Archive for the 'Really, dawg?' Category
The Roku is one of our favorite ways to get Plex on the big screen. I actually used to own two Roku SoundBridges back in the day, so my love for the company goes way back. But seriously, what’s not to love about those sexy little boxes? They’re affordable, reliable, and have 1080p output; we know people with 4 of them connected up around their house, all streaming from a Plex Media Server.
Speaking of streaming to multiple devices at once, our friend @andersnorberg conducted an interesting test with the new release of the media server, which has some really nice optimizations to reduce CPU usage. He was able to stream 720p and 1080p content to twelve devices at the same time from one of the new Mac Minis without a problem. He literally ran out of devices without being able to overload the server (see photo below). Got any other crazy stories for us about how you’re running Plex in your underground vampire-themed club in Berlin, or on your laser-shark-equipped 200 foot yacht in the South Pacific? Let us know.
Anyway, we have a nice update to the Plex Roku channel which we’d like to tell you about. As you might know, the channel is open source, and we always welcome contributions. We’d like to give a shout out to flyryan, whose changes we’ve incorporated into this new version. Here is the full list of changes:
- Some internal re-architecting to use a single message port/loop. Not exciting, but a ton of work and the thing that enabled most of what’s on this list. It also means the code should be a bit cleaner, feel free to contribute!
- Background audio support: Audio no longer stops playing when you leave the screen on which you started playing it. Among other things, you can listen to music while browsing for videos or more music to play, and you can start a slideshow while the music continues to play in the background. You can navigate to the currently playing audio from the home screen or by hitting the * key on most screens. How cool is that?
- Remote control: You can actually fling media over to the Roku and control it with another Plex app (this requires an updated media server which will be out in a week or so).
- Added myPlex recommendations to the home screen.
- Added global Recently Added and On Deck to the home screen.
- Additional display preferences, home screen rows and section display rows (all, on deck, unwatched, …) can be reordered.
- Improved the load time on grid screens.
- Added preference for subtitle color (soft subs only)
- Added a delete button, when the media server is configured to allow deletion.
- TV theme music!
- Basic support for stacked (multi-part) videos.
- Small bug fixes around subtitles and surround sound.
We are aware of one high profile bug that has not been addressed yet; some people
see crashes on some files with 5.1 audio. We’re working with Roku to figure
out what’s causing the problem, likely some combination of transcoder and Roku firmware.
As you may already know, we’re huge fans of the Microsoft Windows 8 (née Metro) interface. We had a ton of fun writing the Plex app for Windows Phone 7, so when Windows 8 was released, we wasted no time in working to bring you a first class native application for the platform. We’d like to give you a quick visual overview, and then invite you to download it; it’s live in the Windows Store right now, at an introductory price of just $2.99!
I love the home screen for Plex on Windows 8. In my mind it’s a perfect amalgam of many of the visual idioms we’ve been exploring on many of the different Plex apps, but at the same time it looks like a (very lovely) completely native Windows 8 app. It’s got a background art slideshow, a gorgeous On Deck section, your myPlex queue, and much more.
The library areas will look familiar to those who have used the Windows Phone 7 app, as well as Plex/Web.
Note also that we’ve brought the incredibly powerful filtering system that first appeared in Plex/Web over to the Windows 8 app. It would not be a stretch to say that it’ll make its way to other Plex apps over time.
That’s just a quick overview, but I hope it conveys the love we’ve brought to this new platform. Let us know what you think!130 comments
Fall is in the air, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, at least in the United States. The leaves are turning, and the first snow has already fallen in some parts of the country. I’m personally looking forward to the smell of warm pies baking, turkeys roasting, garlic-infused mashed potatoes with altogether too much butter, and of course spending time with family.
Thanksgiving implies travel for many people. Crowded airports, long drives, lots of time in lines, or pretending to fall asleep next to talkative strangers on planes. In other words, the perfect time for using Plex.
Unfortunately, wireless broadband is far from ubiquitous, and even when it’s available, it’s usually expensive, mostly slow, and sometimes even metered. This sucks, and it sucks even worse if you’re trying to stream high definition video.
Today, we’re doing something about that.
(We’ve actually been working especially hard this last month to finish it up in time for Thanksgiving!)
Ladies and gentlemen, we are incredibly proud to be to introduce PlexSync to you. It’s available today for iOS, and will be available for Android in the next couple of weeks.
Syncing media to the device is probably the most highly requested features since we launched the mobile apps, and rightly so. Using PlexSync, you can flag content from your library (or from certain channels) for download. Once you’ve done that, your server will convert the content you selected to a compatible format, and the mobile client will download the content to your device so you can view it when you’re offline.
PlexSync is a premium feature. It is currently in beta, and as such we’re making it available free of charge to our PlexPass members during the beta period. We’ll collect feedback, fix all the bugs, and make sure it works amazingly well. Let’s explore some key features of PlexSync:
- PlexSync is universal: It doesn’t matter whether you want to sync content from your library or from a channel – PlexSync can handle it all. Personally, I can’t live without my Vimeo Staff Picks, best videos on the Internet, so let’s grab a few to watch. See that little download button in the upper right? Tap it like it’s hot.
- PlexSync is rich: When you’re offline, you get almost exactly the same experience as if you were online. All your metadata is visible, along with posters, background art and theme music, and you can filter your content just as if you were browsing live content from your server. How awesome is that? Here I am in offline mode, can you taste the richness?
- PlexSync is flexible: You decide exactly what you want to sync. PlexSync can sync everything, limit based on duration, or number of items, or filter out episodes you’ve already watched – you name it. Here I am syncing 3 Pixar Movies, because, honestly, nothing keeps my (imaginary) kids quiet for hours like watching a lamp bounce around on a squeaky ball over and over again.
- PlexSync is smart: Your server will automatically convert more content for your device as you watch videos you’ve already synced. And your watched state & view offsets are synced back to your server the next time you connect. The sync details are stored in the cloud, so they can be edited even if your server is offline. Here I’m watching the media conversion take place on the server. My server is converting the file at 7.2x realtime, since it has more CPUs than Angelina Jolie has adopted children.
- PlexSync is considerate: Your server won’t use precious CPU cycles to convert your content if you’re already converting something for watching live. Additionally, you can instruct the app to only display synced content when you’re not on a Wi-Fi network, ensuring Plex doesn’t gobble up your cellular data allowance. Check out this sexy new connectivity setting:
- PlexSync works great with subtitles: We support SRT, SMI, SSA, and – happy days! – PGS and VOBSUB too.
- PlexSync is developer friendly: There is an API, and we expect that people will do cool and creative things with it. There is a flexible profile-based system (similar to the DLNA profiles) which configures how the media conversion is done.
We are very happy to share PlexSync with you today, and along with it all the other great features of Plex 3.0 for iOS. Barkley is happy too, but his contract currently only provides for using his likeness in media server release posts.286 comments