Archive for May, 2011
With 227 replies, and almost 400 votes in this thread, it’s obvious that there is a sizable bunch of you who would really like to run the Plex Media Server on Linux. And who can blame you, with sexy Linux-based storage devices on the market like the ReadyNAS pictured below? A device like this (or an unRAID for the DIY-ers, and damn it, why did I have to go read about unRAID and end up falling in love with this case?) running the Plex Media Server, combined with a rich assortment of clients (a Mac Mini, an iPad, an iPhone, an Android tablet, an LG Smart TV for the guest room, and a Roku Streaming Player for the kids’ room?), makes for an amazingly flexible, unified, and powerful media solution. Not to mention, the NAS is the only device that has to be left on, so Al Gore would yet again be proud.
The Plex Media Server is written in highly portable C++ code, and we’ve had versions of it running on Linux quite a while now. However, there are many flavors of Linux, and it runs on many different architectures, so we wanted to make sure we had an easy build and packaging system, which I’m proud to announce, we now do. Open up a Linux terminal, type a single command, and from scratch, source is downloaded, git repositories are cloned, compilers grind away, and a few dozens of minutes later, you have a package ready for uploading, while you idly pick Chinese food out of your beard.
We’re targeting three Linux flavors with this initial version: Ubuntu 10.01, Slackware 13.1 (unRAID), and ReadyNAS (Intel CPUs). Because of the way we’ve built with minimal external dependencies, it’s quite likely that these will run on a wider range of systems (say, Ubuntu 11.x). The only known external dependency it has is Avahi, which is required to provide Bonjour-based discovery. Unless you install and run Avahi, the server will not show up automatically in all Plex clients.
The Linux version of the Plex Media Server can run on any speed CPU, but of course if you’re planning to transcode, you’ll want at least a dual-core 2.4GHz CPU or so. It can run fine on systems without much memory too, a quiescent Plex Media Server only has about 16MB resident.
Note that we’re still trying to determine the best way to package the releases; more dependency on “system” libraries, less shared libraries, etc. We’d love to hear your thoughts, and our build and packaging system is sufficiently flexible to accommodate a range of options. In the meantime, however, take this preview release for a spin!
Because of the first take on the packaging, and also because this is the very first release for Linux, we’re putting it on the new Plex Labs page. This page is going to be the home base for some of our more experimental projects, things we want to get into your hands to play with before they’re completely finished. The Linux Plex Media Server is the first project from our labs, but rest assured lots of other crazy/cool stuff will pop up in there before long.
Many of you already know Barkley, the official Plex mascot/media hound. He just celebrated his sixth birthday and he’s been a wonderful friend and companion ever since we got him as a tiny little puppy.
As many of you know, we’re rather fanatical about making Plex as widely available as possible. At the center of the picture, all your media is happily served up by the Plex Media Server, running today on OS X and Windows, and in the future on various flavors of Linux. We are working hard to continuously improve the heart of the Plex experience, and listening to our users every step of the way (P.S. we love you all!).
On the other end, a wide variety of clients are available to consume content from the Plex Media Server. Our philosophy is not a “one size fits all” ~ the interfaces are tailored to each specific client, and there are a range of options, depending on your particular needs and budget. If you purchase a 2011 LG Smart TV, a Plex client is built in at no additional cost. On the other end of the spectrum, you can run our flagship client on a Mac Mini connected to your TV. Indeed, many of you run multiple Plex clients in your home and take advantage of the centralized management features to seamlessly switch between them.
Today, we’re proud to announce the addition of a new line of Plex clients: The Roku Streaming Players. These are awesome little devices, starting at just $59 for a 720p version, and $79 for a 1080p version. That’s less than the cost of a few beers over a weekend, or maybe even a single night, assuming you like waking up with tattoos and tigers. I personally have one in our guest bedroom, to rave reviews.
The Roku client, written by the talented and charming Jonny Wray (twitter: jonny_wray) is available right now, for those of you who already have Roku players. Simply log into your Roku account, select Add a Private Channel, and enter “plex” for the channel name.
The Roku client is considered beta, and supports only video content at the moment, although photo and music support will be added in the future (what can we say, we were super excited to share it with you!). The devices have great video playback capability, and they support Direct Streaming, which means high quality video without transcoding in many cases.
Give the new client a try, and let us know what you think in the new Roku forum!