Release 0.7.8: Brave New World - Plex Blog

Release 0.7.8: Brave New World

| 21 Feb 2009 | by 55 Comments

I could present the usual release notes, talk about the CoreAudio crash on startup that’s been fixed, the Mira/Sofacontrol changes (thanks marklight!), mention the TV/Movies keymap issue that was fixed, explain that the region link to weather settings is now fixed, and that NFO files no longer cause scraping issues. But honestly, I’d rather talk about something else.

This release, one innocent little point difference from the last, has the biggest new Plex feature ever. I’m not just gushing hyperbole here when I say you will never use Plex the same way again.

I’d like to introduce you to the new Plex Media Server:

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Very nice, right? Alexis did an awesome job with the icon. (It also looks a bit like the new Mac Mini, the one with 36 USB ports all around the circular case, but that’s another story.)
So what’s so special about the new Plex Media Server? Well, it connects with the brand new Plex App Store (built by Jon Maddox, the latest talented developer to join our group). The Plex App Store serves plug-ins which are downloaded by the Plex Media Server, and provide a huge amount of online content to Plex.
What content and which sites? Great question. Let’s just say that you won’t be disappointed by the 20 plug-ins that are currently available from the App Store (most of them written by Scott, and the rest by Isaac, James, and myself), and you’ll also be amazed by some of the ones we’re working on behind the scenes.

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There is also great news for developers: writing these plug-ins is amazingly easy. James has done a simply fantastic job writing a Python framework to develop the plug-ins with, and the Plex Media Server provides an easy, XML-based method to display Flash or Silverlight content to Plex. Almost none of the plug-ins are over 100 lines of code, and many are 20-40 lines. We’ll be following this release with lots of technical discussion of the framework, and top-notch documentation.
The plug-ins live in the Plex Media Server’s application support area, and the App Store itself is just another plug-in. The App Store plug-in can browse and install plug-ins, as well as update itself and installed plug-ins with ease, meaning that you’ll always be up to date.
I’ve leave you with three screencasts that Jon Maddox was kind enough to put together, which demo some of the new functionality. Seeing as this is the initial release, expect some glitches, and there are some known issues of which you should be aware (PLEASE READ THESE):
  • There is no support for authentication yet, so certain content or features which require being logged in are not available (e.g. Hulu videos that require you being logged in).
  • You need to make sure you have the Flash plug-in installed for Safari, and you must make sure you don’t have any plug-ins like Safari Adblock installed (possibly Pith helmet as well).
  • You may want to increase your cache settings, as plug-ins like Apple Movie Trailers, TED Talks, and other, stream video in high quality HD video.
  • We have added quite a few new skin features and fixed some bugs in MediaStream, so your mileage in any other skin WILL vary greatly.
  • If a Flash video is unavailable online, Plex will not detect this, and will stall while buffering.

These items will all fixed shortly.

Without further ado, the screencasts, the download, and the source:

And we wouldn’t want to forget a photo of Barkley, who is showing steady improvement from his knee injury. This is a photo from a trip we took with him to San Francisco back in 2006:

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55 Comments so far

  1. shaug February 21st, 2009 9:11 pm

    So nice! How long, though, ’til Hulu’s content partners ask you to pull the Hulu app. Just stay out of the NYT if you can afford to…

  2. Jeff February 21st, 2009 9:13 pm

    Finally! This little addition takes Plex leaps and bounds ahead! I’ve been waiting for this functionality in Plex for a while now.

  3. shaug February 21st, 2009 9:16 pm

    I’m sure this is in the works, but a Netflix plex app would be killer! Can’t wait…

    Also, would this framework allow for writing an EyeTV app for plex, or is it specific to flash/silverlight content? If I can access *all* of content from plex, without having to open another app like boxee, I’ll be overjoyed, and my wife will be much appreciative.

    Great work, guys!

  4. MILE February 21st, 2009 10:04 pm

    While all of this sounds really exciting, there’s just one thing that kinda bugs me:

    “You need to make sure you have the Flash plug-in installed for Safari, and you must make sure you don’t have any plug-ins like Safari Adblock installed (possibly Pith helmet as well).”

    Could you elaborate on this a bit more…?! I’m pretty sure that I’m not the onle one who cannot imagime surfing the web withoun PithHelmet or some other ad-blocking plug-in installed…! So what’s the deal with that…?!

  5. Tyler February 21st, 2009 10:39 pm

    This one took me by surprise! Great work everyone!

  6. niklas February 21st, 2009 10:39 pm

    I need help. Where can i download this app or is it embedded in Plex? I can not find it in the menus of Plex though. A quick walkthrough would be excellent.

    /niklas

  7. niklas February 21st, 2009 10:46 pm

    Sorry, i just saw that i had Applications disabled in the menu, i found it now.

    /niklas

  8. wally February 21st, 2009 10:48 pm

    Is there anyway i can set preferences in Apple Movie trailers to stream 480p trailers if available? I’m only 4mbit line and most of the time video is stuttering because it cant keep up with 1080 or 720 that is streamed ( it seems ) defaultly.

  9. grey February 21st, 2009 10:56 pm

    LEET! The best XMBC port on OSX just got better; and couldn’t have been better timing!

  10. elan February 21st, 2009 11:16 pm

    We had a request come in over Twitter for TWiT Live. We added it in about 20 minutes, and most of the time was spent getting the graphics looking right. You’ll need to go to the App Store, go to More… > Check For Updates, install the update (this will happen automatically in the future), and then install the new plug-in!

  11. Gordon February 21st, 2009 11:47 pm

    Weeeee! I watched the TED, MTV, Digg Reel, all in 10 minutes!

    One bug, the hide spoilers prevents displaying the app description. You need to somehow dis-entangle so one can watch movie trailers with out getting too much info, but be able to read the descriptions of the apps.

    Fantastic feature! I am going to extoll Plex to my all my family and friends this week.

    So excited to to see the Big Picture as an app, my favorite photo blog!

  12. Jens February 22nd, 2009 12:02 am

    Thanks for the amazing update. I’ll see if I can get whisky.tv to work :)

  13. muzo178 February 22nd, 2009 12:32 am

    One word: Bravo!

  14. Mickey February 22nd, 2009 1:08 am

    Great and wonderful update!!

    I have a question: Why I need to be in file mode to be able to see and access the plug-ins I install for the App Store? Is it not possible to have them in Library mode as well?

  15. andreas February 22nd, 2009 1:52 am

    Woaw! This is amazing! Just a side-note: Delete the Apple Trailers Script. There’s no need for it and it crashes (at least for me).

    I LOVE YOU GUYS.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lL4L4Uv5rf0

  16. rwk February 22nd, 2009 2:30 am

    How about MythTV? Could a mythfrontend be implemented using this?

  17. Andre Reis February 22nd, 2009 2:55 am

    Wow this is amazing, just tried the TED talks and it streams quickly and beautifully. Bravo indeed!

  18. eric February 22nd, 2009 2:58 am

    Just incredible, guys. Thanks to everyone who had a hand in this!

  19. DigitalG February 22nd, 2009 3:28 am

    so i can install the plug-ins, but they don’t appear anywhere, so i can’t use any of them. the only applications that i can see are: plex app store, dvd player and front row

  20. andreas February 22nd, 2009 3:38 am

    Could you guys rename it to something less confusing?
    1. It has nothing to do with the iPhone
    2. It’s free and therefore no store

    What about something like Plugin Browser?

  21. Lars February 22nd, 2009 3:52 am

    If I wasn’t using words to type this I’d say I’m speechless! Excellent release, it ticks virtually all my boxes for integrating webcontent like Revision3 and TED!

    Couldn’t immediately find the Google LIFE thingy and I have some problems with MTV (could be since I run an adblocker) but I’ll discuss those on the board.

    Again… great work! I really like the ease and practicality of the App Store concept. No more hunting for scripts!

  22. pletopia February 22nd, 2009 4:28 am

    @wally: settings prefs

    http://forums.plexapp.com/index.php?showtopic=3701&view=findpost&p=24266

    “Preferences for the new plug-ins aren’t available yet – more work needs to be done in Plex to support this, and we wanted to get a “preview” release out so you guys could start playing with it smile.gif

    There is a way of changing the video quality though – just hit this URL in your browser while the media server is running:

    http://localhost:32400/video/amt/:/prefs/s…eoQuality/1080p

    Valid qualities are 1080p, 720p, 480p, Large, Medium or Small.”

  23. Vlaktor February 22nd, 2009 6:14 am

    Very impressive…. Watching TED now ;)

  24. VeL February 22nd, 2009 6:14 am

    Ammm please help! Where can I find Settings for Apple Movies Trailers App?

  25. Dyogenez February 22nd, 2009 6:16 am

    Awesome work! Can’t wait to install and try this out.

  26. marklight February 22nd, 2009 6:29 am

    So awesome. Thanks for al your hard work!

  27. slover1011 February 22nd, 2009 7:16 am

    This is utterly amazing!!!

    One question. Is the only way to access the media streams from within “file” view? I do everything in Library mode and don’t see anything. Perhaps if they were shown where the normal “video” plug-ins appear (now that this section seems to be obsolete). Just a thought…

    What’s that sound? Oh, it’s people running to plex from boxee…

  28. salar February 22nd, 2009 7:41 am

    WoW great job. Now that boxee doesnt have Hulu anymore. This was exactly what I needed. Thanks great job guys

  29. Hilbe February 22nd, 2009 7:43 am

    Hoping for an EyeTV plugin soon :)

  30. Nat February 22nd, 2009 8:03 am

    I salute the heros of our Brave New Livingroom.

  31. Rybber February 22nd, 2009 8:10 am

    Wow, while reading I thought: Is this April 1st? :) But no, it actually works great! Time:LIFE is sooo cool.

    How about adding Flickr/Picasa etc. with a bookmarking and authentication feature?

  32. shaug February 22nd, 2009 8:46 am

    @DigitalG watch the videos on this blog post. the installed apps don’t appear under ‘applications’ (yes, confusing, i know). they show up under their respective categories on the main menu. ‘Hulu’ will appear under ‘Videos’, Google/LIFE will appear under ‘Pictures’, etc.

  33. PT February 22nd, 2009 9:33 am

    ummm first time user of Plex and it looks nice but just like Boxee can be a little confusing. I’m still having trouble figuring out how/where to add my first feed (eg Hulu). Also, how the heck do you switch music off once something is playing without having to switch off and restart? Also feels a little rough round the edges as mouse use is also a little inconsistent. I’m sure I have to dig deeper to figure this out.

  34. Chris February 22nd, 2009 10:15 am

    Before this release I was switching back and forth from boxee to plex – plex for media i already have archived on my computer and boxee for streaming from the internet. Thanks for letting me get rid of boxee.

  35. Ron P February 22nd, 2009 10:39 am

    Thanks for the new release, but I’m having a bit of a problem with Hulu and Twit Live.
    First of all, none of the shows I’ve tried on Hulu don’t play, and Plex crashes if I don’t cancel out.
    Also, any time I try Twit Live, I get the same problem, Plex crashes unless I cancel out. And after I cancel out, and try another app, it says “PATH NOT FOUND OR INVALID.”

    Other than that, everything works great.

  36. Rybber February 22nd, 2009 9:26 pm

    Great work. Unfortunately the Google Time:LIFE viewer truncates som of the descriptive text when viewing photos :( Can you fix it?

  37. zn8ke February 22nd, 2009 10:18 pm

    You go Barkley boy… good boy !!

    great app. I just love every part of it. Be sure to tell Barkley
    that I love him too !!

  38. Ken February 23rd, 2009 12:47 am

    How exciting!!! Keep up the good work!

  39. iJaz February 23rd, 2009 1:53 am

    Thanks!
    This is the future.

  40. Travis February 23rd, 2009 3:01 am

    Wow, you guys really DO aim high don’t you? I couldn’t think of too many ways to make Plex that much better (it was already awesome), but you’ve now shown us all … amazing work!

  41. flo February 23rd, 2009 5:38 am

    @MILE: they probably want you to disable any adblocker because it is possible that it blocks commercials on say, hulu. (when I experienced this with firefox hulu displayed a message and just waited 30 seconds or so, probably longer most of the time then the commercial would have been) Also, obviously while some users might like this, this would be a reason to not allow the use its content that hulu could object to on its own, w/o being forced to pull it by content providers.

  42. Karl February 23rd, 2009 6:19 am

    Great job, guys… Is anyone working on a BBC iPlayer plugin – preferably with an IP proxy, so you could use it outside the UK? That would be AWESOME!

  43. eatmytag February 23rd, 2009 9:05 am

    Great job! But I do not understand how to use Plex. I consider myself fairly computer literate, but I really get confused by the interface. It looks great, but I do not understand it.

    I managed to install apps, but how do I “run” them?

  44. turboss February 23rd, 2009 11:18 am

    Thanks for the great work – I love Plex.

  45. Chris McGrath February 23rd, 2009 1:15 pm

    This is fantastic, thanks to everyone involved for their hard work!

  46. 栗原健一郎 February 23rd, 2009 3:27 pm

    凄い~!

    You are my hero Elan. People in Japan love you and Barkley.

  47. Darryl February 23rd, 2009 4:58 pm

    Awesome improvements guys.

    Except with this release I’ve been seeing some ugly artifacting when I start playing videos.

    Anybody else seeing this type of behaviour?

  48. Melvin Ram February 24th, 2009 12:00 am

    I don’t see the App Store. What am I doing wrong? I downloaded the latest version but I only see the DVD player and Front Row

  49. Cecil Jurgensen February 24th, 2009 12:45 am

    Still love you guys.

  50. me February 24th, 2009 8:03 am

    It would be handy if the plugins specified if they were region specific or not. Most everyone knows Hulu is US only but others appear to be as well, such as MTV since it doesn’t seem to work for me. These plugins also seem to freeze Plex as the cancel button doesn’t seem to work and I have to force quit the application.

  51. david February 26th, 2009 4:50 pm

    Beautiful! While Plex is great for watching video/other pics (and now streaming video), Miro (getmiro.org) is magic for automatically downloading and managing video from the internets. Especially if you add feeds from tvrss. I’d be so happy to see some kind of merge between these two brilliant projects. If, for example, the Plex devs could dig through the Miro code and rip out the aggregating part, provide all Miros content and offer the functionality that tag videos as watched/unwatched and provide it as a plug-in, the world would be even more beautiful! It’s free software, so no legal prob to borrow code, I presume. Keep on doing great stuff! kthnxbye

  52. Edwin,NL March 1st, 2009 12:28 pm

    big step further again, thanks guys!
    eyeTV would be great but I guess you guys have your priorities straight as you have gotten this far already ;-)

  53. Oscar, NL March 3rd, 2009 4:21 am

    I am really impressed about the simplicity of such a powerful application.
    I would like to ask two questions:
    1. Do you know if the plugin XOT-UZG that can be found in XBMC is already available under App Store?

    2. Where can I find more informations about the Python framework to develop new plug-ins?

  54. michael March 9th, 2009 11:21 am

    nice work, just one thing: even when I just play music my van is going on since the last updates. I dont know what to do about this.

  55. Mario September 8th, 2009 7:34 am

    Have downloaded latest build, #7 build and first build at seperate times. Each one has the same behavior. I drag to applications folder, it installs. I try to open it and it does one bounce like it is opening but ends up doing nothing. The crash log says something about library not loaded. also there is no folder in libriary/application support that is labeled Plex. Any help on this would be great. I am running it on a Macbook Pro.
    Thanks

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