Archive for May, 2012
Just a few short weeks after our last release, we have more goodness for you, in the form of new releases of the Plex Media Server, and the Plex desktop player. We’d like to get you releases more often, and make them easy for you to obtain, and to that end, we created a beta AppCast feed for the media server. When we release, depending on how stable we think the release is, we’ll either push it to the beta feed or the stable feed. This time around, the media server release is beta, because a lot has changed.
If you’re feeling brave, and like living on the bleeding edge, configure your media server to look for the beta feed. (Note that at worst you can just downgrade to an earlier version, we always have backwards and forwards compatibility for the library.) If you have a Roku, you’ll be especially interested in this release, as Schuyler worked some serious magic to fix the video artifacts people were observing on the Roku 2 devices.
Let’s walk through the changes for the media server first:
- NEW: Greatly enhanced media analysis. When I asked Max how to describe the changes, he said “it’s awesome”. He’s a man of few words, but I’ll try to explain a bit more. The media server analyzes your media for a few reasons: In order to extract a thumbnail, and to glean details about the exact format and codecs in the file. The latter is critical in order for players to determine what files they can consume without transcoding, which can be Direct Streamed (remuxed), and which need to be transcoded. The world of media is incredibly complicated. A simple MP4 file be optimized for streaming, or not; it can have 64-bit chunk offsets, or not; the H.264 inside it can be a myriad of different profiles, levels and have different features enabled. We now capture all of that information, and it will have many uses, not least in making the DLNA server component truly world-class. One thing you’ll notice is that when you scan in this version, the scan will take a lot longer the first time on an existing section, because the scanner is upgrading the analysis for all your files. Be patient, kick back, open a beer, and let it do its job!
- NEW: The default on new installs is to empty trash automatically. This was confusing too many new users, and I think it was the wrong default, not to mention a confusing UX around learning how and why to empty the trash.
- NEW: Support for non-DRM iTunes videos and iTunes U.
- FIX: Improved segmented MPEGTS output (fixes Roku artifacts). And there was much rejoicing!!
- FIX: TV shows didn’t load metadata properly if the episode had a date but no index (e.g. personal media).
- FIX: Individual TV episodes can now have their content rating set by the agents.
- FIX: A few random crashes observed in the wild.
- FIX: (Linux) From scratch installs now work again (e.g. Synology).
- FIX: Crash when transcoding (e.g. to LG MediaLink).
- FIX: Status text while scanning didn’t show up in the OS X media manager.
- FIX: Transcoder recognizes some MPEG2 files correctly now.
- FIX: Return the HTTP body from plug-ins even when there’s a failure.
- FIX: Audio transcoder wasn’t working for remote clients.
- FIX: Regression in the transcoder leading to green/artifacts on iOS/ATV2.
- FIX: Many fixes for SRT “burning” during transcode, including subtitles not showing up at all or only partially.
- FIX: (Linux) Ensure we kill orphaned DLNA servers.
- FIX: (Linux) DLNA server occasionally wasn’t able to start, unable to obtain IP.
- FIX: Don’t identify MP4 chapter tracks as subtitles.
- FIX: Durations in MP3 files should be analyzed much more accurately.
The Plex client has a number of fixes, and we’ll be paying it more attention in the coming months.
- NEW: Developer ID-signed for Mountain Lion.
- NEW: (OS X) Support for Crystal HD
- NEW: Allow forcing transcoding on local networks (good for older clients).
- FIX: Fix a crash when playing video over VNC.
- FIX: Apple remote keymap was incorrect in Now Playing window.
- FIX: (OS X) Many fixes for optical/HDMI audio output.
- FIX: (OS X) Transcoding 5.1 AAC and DTS to AC3 works now.
- FIX: When selecting multi-item videos, it always played the first item.
- FIX: Occasional flicker when starting videos.
- FIX: Respect the “noCache” attribute, fixes some channels not refreshing properly (e.g. Netflix).
- FIX: (OS X) RTMP wasn’t enabled properly.
- FIX: When playing some WebKit channels, it improperly transcoded, resulting in no audio.
- FIX: Saved cookies were making some channels fail to play (e.g. YouTube).
- FIX: Skinning issue that could make multiple thumbs appear for some content.
- FIX: Only show watched state (and context menu items) for library content.
- FIX: Changing display blanking settings required exiting and re-entering full screen to take effect.
- FIX: Plex.ToggleDisplayBlanking keymap function restored.
- FIX: Plex.RunScript and Plex.RunAppleScript work again (Mac OS only).
- FIX: (OS X) Plex.RunScript handles files with the .scpt extension as well as .applescript.
One recurring request we’ve gotten is to make it easier to add posters and background art to TV library sections, especially on Windows and Linux. In some cases, TheTVDB might not have a show, or maybe you want to create a completely custom section to organize your home videos into seasons and episodes. We just pushed a new Local Media Agent (which you’ll automatically get in the next few hours), that makes it really easy!
So what can you add to TV show sections?
- Show posters: show.jpg
- Show banners: banner.jpg
- Show background art: art.jpg or background.jpg
- Show theme music: theme.mp3
- Season posters: seasonX.jpg
- Season banners: seasonX-banner.jpg
- Episode thumbs: match the filename of the episode file
You can also use PNG files, if you’re a “losslessite” (I’m sure you listen to FLACs too). One really cool feature is that you can actually have multiple elements; just name them suffixed like show-1.jpg, theme-2.mp3. For multiple season elements, use the suffix a, b, c, etc.
We’re also not incredibly strict about where you put these files, so here’s an example of what your structure could look like (in reality, I’m a total neat freak, I promise!):
Do that, and you’ll end up with something that looks like the image below. Pretty cool, right? We also fixed a few other bugs in the agent while we were at it:
- NEW: Pick up genre in MP3 files.
- FIX: Issue where different movie posters were picked up during each scan.
- FIX: A stray folder.jpg file could apply to every movie in a folder.
We’re happy to announce a new release of the Plex Media Server; this is a followup to the last beta release, which was the first to support DLNA and Silverlight Smooth Streaming, and fixes a number of issues in those areas, along with some other things.
Overall the feedback for those new features has been really awesome. I’ll let our community do the talking:
Thanks so much for all your feedback, we really appreciate all the support!
Without further ado, here are the changes in the latest release. I’ve also included more detailed changes for the 0.9.6.0 release as well at the bottom. The new releases are available in the usual spot.
- NEW: Mac OSX releases are now signed with Developer ID, making it Mountain Lion and 10.7.4 friendly.
– NEW: We now allow the selection of higher quality streams over 3G with the latest iOS client.
– NEW: Show “Plex Media Server” when mapping a port via UPnP so it’s nice and pretty on the router.
– NEW: Plex Media Server is now available for ReadyNAS Duo v2 (ARM).
– NEW: (DLNA) Support matching headers by regular expression in DLNA profiles.
– NEW: (DLNA) Allow MIME types to be flexibly overridden by DLNA profiles.
- FIX: Don’t return empty Silverlight Smooth Streaming (SLSS) manifest files, crashes some clients.
– FIX: Bad transcoder regression that made remuxing produce ugly artifacts on iOS clients (purple/green).
– FIX: Transcoder regression where WEB-DL files (and others) could crash the transcoder.
– FIX: Fixed a bug where a large number of sections could make the server not show up in clients.
– FIX: Make sure media files sent back can be cached by clients.
– FIX: Speed up deletion of (especially large) library sections by at least two orders of magnitude. Fast!
– FIX: Fix for subtitles not being enabled automatically in certain cases.
– FIX: When we have *known* foreign audio, and a single unknown subtitle, enable it.
– FIX: Handle SIGTERM, this is the default kill signal and we should do a proper shutdown.
– FIX: (Linux) Plex Media Server now bundles rsync.
– FIX: Don’t allow the OS to go to sleep while streaming media.
– FIX: Crash that happened when manual NAT setting was used.
– FIX: Silverlight and Flash channel crashes on Windows and OS X. (e.g. Netflix)
– FIX: Audio transcoder fixes.
– FIX: SLSS crash fixed and support for files which claim crazy frame-rates.
– FIX: Long shutdown on Linux.
– FIX: Some videos not Direct Streaming with LG TVs.
– FIX: Crash when /etc/mtab doesn’t exist, use /proc/mounts instead.
– FIX: /search endpoint supports single quotes in queries.
– FIX: (DLNA) Fix dimensions for DLNA videos of unknown size.
– FIX: (DLNA) Don’t error out on unknown DLNA profile tags.
– FIX: (DLNA) Give up on starting the DLNA server if it fails too many times in a row.
– FIX: (DLNA) Windows setup now creates a firewall exception for DLNA.
– FIX: (DLNA) iTunes artist titles was not read correctly by DLNA.
– FIX: (DLNA) Return a better protocol info for picky clients.
And for 0.9.6.0:
- NEW: DLNA support.
- NEW: Silverlight Smooth Streaming support.
- NEW: Audio transcoder (not yet used).
- NEW: Many enhancements to generic transcoder.
- NEW: Support for gzipped replies, making mobile browsing much quicker.
- FIX: Image thumbnails are rotated according to EXIF data.
- FIX: (Transcoder) Resuming certain videos on mobile clients didn’t work.
- FIX: Crash in network detection code.
- FIX: Cases where scans can abort prematurely.
- FIX: On Lion, don’t require the more powerful GPU.
- FIX: Detect local network access via IP/netmask.
- FIX: (Linux) Crash scanning when permissions were wrong.
- FIX: Sometimes auto-generated thumbs turned out too dark.
- FIX: An issue signing into myPlex (“Plex Headers are Required”).
- FIX: Don’t return disabled build-in plug-ins (e.g. Aperture).
- FIX: (Windows) Kill phantom transcode sessions.
- FIX: A number of other crashes and minor bugs.
Since we’re detailing the changes behind not one, but TWO releases, I figured you deserved something more than a photo of Barkley, so we made you a video. No, he’s not fishing, he’s just confused by objects on the bottom of the lagoon looking closer than they actually are.