Archive for the 'Really, dawg?' Category
It’s that time of year.
The days are starting to get shorter, there’s a certain evening chill, and the air is awash in possibilities. In a few short weeks you’ll pack up the rusty Nissan and head off back to school. What classes will you take? What adventures await? Lots of questions, one thing is for sure: Plex will help you get through the school year.
Just to make sure of it, we’re running a two-day sale (our first ever!) on our beautiful iOS and lovely Android apps. Both are now available for the low, low price of $1.99. We’re always excited to hear how schools around the world are using Plex with their students, and we’re super happy to make it more affordable.
Even Barkley is stocking up on back-to-school clothes.
Photo by my lovely wife Anna.
One of the coolest things about building a media server with a API is that you never know what sort of clients are going to appear out of thin air. Over the years we’ve been incredibly impressed with a wide range of projects: The original Plex for Roku, the insanely popular Plex for Samsung app, and even the original version of Plex/Web were all developed by people who wanted to see Plex go where it had never gone before. (Also note that we hired Eric, the Plex/Web guy. If you want a full-time job with Plex, now you know what impresses more than a résumé.)
There’s one little box in the living room which hasn’t been as fully compatible with Plex as we’ve liked, and that’s the Apple TV. There’s been a Plex client available for a few years now, but only for Jailbroken devices, which means the more powerful v3 device can’t be used (and let’s face it, Jailbreaking can be tricky). Oh, and we hired one of those guys too.
Enter PlexConnect. The brainchild of Baa, roidy and f00b4r, it’s a super clever little hack which allows a rich, fully-functional Plex client on un-jailbroken ATV2 and ATV3 (1080p!) devices. Essentially, you run a program on your computer which masquerades as the Trailer app. Next, change one setting on the ATV, and you’re up and running. It took me less than 2 minutes to install and get it running. It already uses the new transcoder (which means great support for subtitles), and I suspect it’ll support myPlex soon as well. In the PlexPass preview release of the media server, it also supports AC3 5.1 (remuxing and transcoding from DTS). Another cool thing: it supports iTunes DRM’ed video files.
Without further ado, I’ll leave you with some screenshots of PlexConnect. You can install the official version from here, or if you’re running v5.2 of the firmware or later, you can try our version, which has a few tweaks featured in the photos below.
Note that these are early days still, you’ll need to know your way around a Terminal, but I expect a more polished installer isn’t far off. Check out their wiki for more information.
N.B. The current release does NOT yet run on Synology boxes, which is apparently a limitation of the bundled Python.
Our hats are off to Baa and roidy, what they’ve accomplished is incredibly impressive!
Here at Plex, we’re big fans of Drobo. Many of us have owned them since the first-generation units (I had two, personally), and none of us ever lost a single byte of data in years of use.
We were excited to hear about the new Drobo 5N devices, because they seemed like a really good fit for the Plex Media Server. The deceptively compact boxes are packing a quad-core processor (of which 3 cores are available for applications), and it’s got much more RAM than your average ARM-based NAS.
The usual issue with running on low-powered, energy-efficient devices is the lack of ability to do transcoding. However, the Drobo’s ARM processors, while not able to perform video transcoding in real-time, CAN transcode multi-channel audio to stereo AAC in real-time (easily!), and can remux (a fancy word for repackaging audio and video without converting it) video much faster than real-time. In fact, in our testing it could sustain multiple simultaneous streams without issues.
What does this mean? It means that you can stuff a Drobo full of MKV files and stream them in real-time to our highly rated iOS or Android or Roku apps. Or stream them to a PS3 using DLNA, or to the Windows 8 app. Or of course use the Plex Media Center (which doesn’t require any transcoding), or Plex for Google TV (which plays most formats natively), or the Plex app for Samsung devices, or an LG TV. Lots of possibilities!