(Random inconsequential factoid: when I was a kid, I tried to memorize lots of digits of Pi to – obviously – impress the ladies. Never made it past 15 digits.)
Happy Pi day, Plexians! I hope you’re all doing something date-appropriate like watching TV or relaxing an hour and six minutes earlier than usual. If, on the other hand, you’re feeling like letting your geek flag fly, you should check out the RasPlex project.
A bit of background: The Raspberry Pi is a tiny computer which sells for as little as $25. Size and price notwithstanding, the popular device packs a powerful graphics chip which allows for HD video decoding and high performance 3D graphics. Sound like a perfect device to run Plex Home Theater on? You’re not alone in thinking that. Thankfully, Sam Nazarko has been doing brilliant work on making XBMC (which Plex Home Theater is based on) really run well on the Raspberry Pi with his Raspbmc project.
And I have to say, the combination of the Raspberry Pi and Plex Media Server is especially compelling, given our awesome transcoder: Any codecs the board can’t handle natively can be transcoded in real time by the server.
Thus, a few months ago, RasPlex was born. We were approached by Dale with his ideas for the project, which even included a cool-looking custom case for the device. If you have a Raspberry Pi already, you can download an early release of the Plex Home Theater port today from his site.
There’s nothing that makes us happier than more options for running Plex! (And it’s especially cool when the option comes from our amazing community.)34 comments
We have an awesome media server update for you today. One of the last in the 0.9.7 series, as we inch ever closer to that mythical one-dot-oh. (There’s some amazing stuff coming in the 0.9.8 series, already in active development!)
One of the most notable things about this release are all the changes in the new transcoder. This transcoder can burn image-based subtitles (PGS and VOBSUB), it’s much faster than the old one, resolves many issues the old one had (including quite a few issues with Roku, like the infamous AC3 issue), and we’re in the process of updating all the clients to use it.
The new transcoder is used by default with the new Plex for Android app, the latest version of Plex/Web, and by PlexSync, of course. The next release of iOS (out shortly) can be used with it, as will the next release of Plex for Roku, and we’ll be updating the DLNA server to use it as well.
Let’s get into the details; lots of stuff, as it’s been baking in PlexPass for a while. As you might expect, the majority of the changes are fixes, as we work to get 0.9.7 rock solid. You can pick up the update directly from the usual place, or wait for autoupdate to kick in shortly.
- NEW: Auto-select forced subtitles. I don’t speak alien either.
- NEW: (API) More information passed back at root level to aid PlexSync clients.
- NEW: (API) Final transcode resolution passed back for transcode session endpoint.
- NEW: (API) Add a “transcoderVideo” flag at root if we support transcoding video.
- NEW: (API) Allow callers to specify a background color when transcoding to JPEG.
- NEW: (API) Add viewStateUpdatedAt for global OnDeck to allow sorting.
- NEW: (API) export library section UUIDs for PlexSync.
- NEW: (Android) Add FLAC as a direct play profile (syncing at less than “highest” will convert to MP3).
- NEW: Added device notifications for sync (in progress, item complete). Mostly helps Kepler.
- NEW: (PlexSync) Support for syncing show banners.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Massive speedups for the new transcoder in many scenarios (sync, streaming, seeking). It should be 2x to 3x faster (around 2x faster than the old transcoder), and will resolve many issues of stuttering and buffering some have seen.
- FIX: A bug where timed library updates might only happen every other interval.
- FIX: A major regression with subtitles causing transcoder to exit on certain OS X systems.
- FIX: A case where we didn’t allow the host system to sleep.
- FIX: Improvements to audio stream picking heuristics.
- FIX: A hang when WebKit transcodes failed.
- FIX: Some EAC3 streams showed up as “EC-3″.
- FIX: Use media analysis duration instead of likely meaningless metadata duration when possible.
- FIX: Improved elastic thread pool behavior, less pressure on thread creation/destruction.
- FIX: Fixed an issue where background color wasn’t correct in the image transcoder (fixes section icons on Roku).
- FIX: (OS X) Fix auto-update library failing under certain conditions.
- FIX: (OS X) Show Plex/Web preferences by default, option-click shows old Cocoa prefs.
- FIX: Improve Kepler transcoder profile, add Plex/Web profile.
- FIX: (ReadyNAS) Update packaging, fix temp folder path.
- FIX: (Ubuntu) Upstart fix.
- FIX: (Fedora) Fixes in scripts.
- FIX: (Roku) Improve profile, disable anamorphic video.
- FIX: (Kepler) Limit AAC to two channel, so 5.1 gets mixed down when streaming on mobile devices.
- FIX: (Kepler) Fix for anamorphic video displaying incorrectly.
- FIX: (Windows) Don’t let PYTHONPATH interfere with our Python. Fixes some startup issues.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Upgrade to ffmpeg 1.1.2
- FIX: (New transcoder) Allow specifying max bitrate.
- FIX: (New transcoder) MPEG4 inside AVI files didn’t work.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Allow for faster seeking for clients that support it.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Don’t send back blank segments when transcoder dies.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Allow other users access to transcode session information.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Use higher bitrate when converting other codecs to AAC.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Improve quality when transcoding interlaced content.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Greatly improved AAC audio quality.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Remove MP3 from iOS HLS transcode target.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Improved support for remuxing with multichannel audio.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Support transcoding between multi-channel formats.
- FIX: (New transcoder) We failed with some content due to scaling bug (Vimeo, TED).
- FIX: (New transcoder) Send more logs up to the media server to help diagnosing issues.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Fix an issue when remuxed videos failed or acted weirdly.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Fix issue with last character being missing in SRT subs.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Fix SRT subs showing <font> tags.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Improve accuracy of bitrate in M3U8, helps Roku.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Improve bandwidth estimates for HLS.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Some indirect videos failed to play.
- FIX: (New transcoder) We were generating MPEGTS streams which occasionally made the Roku crash.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Improve reliability of new transcoder when resuming.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Some VOBSUB subtitles inside MKV files weren’t burned.
- FIX: (New transcoder) Some high bitrate stereo content failed to transcode.
I’ll let the tireless Plex mascot have the last word, as usual. Barkley’s been dragging me down to the beach twice a day for a lagoon swim, and if I’m not mistaken, his paws are growing more and more webbed.
Well, we promised you a release before the week was up, but to be honest, our weeks don’t really end on Friday. I’ve come to think of the weekend as a nice quiet time to code, actually.
Anyway, you know why you’re here, so without further ado, here’s how to get the new Plex for Android release. These links will only work for PlexPass members:
- Install the latest Plex Media Server from here.
- Visit this forum post for details on how to get the app from Google Play or download the APK.
This is the first release of a brand new codebase, so we expect there will be a veritable cornucopia of bugs. Bring ‘em on (with well-written reports in the forum) and we’ll get ‘em fixed!
Here’s a bonus Friday night photo of Barkley. Check out that sagittal crest.