Well this is a quest that has gone on for me for a VERY long time now . I have spent many years trying to find the right media server/htpc setup that works for me. I have tried most of the software out there ranging from xbmc, orb,home server built in media player, vlc , windows media player server, tversity, and so many more.
Finally a few years ago I was told about a product called Plex . I broke down and figured why not I will try another media server software that will probably suck since so many others have. I gave it ago and followed the prompts which were simple to setup the media server in a matter of minute. That was a very pleasant surprise unlike many others I have tried. AT this point in time I had a media library, but nothing like I have now. We will get to that later. I added my media folders from the small array I had at the time and bam was done. At this point it was just called plex theater I think its been a awhile. I can say I am very happy and have stuck with this product since then. I have probably been using this product for at least 5 years solid now. It is super simplistic to setup and you have no fusing with scrapping the meta data for the boxart and things like that. Download the server software for y our intended Os from https://app.plex.tv. You can setup for anything from Windows, Linux, Mac , and even nas type platforms. Setup of the server takes about 5-10 minutes and is straight forward. The adding of media is pretty easy to (which mine are stored on two separate nas units. You might ask why I have two? Well I have built and setup two separate nas and plex storage servers that I share with my close friends and family. AT his point I am sitting at a very large healthy library of media that is mirrored across both of my plex servers. One of which is installed on a windows vm and media points to my freenas storage server and second is installed on my windows based secondary storage/ plex server. Few screens grabs of my plex setup.