Plex v0.5.22: Last in the series - Plex Blog

Plex v0.5.22: Last in the series

| 28 Oct 2008 | by 37 Comments

Way back when I was just starting the port to the Mac, and the program was just as likely to crash on you as play a video, I dreamed of a day when it would be stable.

In the last months, we have made 22 releases of the 0.5 series of Plex. We’ve tried to fix all the most serious bugs, and add some OS X flavor to the application in the process (not to mention all the bugs that the XBMC team has fixed). I haven’t had a crash in a long time in my own personal use, and even the bug and crash reports have slowed.

Of course, there are still problems, and still bugs. No software is ever perfect. But we feel like we’ve reached a point where it works “pretty darn well” and we’d like to formalize this by ending the 0.5 development series, and releasing 0.6. Assuming nothing got screwed up in this release, we’ll make a couple of last-minute tweaks and fixes and release as 0.6.0.

Our long-term plan with Plex was always to stabilize, then enhance. First get it working well enough, then make major architectural changes.

At the same time as we’ve been working on the 0.5 series, we’ve also been staying up late at night, working hard on new stuff. Really cool new stuff. In the coming week or so, I’m going to be posting here with details on the *NINE* enhancements to Plex that have been completed. These enhancements will be included in the first release of 0.7 (the next development series). To summarize:

  • v0.6.x: This will be the new stable series. If you fear change, and just want to enjoy your media in the safety of a stable release, use these. We’ll make bug-fixes, include the latest MediaStream, but nothing too scary.
  • v0.7.x: If you like living on the bleeding edge, skiing down double-black diamonds, and jumping out of planes with parachutes, this is probably the series for you.

Here are the changes in this release (available from the Plex home page, and from Sparkle shortly):

  • NEW: You can now configure the way the H.264 decoder does deblocking. Some will you will know this is the “skiploopfilter” setting in ffmpeg. Some will wonder if I’m speaking English. The bottom line is, if you allow the decoder to skip doing deblocking, it’ll be less intensive for the CPU. I’ve found that if you configure it to skip all deblocking, the “killa” bird sample uses about 20% less CPU and plays at a higher frame rate. Bottom line: your mileage may vary, but it may help you with hard-to-play content.


  • NEW: Support for the Home and End keys in lists. Also support for using the A/Z keys to skip to the next/previous letter in lists. Jonathan Marshall added support for this last one a while ago, cool dude that he is, so we added a mapping. Also, Isaac added a new mapping for people using Snatch on their iPhone. You’ll have to whack your Keymap.xml file in ~/Application Support/Plex/userdata to get these features.
  • NEW: We have included the latest MediaStream skin (no doubt out of date by tomorrow), along with the associated code fixes so that you don’t have to hit escape 23 times to return to the main menu from the Movie/TV sections. You can see some documentation for the new settings in this version of the skin here (many thanks to Jayman978!)
  • FIX: We dimmed the wrong screen when you were running with a multi-screen setup and Plex was on the second screen.
  • FIX: Some MP3 tags caused a hang. This includes the “Burial” album, so bretonh will be pleased.
  • FIX: Refreshing movie info from NFO in VIDEO_TS folders caused a crash.
  • FIX: Storing a TV show in multiple places (e.g. some seasons in one place, some seasons in another), whether by multi-path sources or different sources led to duplicates.

We’ve of course included all the latest XBMC fixes as well, including the latest UPnP and MythTV code.

I’ve taken to opening up fresh coconuts in the back yard with a big machete. The coconut water is supposedly really healthy, and if I’m feeling inspired, I make fresh coconut milk from the pulp for a Thai curry. Barkley loves both the milk and the pulp, so mostly I just lop the coconuts in half after drinking the water and give them to him.

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37 Comments so far

  1. Sjaakie October 29th, 2008 12:31 am

    Thanx Elan and the team for this great product! I am following the project almost from the beginning and it is great to see how this is growing to a “all other mediacenter killer” :-)

  2. Muzo October 29th, 2008 12:45 am

    Great job Elan..

  3. Travis October 29th, 2008 12:50 am

    hehe…. escape 23 times – great work, I’ve been waiting for this feature!

    Congrats on the final 0.5 release! For me, Plex is already the perfect media center, but I can’t wait to see what these 9 enhancements are. It’s incredible how quickly you’ve made a Mac port of XBMC into something much more special. Thanks for all the hard work!

  4. rayne October 29th, 2008 1:00 am

    Awesome, the A-Z feature is just what I need! Can’t wait to try it out tonight! :)

  5. eduo October 29th, 2008 1:45 am

    Congratulations on the release.

    I find it fantastic to have the initial focus on having a stable FIRST version and then focusing on enhancements and features (although in reality it’s been more mixed. Some stability fixes have implied new functionality and some basic release requirements as well).

    Something I’ve been asked a lot and I don’t know if it would be a valid request is being able to use Plex as a standalone player, besides being a media center.

    Some people have realised Plex is able to play formats other players can’t (either because of its optimisation or its codec array) and wish to be able to, from time to time, see just one video with it without having to launch the whole enchilada. I believe it’s a valid point but wouldn’t think of requesting it without putting out there first.

    Another common request is being able to add sources by drag and drop.

  6. mogul October 29th, 2008 3:46 am

    this new feature;

    NEW: You can now configure the way the H.264 decoder does deblocking. Some will you will know this is the “skiploopfilter” setting in ffmpeg. Some will wonder if I’m speaking English. The bottom line is, if you allow the decoder to skip doing deblocking, it’ll be less intensive for the CPU. I’ve found that if you configure it to skip all deblocking, the “killa” bird sample uses about 20% less CPU and plays at a higher frame rate. Bottom line: your mileage may vary, but it may help you with hard-to-play content.

    - it wouldnt save it self on mine computers.
    when I change it, og go out of Plex and in again – its back to default..

  7. deanm3 October 29th, 2008 4:20 am

    Elan, can you explain what the downside is to disabling CPU de-blocking in the decoder. Is there a loss of quality or resolution?

  8. Keane16 October 29th, 2008 4:40 am

    Can’t wait for the 0.7x series, with the new features. I jump out of planes regularly! ;-)

  9. boogaloo October 29th, 2008 5:01 am

    Thanks Elan and team for all the great work. The skiploopfilter does not seem to be working. I choose skip non-keyframes or skip everything but once I leave the section it automatically reverts to default.

  10. DCstewieG October 29th, 2008 5:08 am

    Yay! It was about time for a new release, my share ratio on the 5.21 torrent was 100:1 :) This is coming along great guys, every release makes it harder for me to keep from dropping a few hundred bucks on another Mini!

  11. Atrus October 29th, 2008 5:39 am

    Cant wait to get home and try it. Great work on this as always guys!

  12. FLX October 29th, 2008 6:05 am

    Good to hear Plex is still going strong. You had me scared for a moment when I read the headline. Thought you would throw in the towel against XBMC.

    Keep on rocking!


  13. Doraemonn October 29th, 2008 6:33 am

    I’ve been checking back daily for a new version, and it’s finally here!! Can’t wait to go test it, but I have no doubt it’s another incremental improvement on what is already a fantastic user experience. Keep up the good work!

  14. Martin October 29th, 2008 6:33 am

    Thanks Elan, you the best (the team toooo) :)

    No sub fixes? *crying*

  15. migueld October 29th, 2008 8:25 am

    “hit escape 23 times” :lol:

    Thanks Elan, was about time ;)

  16. Mickey October 29th, 2008 8:42 am

    Cool, Elan and team!

    Can’t wait to install the new baby ;)

    And can’t wait to jump to the next bleeding edge adventures with .7

  17. JayBird October 29th, 2008 9:29 am

    Good stuff! Cant wait for the new stuff in 0.7!

  18. marky303 October 29th, 2008 9:33 am

    thanks for the update, plex is great and getting better. i’m looking forward to the new features.

  19. maxrogers October 29th, 2008 10:10 am

    Tremendous work!!! I can now stop checking your blog five times a day in anticipation of this release… ummm, just kidding! I will now be checking repeatedly in anticipation for v0.7 !!!!

    You guys are insanely awesome! Going to test Mythtv abilities now!

  20. thecritic October 29th, 2008 10:46 am

    Although I fully support Plex I cant get my head around what Plex offers differently from XBMC for Mac. Even the iTunes support is from XBMC…

    Id love to see something which makes Plex and XBMC going in different directions…

    (I know Im going to get flamed for this ;))

  21. elan October 29th, 2008 11:00 am

    @thecritic: Nobody’s going to flame you, we’re a friendly bunch here :) If you haven’t noticed the differences up until now, you’ll certainly notice them in 0.7.

    @others: Sorry, I botched the setting code for skip loop filter, it’ll give me something to fix for the 0.6 release, which will be very shortly! (Note that the setting works, it just doesn’t display correctly.)

  22. pletopia October 29th, 2008 11:25 am

    @thecritic: the differences between xbmc and plex are subtle but they are there .. trust me .. try using the apple remote .. use some standard mac keystrokes (open-apple Q, open-apple F) and now .. haven’t tested it yet but apparently you can jump to specific letters in a list with the keyboard .. WOOHOOO!!!!

    @elan: nice job on this latest release .. looking forward to the next release though .. .6 :) :) and please .. subfix ;)

  23. elan October 29th, 2008 12:23 pm

    @pletopia: I did pull a few subtitle fixes from XBMC in this last release. Anything specific you’re running into, please refresh my memory on the forums.

  24. bmfrosty October 29th, 2008 1:21 pm

    I’ve created a thread for dealing with the subtitle and audio stuff for this version. Please post in there with your findings.

  25. Zeb October 29th, 2008 3:11 pm

    Is that a ridgeback?

  26. elan October 29th, 2008 3:14 pm

    @Zeb: Yeah, he’s a mix, he has some bullmastiff in him too.

  27. elan October 29th, 2008 4:35 pm

    @deanm3: In theory there is a loss of quality. In practice, especially with HD content, it’s probably unlikely you’d notice.

    @DCstewieG: Hopefully they’ll come out with the revamped mini, would be really nice.

  28. jayman978 October 29th, 2008 5:19 pm

    A full description of what the H.264 loop filter does and what the settings mean can be found here:

  29. Randy October 30th, 2008 5:24 pm

    Great work, thank you dev team! This app is the only player plays the Blu-ray .ts format (Remux) files on my Mac! And it plays them without a hitch!

  30. lavalamp October 30th, 2008 5:57 pm

    Poor Barkely’s not “going” all the time after those coconuts?

    Good work on Plex BTW Its been a real powerful tool in my cinema, where as Apples AC3 and HiDef tools continue to be restricted.

  31. Jon Maddox October 30th, 2008 7:28 pm

    I just tried PlayOn with the new build and the UPnP fixes lets it work with Plex! NICE!

    That means Hulu and Netflix on Plex with a little work around.

  32. Jume November 2nd, 2008 1:23 pm

    Thank Plex team,

    this was the only missing link in my house between Macs and living room. Simply brilliant app. Way to go, where can we donate?

    Keep up with the development,

  33. Clay November 5th, 2008 12:43 pm

    Good work on Plex. Also good work with the coconuts. I used to give my dog a complete coconut and over a few days she would have a great time ripping the husk off until there was just the ‘nut’ left. I’d then crack it open and she’d then spend the next few days scraping the meat out of the coconut. Tropical dogs, love ‘em!

  34. EdBanger November 6th, 2008 10:01 am

    Thanks for adding the loop filter settings. I can now play 720p H264 content on my Intel Atom based netbook fluently! (Altough running at 1,85GHz and 2GB Ram)

  35. Dany S November 27th, 2008 2:25 pm

    Thanks for this awsome product. Absolutely the fastest video player for Mac OS X. Excellent performance.

  36. manu December 12th, 2008 3:04 pm

    Merci pour ce merveilleux logiciel ! J’ai entendu dire que les Dieux eux-mêmes l’avaient installé !

  37. bloonsterific July 10th, 2009 7:20 am

    Just wanted to tell you all know how much I appreciate your postings guys.
    Found you though google!

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