Naming and Organizing Your TV Show Files | Plex Support (2023)

The scanners and metadata agents used by Plex will work best when your major types of content are separated from each other. Westronglyrecommend separating movie and television content into separate main directories. For instance, you might use something like this:

/Media /Movies movie content /Music music content /TV Shows television content

Warning!: Plex will do its best to appropriately find and match the content. However, a failure to separate content such as movies and TV shows may result in unexpected or incorrect behavior.

In the above example, it is the main folder of each type of content (e.g. /Movies, /Music, /TV Shows) that you would typically specify as the content location for that library type.

Tip!: More specifically, the folder you want to specify as the content location for the library is the folder that contains each of the individual show folders. So, if you chose to categorize your children’s content separate from more “adult” content (e.g. /TV Shows/Kids/ShowName vs /TV Shows/Regular/ShowName), then you would specify /TV Shows/Kids as the source location for a “kids” TV library.

TV shows can be season-based, date-based, a miniseries, or more. Both the folder structure and each episode filename must be correct for the best matching experience. If you’re not sure whether a show is season- or date-based, check The Movie Database (TMDB) or The TVDB and name it as it appears there.

By default, the Plex TV Series agent uses the episode ordering based on TMDB. However, if you know that your files are named according TVDB, you can change the Episode Ordering preference (under Advanced) when creating or editing your TV library. Examples of the file naming/organization mentioned can be found at the end of the article.

(Video) How to Use Filebot to Rename Plex TV Show Episodes

Some important notes:

  • For the “Plex TV Series” agent, it is recommended to always include the year alongside the series title in folder and file names, e.g. /Band of Brothers (2001)/Season 01/Band of Brothers (2001) - s01e01 - Currahee.mkv
  • Be sure to use the English word “Season” when creating season directories, even if your content is in another language.
  • Many of our naming instructions mention having Optional_Info at the end of the file name. As the label suggests, it’s optional, but many people like to use it for things such as an episode title. Such optional info is ignored by Plex when matching content with legacy agents, but it is used in the Plex TV Series agent to give a hint for matching. If you want info to be ignored put the optional info in brackets. e.g. /Band of Brothers (2001) - s01e01 - Currahee [1080p Bluray].mkv
  • We use .ext as a generic file extension in the naming/organizing instructions. You should use the appropriate file extension for your files, of course. (Some operating systems such as Windows may hide your file extensions by default.)
  • If you are using the “Plex TV Series” agent, you can optionally include the TMDB or TVDB show ID in the folder name to improve matching. If you choose to do that, it must be inside curly braces: ShowName (2020) {tvdb-123456} or ShowName (2020) {tmdb-123456} where 123456 is the show ID. An example can be found at the end of the article.
  • As an alternative, you can also use a .plexmatch file

Standard, Season-Based Shows

Most television shows have episodes organized into seasons. To name season-based shows create files with the season and episode notation sXXeXX:

  • /TV Shows/ShowName/Season 02/ShowName – s02e17 – Optional_Info.ext

This is only an example. The most important bit in the file name is the appropriate season and episode number notation s02e17 which in this example means Season 2 Episode 17It does not matter if you use dashes, dots or just spaces.

Date-Based Television Shows

TV Shows that are date-based should be named as follows:

  • /TV Shows/ShowName/Season 02/ShowName – 2011-11-15 – Optional_Info.ext
  • /TV Shows/ShowName/Season 02/ShowName – 15-11-2011 – Optional_Info.ext

Where you specify the appropriate date. The date can use either the YYYY-MM-DD or DD-MM-YYYY formats and can use different separators:

  • Dashes (2011-11-15)
  • Periods (2011.11.15)
  • Spaces (2011 11 15)


A miniseries is really handled just like a season-based show, you simply always use “Season 01” as the season.

(Video) Plex Naming Convention and Organising Files - Plex Tutorials - Episode 4

Television Specials

Shows sometimes air “specials” or other content that isn’t part of the standard season. “Specials” episodes are always part of season zero (i.e. season number “00”) and should be placed inside a folder named eitherSeason 00orSpecials.

  • /TV Shows/ShowName/Specials/ShowName – s00e13 – Optional_Info.ext

Where you specify the correct episode numbers. If you’re unsure whether a particular episode is a Special or not, check the episode on TheTVDBand name it as you see it there.

If an “episode” you have doesn’t appear inTheTVDB(e.g. DVD Specials or goof reel), place this content in theSeason 00orSpecials folder named using s00eYY using a false “YY” number (e.g.: Heroes s00e99). The show will be available to play in a Plex App but won’t have any special metadata gathered, such as a summary.

Multiple Episodes in a Single File

If a single file covers more than one episode, name it as follows:

  • /TV Shows/ShowName/Season 02/ShowName – s02e17-e18 – Optional_Info.ext

Where you specify the appropriate season, episode numbers (the first and last episode covered in the file), and file extension.

Note: Multi-episode files will show up individually in Plex apps when viewing your library, but playing any of the represented episodes will play the full file. If you want episodes to behave truly independently, you’re best off using a tool to split the file into individual episodes.

(Video) Plex Media Server Naming Conventions // Movies

To get a better overall experience, you may wish to use a tool to split the video so that each episode has its own individual file. There are multiple ways you can do this and a quick search in your favorite search engine should give you some options on how to “split” a file. An unofficial guide with one free tool has even been posted in our forums.

Related Page:Forums: Splitting multi-episode files with MKVtoolnix GUI

Episodes Split Across Multiple Files

Episodes that are split into several files (e.g. pt1, pt2), can be played back as a single file if named correctly. Name the files as follows:

  • /TV Shows/ShowName/Season 02/ShowName – s02e17 – Split_Name.ext

Where Split_Name is one of the following:

  • cdX
  • discX
  • diskX
  • dvdX
  • partX
  • ptX

…and you replace Xwith the appropriate number (cd1, cd2, etc.).


  • Not all Plex apps support playback of stacked media
  • All parts must be of the same file format (e.g. all MP4 or all MKV)
  • All parts should have identical audio and subtitle streams in the same order
  • Only stacks up to 8 parts are supported
(Video) How to Add TV Shows to Plex

To get a better overall experience, you may wish to use a tool to join/merge the individual files into a single video. There are multiple ways you can do this and a quick search in your favorite search engine should give you some options on how to “join” files. An unofficial guide with one free tool has even been posted in our forums.

Related Page:Forums: Joining multi-part movie files with MKVtoolnix GUI


Note: This example illustrates many of the types of content outlined previously. When creating the TV library, it is the /TV Shows directory that would be specified as the content location for the library.

/TV Shows /Doctor Who (1963) {tvdb-76107} /Season 01 S01e01 - An Unearthly Child (1).mp4 S01e02 - The Cave of Skulls (2).mp4 /From the Earth to the Moon (1998) /Season 01 From the Earth to the Moon (1998) - s01e01.mp4 From the Earth to the Moon (1998) - s01e02.mp4 /Grey's Anatomy (2005) /Season 00 Grey's Anatomy (2005) - s00e01 - Straight to the Heart.mkv /Season 01 Grey's Anatomy (2005) - s01e01 - pt1.avi Grey's Anatomy (2005) - s01e01 - pt2.avi Grey's Anatomy (2005) - s01e02 - The First Cut is the Deepest.avi Grey's Anatomy (2005) - s01e03.mp4 /Season 02 Grey's Anatomy (2005) - s02e01-e03.avi Grey's Anatomy (2005) - s02e04.m4v /The Colbert Report (2005) /Season 08 The Colbert Report (2005) - 2011-11-15 - Elijah Wood.avi

Last modified on: October 31, 2022

(Video) Easily rename TV Series files for Plex


What is the naming convention for TV show extras in Plex? ›

Local Show and Season Extras

You can organize your local extras into specific subdirectories inside the main directory named for the TV show. Extras will be detected and used if named and stored as follows: TV Show (Release Date)/Extra_Directory_Type/Descriptive_name. ext.

What is the best way to name movie files for Plex? ›

To correctly name a movie file, name it as follows: MovieName (release year).ext.

Why won t Plex recognize TV shows? ›

The biggest reason by far for items to not be found during a library scan is due to naming. Plex's scanners are generally quite robust and can often do a good job even with content that doesn't follow the naming recommendations.

How do I organize files in Plex? ›

Typically, users group them by movies and TV shows, but you can divide them up however you want. If you want to have one collection of movies you share, and another you don't, give them separate folders. You can further divide your library folders however you prefer, such as adding a new folder for each movie or show.

How do you set up a naming convention? ›

How to develop naming conventions?
  1. Keep file names short but meaningful.
  2. Include any unique identifiers, e.g. case number, project title.
  3. Be consistent.
  4. Indicate version number where appropriate.
  5. Ensure the purpose of the document is quickly and easily identifiable.

How do you name a TV show? ›

A title should neatly encapsulate the content and tone of a show, like Desperate Housewives and Modern Family. “If a title really contextualizes the tone of a show,” says MTV's Janollari, “that's a big factor in helping you launch a show and market and position it to an audience.”

How do I name a file in a movie? ›

Video File Naming Best Practices
  1. Be Consistent. ...
  2. Easy to Read and Implement. ...
  3. Communicated Across the Entire Team. ...
  4. Avoid Special Characters. ...
  5. Avoid Long Names. ...
  6. Use ISO 861 Date Format (YYYYMMDD) ...
  7. Consider the Sort Order of Your Files. ...
  8. Optimize Your Video Folder Structure.
Dec 7, 2022

What format plays best on Plex? ›

Part 1: What Is the Best Video Format for Plex
  • Container: MP4.
  • Video codec: H.264.
  • Resolution: 720p/1080p @8Mbps.
  • Audio track: Stereo AAC @128Kbps.
  • Aspect ratio: 16:9.
Feb 13, 2023

What file types work with Plex? ›

H. 264 , hevc (H. 265), mjpeg , mpeg2video , mpeg4 , vc1 , or vp9 video encoding. aac , ac3 , dts , eac3 , mp2 , mp3 , pcm , or vorbis audio encoding.
Additional 4K (UHD) Direct Play video support:
  • MKV container with H. ...
  • MP4 container with H. ...
  • Resolutions up to 4096×2160 are supported.
Feb 3, 2022

How do I force Plex to recognize a TV show? ›

To do this, ensure the Agent source is enabled and topmost in the list:
  1. Launch the Plex Web App.
  2. Choose Settings from the top right of the Home screen.
  3. Select your Plex Media Server from the settings sidebar.
  4. Choose Agents.
  5. Choose the Library type and Agent you want to change.
  6. Ensure Local Media Assets is checked.
Jan 31, 2022

Is there an alternative to Plex? ›

Alternatives to Plex: an overview of the best media centers
  • What should a good alternative to Plex be able to do?
  • What are the best alternatives to Plex?
  • Mezzmo.
  • MediaPortal.
  • Kodi.
  • Stremio.
  • Universal Media Server.
  • Emby.
Jan 31, 2023

Can you get in trouble for streaming on Plex? ›

Typically, you install the Plex server on the home computer where your movies, TV, photos, and music are stored, and you can then stream this content to devices running a Plex app. Using Plex is perfectly legal.

What database does Plex use for TV shows? ›

Both the folder structure and each episode filename must be correct for the best matching experience. If you're not sure whether a show is season- or date-based, check The Movie Database (TMDB) or The TVDB and name it as it appears there. By default, the Plex TV Series agent uses the episode ordering based on TMDB.

How do I organize my home movies? ›

5 Tips for Organizing Your Home Movies
  1. ORGANIZE VIDEOS ON A SHELF OR INSIDE A COMPARTMENTALIZED STORAGE CASE. Instead of a big plastic tub, try using a shelf or rack of some kind. ...
  3. CATEGORIZE. ...

What are 2 good practices when it comes to naming files? ›

File naming best practices:

Avoid special characters or spaces in a file name. Use capitals and underscores instead of periods or spaces or slashes. Use date format ISO 8601: YYYYMMDD.

What are the rules for naming a file? ›

File naming guidelines are:
  1. A file name can be up to 255 characters long and can contain letters, numbers, and underscores.
  2. The operating system is case-sensitive, which means it distinguishes between uppercase and lowercase letters in file names. ...
  3. File names should be as descriptive and meaningful as possible.

How do you think of a good show name? ›

But one thing is for sure, and that's that ABC needs some new rules for naming their shows, and fast.
  1. Stop trying so hard to appeal to the internet generation. ...
  2. Stop trying to be "edgy" ...
  3. Keep it short. ...
  4. Don't worry so much about communicating the premise in the title. ...
  5. But pick a name that actually fits the show.

How do you properly write a TV show? ›

How to write a TV series outline
  1. THE TREATMENT: The Treatment will be the first thing you need to nail before you move on structurally, with the rest of your tv development. ...
  2. THE CHARACTER ARC: All plot comes from Character. ...
  4. THE SERIES ARC: ...
  5. AND FINALLY… ...
Jan 2, 2023

Can TV shows have the same name? ›

For those unfamiliar with intellectual property laws, titles can't be copyrighted and it's totally legal to name a work with the same name as another one; however, if the title is trademarked, then you can't. Trademark covers a franchise, not a single work/series.

What is a file name example? ›

A file name is the complete title of a file and file extension. For example, "readme. txt" is a complete file name. A file name may also describe only the first portion of the file.

How do I organize my movie files? ›

Here are some good tips on organizing videos and managing your content files.
  1. Buy an external hard drive. Raw video footage takes up a lot of space. ...
  2. Move videos off your camera. ...
  3. Clearly date and label the files. ...
  4. Create an organized folder structure. ...
  5. Always back up video files. ...
  6. Organize video files with tags.

How do you create a good file structure? ›

5 Tips To Create An Organized File Structure Like A Pro
  1. Spaces, Dashes, And Underscores – Oh, My! ...
  2. Avoid Broad And Redundant Folder Names. ...
  3. Build Out A Subfolder Structure And Template (Even If The Subfolders Are Empty) ...
  4. Clean House. ...
  5. Be Flexible.
Feb 7, 2022

What format is best for streaming? ›

For web streaming, the best video codec is simple to identify – it is H. 264. H. 264 is hands down the best codec for web streaming because it is highly efficient and compatible with most other forms of video technology you need to use for web streaming.

Does Plex decrease quality? ›

To give you the best possible experience, Plex can automatically adjust the quality of your video based on your connection speed. When auto quality is turned on, videos will start at the quality that you have selected in your app's quality settings, then increase or decrease quality based on your connection speed.

How do I improve Plex performance? ›

2. Enable hardware acceleration
  1. Open the Plex Web app.
  2. Navigate to Settings > Server > Transcoder to access the server settings.
  3. Turn on Show Advanced in the upper-right corner to expose advanced settings.
  4. Turn on Use hardware acceleration when available .
  5. Click Save Changes at the bottom.
Jan 11, 2023

Can Plex play local files in TV? ›

On Android mobile devices (phones and tablets), the Plex app lets you access video files that you've saved to folders on your device's internal storage or SD card. Or, from other Android apps, you can select a video file and choose to open it in the Plex app.

What is the best 4K format for Plex? ›

If you are using the Plex web browser GUI to stream 4K content, it is recommended that 4K content is encoded with H. 264 video codec, and the video container is MP4.

What image formats does Plex support? ›

Content matching the following can usually be Direct Played:
  • ASF container. Video Encoding: vc1 , wmv2. ...
  • AVI container. Video Encoding: mpeg4 , msmpeg4 , msmpeg4v2 , msmpeg4v3 , vc1 , wmv3. ...
  • MOV container. Video Encoding: H.264. ...
  • MP4 container. ...
  • MPEG container. ...
  • MPEGTS , TS containers. ...
  • MKV container. ...
  • WMV container.
May 26, 2021

Does Plex edit metadata? ›

To edit the details for a particular piece of metadata: Choose the tab of category you want to change on the left, then click the detail field. Type or paste the changes. For items in the Tags or Sharing area, simply start typing the name.

How do I manually add files to Plex? ›

  1. Click to open the settings menu.
  2. Ensure that the correct Plex Media Server is selected within the settings menu.
  3. Select Libraries under the Manage section of the settings menu.
  4. Click Add Library.
  5. Choose the library type from the selection.
Jan 14, 2022

How do I put all my streaming services in one place on Plex? ›

Once you update Plex to the latest version, you will be presented with a list of streaming services that you can add. If you skip this screen, you can also add them later by going to Settings > Streaming Services on any device. Then choose your subscriptions and select Done or Save Changes if it appears at the end.

Did Plex shut down? ›

We've made the difficult decision to shut down the Plex Cloud service on November 30th, 2018. As you may know, we haven't allowed any new Plex Cloud servers since February of this year, and since then we've been actively working on ways to address various issues while keeping costs under control.

What the heck is Plex? ›

Plex is a live and on-demand streaming service that doubles up as a media server and personal storage service, making it a little different from its competitors in the live streaming marketplace. The Plex TV entertainment service includes live TV, on-demand content, free web shows, podcasts, and music streaming.

Is Plex still free? ›

The basic functionality of Plex is completely free, which includes playback of anything on your server, as well as Movies & Shows and Live TV (from Plex).

What is the risk of using Plex? ›

Why Is It Dangerous to Run Plex Over an Unencrypted Connection? By using an unencrypted connection, your traffic is vulnerable to a Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attack. This means an attacker can snoop on your network traffic, inject unwanted code into your traffic, and even intercept usernames and passwords.

How do I kick someone off my Plex? ›

You might want to remove a device from the list.
Removing a Device
  1. Open the Devices list.
  2. Locate the device in the list.
  3. Click the red x on that device listing.
  4. Confirm the removal.
Feb 28, 2019

Is Plex deleting my movies? ›

By default, when your Plex Media Server updates a Library and an item is no longer available at the specified location, the Server will not just remove the item from your library. Instead, the item will be marked as “soft deleted” so that you can restore the item without losing any metadata associated with the item.

Does Netflix use Plex? ›

Plex allows you to access all your streaming services with Plex Discover. When you set up the Plex server and app, you'll be prompted to select from a big list of streaming services, including the major ones you're likely subscribed to, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, Hulu, HBO Max, and more.

Does Plex sell your data? ›

Plex does not share, sell, rent, or trade Personal Data collected through its Channels with third parties for their sole promotional purposes or as otherwise outlined in this Privacy Statement.

Does Plex add metadata to files? ›

Plex allows you to tell your music library to use the metadata that's embedded in your music files. However, if you enable that option, that basically means that you're prioritizing local embedded tags over online information as well as committing to having accurate tags for your entire music library.

How do I organize my home like a pro? ›

How to Organize Your Home Like a Pro
  1. Disorganized to Organized. ...
  2. Have the Urge to Purge. ...
  3. Divide Your Drawers. ...
  4. Leave Out the Lid. ...
  5. Change the Way You Arrange. ...
  6. Spot Clutter Hotspots.
  7. Some areas are simply more prone to accumulating clutter than others. ...
  8. Make Sure to Maintain.

What is the best way to save home videos? ›

Stick them in a cloud folder

Even better, you can easily restrict access to the folder containing your home videos to people you give the link to. You can check out how that works in iCloud Drive, Google Drive and Dropbox. The pros are that this is one of the easiest ways to share access to your personal videos.

How do I create a smart collection in Plex? ›

Creating a “smart” collection is much like creating a smart playlist:
  1. Create a filter/sort based on the criteria you wish.
  2. From the Add To button or Save As menu choose Save as Smart Collection.
Dec 5, 2022

How do I manage my Plex library? ›

Edit a Library from the settings menu:
  1. Open the settings menu by selecting.
  2. Ensure the correct Plex Media Server is selected.
  3. Navigate to Libraries under the Manage section of the settings menu.
  4. Mouse over a library.
  5. Click the Edit button next to the library.
  6. Make the changes you want then click the Save Changes button.
Jul 31, 2019

Where does Plex get extras from? ›

These extras are sourced from a licensed online provider and will stream for you as needed. Note: Automatic extras requires an active Plex Pass subscription. These extras are not downloaded and stored locally; they are streamed as-needed and thus require an active internet connection to use.

What extras do you get with Plex Pass? ›

  • 200+ Free Live TV Channels Tune in anytime, on any device.
  • Free Movies & Shows Stream 50,000+ titles on demand.
  • Stream on Almost Any Device Download our free app to start.
  • Pause, Save, Resume Keep your spot from screen to screen.

How do you name Game of Thrones on Plex? ›

For TV shows, make a subfolder for each season (e.g., “Game of Thrones Season 01”). Name episodes in this manner: “Game of Thrones s01e01”.

Where does Plex get metadata TV shows? ›

In most cases, this metadata is retrieved from online resources (such as The Movie Database, The TVDB,, etc.).

Can Plex see my content? ›

Plex does not collect: Content titles of your Personal Content. Filenames EXCEPT those that may be collected under Debugging Information below. Metadata for Personal Content (e.g., information about the specific file, cover art, subtitles, running length, etc.)

Is Plex 100% free? ›

The basic functionality of Plex is completely free, which includes playback of anything on your server, as well as Movies & Shows and Live TV (from Plex).

Do home users get Plex Pass? ›

Free Access to Plex apps (Plex Pass).

If the admin of the Plex Home has an active Plex Pass subscription, all members of a Plex Home (both Managed Users and regular accounts) will be able to use our regular mobile Plex apps from the various app stores without doing a separate one-time, in-app activation purchase.

Is Plex Pass worth buying? ›

At $4.99 per month, $39.99 per year, or $119.99 for a lifetime subscription, it's cheaper than most paid streaming services, but you aren't really paying for the streaming content. To me, the killer features in Plex Pass are offline viewing and OTA TV with cloud DVR.

How do I name my home movies on Plex? ›

Choose Settings from the top right of the Home screen. Select your Plex Media Server from the settings sidebar. Choose Agents. Choose the Library Type and Agent you want to change.

How do I add my own TV shows to Plex? ›

To do this, ensure the Agent source is enabled and topmost in the list:
  1. Launch the Plex Web App.
  2. Choose Settings from the top right of the Home screen.
  3. Select your Plex Media Server from the settings sidebar.
  4. Choose Agents.
  5. Choose the Library type and Agent you want to change.
  6. Ensure Local Media Assets is checked.
Jan 31, 2022

Can you get HBO on Plex? ›

The recently-added Discover section in Plex shows you the new and trending content from all your streaming services, like Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, and more. This way, you can search for something to watch without switching back and forth between different apps.

Which database does Plex use? ›

After a bit of investigation, it was determined that the Plex Media Server stores data in two locations. The first location is in the cloud, and the second is a local SQLite database.

What is TV metadata? ›

For television broadcasting and video streaming, video metadata is used to provide information about specific video and audio streams or files, also known as essence. Metadata can either be embedded directly into the video or included as a separate file within a container such as MP4 or MKV.


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