If you have a computer lying around with video on it, Plex is seriously hot software.
Plex offers the following key features:
- Access from all devices (PC, tablet) via a web interface
- Moreover, because it transcodes on the fly to suit the device, you can still watch video on an older (e.g. Mk II iPad) and not worry that the format is over-specified for the device
- Lovely thumbnails and metadata (it will automatically try to download metadata for you)
- It remembers what you have watched and how far you are through it, so you can pick up where you left off
Plex itself is a mixture of open and closed source but running on FreeNAS/FreeBSD it seems very polished – it is fast and it just works. It has a ‘home movies’ setting which is ideal for video which is not a film or TV programme, e.g. video podcasts or a lecture series.
If you use FreeNAS, there a standard plugin for Plex: a video showing how to set it up can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WF0r36cxO0 (there is also an article on the FreeNAS website here http://www.freenas.org/whats-new/2013/09/plex-on-freenas.html)
You can read more about Plex at https://plex.tv/
Update: after searching for a while for a tool to help rename TV programmes and films in a way that Plex likes, I stumbled upon FileBot http://www.filebot.net/ which is avaialbe for OSX and Linux and does a good job of renaming video files.
There is also good article here http://www.techradar.com/news/computing-components/organize-music-and-movies-the-complete-guide-to-managing-your-media-1155622/1 which refers to both Plex and Filebot.