Survey Results - Plex Blog

Survey Results

| 14 Sep 2008 | by 34 Comments

I’ll be out of town for the next couple days, but I wanted to leave you all with some entertaining reading material. Back in July we asked you to fill out a survey detailing how you store your media, how you use Plex, and what future work on the project was important to you. There’s a link to the full survey towards the end, but here are some of the things that were interesting to me:

  • Almost three quarters of you have little or no media on physical discs.
  • 84% of you have little or no media in VIDEO_TS folders, or in ISO/IMG files.
  • 81% of you have little or no media inside RARs or ZIP files.
  • More than half of you have a majority of your media in high definition. Hello, future!
  • Only 4% of you use 4×3 resolution.
  • Only 24% of you use library mode, with 22% finding it too buggy and 29% finding it too complicated.

The interesting thing about those numbers – to me, at least – is in terms of priorities and allocating limited resources towards work on a project. As an example, I think it’s clear from these numbers that Team RazorFish did the exact right thing by leaving 4×3 support for their lovely MediaStream skin until the end!

The top three things you wanted from Plex back in July were stability, integration with OS X, and a lovely skin. We’ve been working hard to address the first, we now ship with the MediaStream skin, and we’ve got some really exciting stuff coming up in terms of integration features.

Plex needs to have strong focus on what’s important to our users, and we really appreciate everyone who filled out the survey to help us with that.

And now I’m off to go relax and celebrate our one year wedding anniversary. Assuming I can relax without an Internet connection, that is…

Plex Planning Survey.pdf

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34 Comments so far

  1. OwlBoy September 14th, 2008 10:07 am

    On that mediastream 4:3 comment, I would have to say that prolly over half the users who use XBMC on the xbox use it on older 4:3 TVs. Remember, this is still a cross platform project!

    (this post brought to you by a PPC using, non-hdtv having XBMC user)

  2. Mickey September 14th, 2008 10:33 am

    Thanks for the feedback, Elan, enjoy your wedding birthday!! ;)

    Just one think regarding Library mode: maybe if you ask that question now, with the arrival of MediaStream, the Library mode should have more votes ;)


  3. JellyUK September 14th, 2008 10:34 am

    I would guess that the number of people using the library mode would have increased since this survey, to my eyes, it has become much more usable since the introduction of the mediastream skin and bug fixes in recent releases.

    Have a great anniversary dude!

  4. paul September 14th, 2008 10:37 am

    I’m surprised the proportion of people using aeon wasn’t higher…

  5. rasmusth September 14th, 2008 10:45 am

    I have nothing on physical discs. All my video is in RAR containers though( who wastes time unRARing? :s )

    I use library, and I personally think that Plex/XBMC would be like any other mediacenter if it didnt have the library function. There are no bugs in the library.


  6. Nik September 14th, 2008 10:49 am

    I’ve finally gotten to grips with how the Library system works but I have to say it was not easy, too many confusing minutes not knowing what Plex was doing in the background, confusing menus… Making the great app easier to use would solve a major gripe for the majority of the users.

    Keep up the good work.

  7. Martin September 14th, 2008 10:55 am

    Wierd, i have 99% of my media inside rar archives. this is one of the killer features in xbmc/plex. May it not be discontinued.

  8. migueld September 14th, 2008 2:20 pm

    What about physical media renting? I think that the survey is being a bit misleading on the usage of physical media. From the survey it looks as if physical media is not that important since most of us don’t own much of it. BUT, I bet many of us rent DVDs periodically through Netflix or Blockbuster online.

    It would be interesting to see how many of us rent, because that would give a different impression on how important it might be to prioritize a stable DVD/Blu-ray experience.

  9. t02948 September 14th, 2008 8:25 pm

    i’m also more into library mode now. I use it all the time with video, but for music it’s still a bit to hard to use

  10. migueld September 14th, 2008 9:55 pm

    Oh BTW happy anniversary, enjoy :)

  11. September 15th, 2008 1:10 am

    Agree with JellyUK – I’ve only started using Library mode since MediaStream skin so please keep developing it! Have a great break. M.

  12. Adam September 15th, 2008 2:32 am

    What is the best recommended way to store video files?

    I currently use movies in VIDEO_TS.

    I also have some avi files of tv shows.

    Should I be doing something different?

  13. JLaiho September 15th, 2008 2:37 am

    I have a large DVD library (TV series, especially) that I watch with the original Xbox XBMC (which I hope Plex will one day replace). Judging by this post, I am a little worried that DVD playback is going to be neglected in the feature prioritization.

    I second the rental comment above. Physical discs are not going anywhere for a long time, and I hope the project leads keep that in mind while prioritizing. And as Plex gains wider adoption as it matures, the importance of DVD playback will only grow. Early adopters (exactly the people the survey targeted) understandably don’t see it as important as less technically inclined future users will. And even for early adopters, owning “a little” DVDs is still owning some they will probably want to watch.

    Speaking of features, one that I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere for a long time is the once-advertised idea of a decode buffer for HD content, mostly high-bitrate 1080p. Unless I’ve missed something major, there’s been no news in that front for months. Is it still in the cards? I sure hope so, with my puny C2D Mac Mini…

  14. eduo September 15th, 2008 4:16 am

    Well, I keep being divided. Library Mode (a name that’s becoming more and more out of place as time passes) tends to cause me more grief than be helpful.

    I’m talking solely here about Video files but I keep finding problems with Library Mode I just don’t have with file mode. It’s all too common to have duplicate covers, incorrect identifications, files scraped in file mode that show as question marks in the library, etc.

    If File mode was able to recognize season folders and scrape them as such (currently it just ignores them and looks only for the files inside) then I wouldn’t use Library mode ever again.

    It doesn’t help that mediastream’s thumbnails seldom look like the end result when changing view modes.

    So far, I guess I’ll either stick with MediaStream in File Mode or perhaps move back to PMIII (I miss my banners and MS has no banner-optimized view).

  15. dan4prez September 15th, 2008 4:17 am

    Yeah, DVD support is pretty important to me. While I do have all my DVD’s ripped to h.264 and stored on an external hard drive, I definitely rent DVDs every week or two from Redbox, so having Plex be the all in one media center that I want it to be, DVD support is crucial.

  16. Jonas September 15th, 2008 6:58 am

    I can’t even turn on library on videos. The scraper settings is always empty for me. When I add a directory, set contents, nothing to choose from….

  17. Lars September 15th, 2008 8:34 am

    I have 95% of my media inside RAR archives, this is the best features in PLEX. Please please continue!
    Great works PLEX people.

  18. Jr. September 15th, 2008 9:14 am

    Im also quite suprised so few have their media inside rar archives.

    Being able to stream directly through rar archives is absolutely deal/dealbreaker for me. This feature sets plex and xbmc apart from windows media center, front row and the like.

  19. Knowlr September 15th, 2008 10:53 am

    Agree with some of the priorities. The fancy new skin has been delivered – no need to make many changes there its amazing. Library mode has always been pretty good to me but I am religious about file renaming so maybe that’s why I have better results.

    DVD playback and CD playback is a must to help Plex become more wife-friendly so I can ditch the dvd player in the lounge and bedroom and replace with Plex’s and Mac’s!

    Integration with iTunes would be good for my ripped music, even better for me is if someone wrote a plugin for Squeezebox/Squeezecenter then I could get rid of even more black boxes…

  20. sej7278 September 15th, 2008 11:08 am

    i’d use the library if the scrapers were much, much better, as they are now they just aren’t practical with large libraries – i’ve given up trying to manually fix 500gb of movies, even using tbn/nfo files and directories etc.

    library mode seemed to be a bit better with that skin that was in one of the previous releases – not aeon, pm3 or mediastream.

    my perfect setup would be file mode with the information display of library mode – i.e. a cover image and some basic genre/plot info.

    oh and well done on fixing the blog for firefox2.

    i’m INCREDIBLY surprised that the majority have the majority of their content in HD, given that there are little or no HD rip/transcode applications out there (especially for macosx) and the cost of bluray drives; either that or everyone is downloading…..

  21. Mikkel September 15th, 2008 9:14 pm

    I store all my material on my Synology Webstation and it works perfectly, but who wastes time unzipping the video files when you can access them directly from the rar container.
    The new Media Stream is especially cool for movies and TV series.

  22. Ords September 16th, 2008 12:05 am

    Hello, great job you guys are doing. Since 2 weeks I am a prowed owner of the Minimac (mac noob) and using it as my Homevideo system. The Macstore did advice me to go for this project ;). Have ripped (windows based) all me original DVD’s (~300) to multiple DVD files as a backup. Stored on my WH server using SMB with 3T space available. Using plex in File mode with great pleasure. Library mode I will try later, but so far a very happy user. library mode tryed but seems got to learn something there.
    Again great job.

  23. ijhammo September 16th, 2008 2:08 am

    As a new Plex user I missed out on the survey but I have to agree with those people saying DVD playback is very, very important. Whilst I am happy to browse through the menu system and find content, my wife and kids want to be able to just throw a DVD in a play it. Plus I really don’t want to clog my NAS up with rips of Tellytubbies!!

    I have just moved to Plex from Meedio on the PC and the Library feature in Meedio was what kept me there so long (it was bought and fugged by Yahoo ages ago now). So far I haven’t found the PLEX Library too buggy and the Mediastream skin is just drop dead gorgeous (compared to Meedio), but what PLEX needs (which meedio had) is a tool that allows easy editing of the library to fix those little anomalies that occasionally pop up.

    Also, as JLaiho said, some buffering would be good – Plex takes noticeably longer to start playing content and swap between content than Meedio did.

    Lastly, for me, auto switching of the screen frequency dependent on the content would be awesome!

  24. Large September 16th, 2008 4:33 am

    I love library mode on the media stream skin, it definately makes Plex for me at the moment keep up the good work.

    I’d also agree with the comments about needing DVD playback support. I have loads of DVDs and as a format they they won’t be vanishing quickly.

    Thanks for a great product!!

  25. PharCyder September 16th, 2008 9:57 am

    Yes yes, please no takey Library mode away. The survey mostly only gathered stats from peoples experiences with Library mode using PM skin. MS skin is a different ball game all together.

    Enjoy your well deserved time off !

  26. Mickey September 16th, 2008 9:36 pm

    Even if I do not have many physical DVD (only 150), please do not drop DVD play support, as my Mini with Plex is now the only DVD plyer I have!!!

  27. elan September 16th, 2008 9:42 pm

    Just to clarify, we’re not looking to cut features at the moment, but rather we’re just trying to understand better how our users use Plex, and focus our priorities based on that.

  28. Erlend September 17th, 2008 2:45 am

    Ive been using xbmc for years on the xbox, and started using plex when I bought a mini. Only now, with the arrival of the mediastream skin, I really discovered library mode. And I must say, I love it. I have a job renaming some of the files as the scraper came up with some interesting suggestions for some of the movies. But I think that job will be worth it.

    Also, I have to join the people who really think DVD support is important. I have quite a few DVDs in my collection and ripping them is a job Im not gonna do in the nearby future. I also rent DVDs (I could always rip those before watching, and of course delete them when I return the movie :) and the mini is my only DVD player in the house.

    Anyway, I love plex and it got me to finally buy a universal remote, clearing some space on my living room table.

  29. fall-line September 17th, 2008 6:44 am

    I agree with a number of other comments here and wanted to add my two pennies. As someone who answered (honestly) that I have very little content on physical disks, I believe that seamless physical DVD playback is essential. To my mind, it’s the largest hole in the Plex feature set to date, but the package as a whole is still so excellent, I’ve been happy to wait. While I only have probably 30-40 DVDs at home, I do also rent from blockbuster, and my girlfriend likes to bring over movies to watch. As eluded to above, this is one of those key “family friendly” (weather that be your wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, partner, kids, roommate, whatever) features that will make a big difference in the overall experience, even if it’s only used infrequently.

    I’m also in the camp of folks who used library rarely (and indicated as such on the survey), but can’t see living without it now with mediastream, etc.

    I hope this and the others comments are seen to help interpret the survey results, not counter them. Happy anniversary to you two.

  30. jayman978 September 17th, 2008 10:41 am

    For everyone that is having trouble with Library mode or has specific questions, come on over to the forums and ask your questions over there. There are a lot of helpful people, including myself, who are ready and willing to answer questions. Also check out the Getting Started Documentation in the wiki. There is a lot of useful info there!

  31. Matt September 18th, 2008 6:20 am

    As a relative new user of Plex (actually started with OSXMBC just before the fork), I find the latest incarnation a real step forward. I’ve given up on physical media. Like the elimination of CD’s, ripping DVDs to soft copy allows me to eliminate the bulk, and take advantage of the digital tags through the library.

    I think a key improvement for the library (and this may not be easy), is to allow for auto tagging of the type of content in a folder. Right now we have to set content when there’s a source. The nirvana is to identify the video file based on name, or a digital fingerprint like we do with music, and then auto categorize it. And like iTunes does with music, it would be sweet to have the software organize the library on the drive, with appropriate file folder structure.

    I know this is easier said than done, but as people’s collections grow, the more we need easy media management.

  32. danii September 18th, 2008 11:58 am

    i thought that like some one else would notice by now that flac playing gets and buffert error like 3-4 times in a 5 minute song”a studder”, and this started in 0.5b4 i think, Mp3 plays as normal!!, almost every album i own is in flac so i´m beginning to go crazy!, i thought that some one hade notice but obvious not, and then again mp3 is in majority i think. pleeeeeeease fix, i´m not a forum guy, therefor it comes out here.


  33. Noob September 21st, 2008 11:53 pm

    XBMC Plex

    Plex is a fork with better Integration in OSX – right?
    What are the deifferences in detail?

    iTunes and iPhoto Integration in XBMC:

    Will Plex have this feature soon?

    In an older Version of Plex I heard the fans of my macbook a lot :(

    Anyway: Great Project!!!

  34. saeed October 8th, 2008 4:47 am

    New to Plex, and the community.
    I’ve been working on a HTPC for my macmini, and wasn’t happy with Front Row’s limited usage. Plex seems like it’s exactly what I’m looking for.

    That said, I have ALL my movies in video_ts folders. Call me crazy, but I don’t feel like spending the time to compress close to 200 movies into one smaller file. Some could argue that the quality is miniscule, but I just feel better knowing my DVD movies are DVD quality.

    TV shows however I see no problem compressing. Those won’t bother me as much to convert into mkv files.

    My 2 cents.

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