a Plex media server?

We don’t recommended designating your Steam Deck as the central Plex server. While possible, the hardware isn’t ideal for handling multiple transcoded streams, storage needs, and constant uptime required.

What’s the easiest way to sign into my Plex account?

Open the Plex app on your Steam Deck and click your profile icon in the top right corner, then select Sign In. This triggers an authentication flow in your web browser to securely log into your plex.tv account.

Why do I need to add it as a Non-Steam Game?

Adding Plex as a Non-Steam Game enables easily launching the app from within Steam’s Gaming Mode interface. This neatly integrates Plex into the standard Steam Deck software environment.

What accessories best improve the Plex viewing experience?

For the best media consumption experience, we recommend connecting Bluetooth speakers for room-filling sound, a portable external monitor for a larger screen, a tablet stand for adjustable hands-free viewing angles, and a USB-C hub to connect multiple accessories over a single cable.

And that’s all it takes! In just a few minutes you can unlock your full Plex digital media catalog to enjoy alongside your Steam Deck game library.

Which movies or TV series will you stream first on your Deck? Let us know your Plex plans in the comments!