A new Plex incremental and some MP4 love

12.18.10 67 Comments


As you might have noticed, we finished up on a round of incremental releases and made v0.9.1.9 an official release, updating the main download page and pushing it via Sparkle update. We want to take a moment and thank you all for trying out the incremental releases along the way, and giving us great feedback on them. We also hope the more adventurous among you enjoyed playing around with new features and fixes before they were officially released!

Without further ado, I’m happy to introduce you to a new incremental chock full of bug-fixes:

  • FIX: Media thumbnailing functionality was broken. Totally my fault, we’ve been making builds of Plex Media Server for other platforms (*hint hint wink wink*) and I accidentally left it disabled in the OS X build. Whoops.
  • FIX: Minor fixes for Plex ffmpeg (MPEG-TS memory leak, fix for Blu Ray subtitles).
  • FIX: There was an issue starting some MP4 streams in plug-ins (e.g. Earth Touch and MSNBC). Thanks to Sander for helping us diagnose the issue and test the fix!
  • FIX: Unmatching an item wasn’t resetting posters and other graphics correctly.
  • FIX: Second level movie sections weren’t showing custom backgrounds.
  • FIX: On occasion, secondary lists of sections would show up without a background (thanks, Scott!)

You can try out the incremental by downloading it here.

Also, as noted on Twitter, we pushed some enhancements to the scanners and the local media agent for MP4 files, and I’d like to take a bit of time to explain them, because it’s a great example of the power of our new library and how quickly we can add major enhancements, and give them to you, without even needed to make a new release.

You might have a file sitting on your disk named “30 Rock/Sun Tea.mov” which an episode from the popular (although I don’t think much of it, to be honest) show. In order to scan into a TV library section, Plex needs to know the episode and season number, which it usually gleans from the filename (e.g. “S03E04″). Happily, we just pushed an enhancement to the scanner which allows it to parse MP4 files and determine this information through looking at the information in the file.

So now that it’s in the library, what about episode title, summary (or for a movie, plot, genres, actors, etc.)? This data is handled by metadata agents, and we have one specific one, the “Local Media Assets” agent. While most agents scurry all over the Internet looking for data, this one looks only on your hard drive, for things like poster files, fanart files, and now, in this latest push, metadata embedded in MP4 files.

The awesome thing is when you look at your metadata agent settings, and realize that you can *prefer* local metadata, but fall back to data from the Internet (seen in the screenshot below, where I’ve made Local Media Assets the most important agent).

This is really, really cool, and in my opinion, really brings your media to life and gives you the choice of deciding exactly how you want to imbue it with metadata.

Metadata Agent Settings-1.jpg


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  • The hint is driving me nuts Elan! I’m excited to see what you come up with for other OSs. I’m hoping for a Linux version that uses VDPAU. /crosses fingers

    I’m loving the evolution of it to this version.

  • The most recent auto update has broken my tvshows. When browsing tv shows, i select a show but cannot access the seasons or episodes within the show. I can however, go to the list of recently viewed episodes and watch a tvshow..but cannot find any way to watch a new episode. I can’t figure out why this is happening.

    Movies by the way are absoultely fine.

    Any ideas? Thanks.

    • @Phil – anything in the Plex Media Server.log ?

  • I searched for the file but can’t locate it. Could you let me know where it is?

    I have also tried installing a fresh copy of plex on another new mac mini and copied the plex library folders across. The new copy can see all my tv shows and movies but has the same problem also…can’t play tv shows using the normal menu paths.

    • @Phil: ~/Library/Logs/Plex Media Server.log

  • @Elan, could you let me know if it’s possible to update ffdshow in the next incremental?

    • @jochem: ffshow is a Windows component, on OS X we use ffmpeg directly. The WMV problems I’ve been able to reproduce are b/c ffmpeg doesn’t seem to mix 5.1 WMAPRO down to 2 channels, which makes it sound like static and play the video super slowly. Updating ffmpeg wouldn’t help.

  • @Elan, Sorry I am mixing the words, but I mean ffmpeg. XBMC 9.11 (before updated ffmpeg) had the same “bug” as Plex. In XBMC 10.0, with the latest ffmpeg (I guess the updated to 0.6.1) the problem disappeared. Which version of ffmpeg is in Plex? Did you try the latest ffmpeg version?

    • @jochem: We are using the exact same ffmpeg as 10.0 is using. The issue is not specifically within ffmpeg, as the downmixing is handled elsewhere for WMAPRO.

  • @elan, I have e-mailed you the log file as requested… hopefully you can shed some light on this issue? Thanks!

  • hey elan it seems that plex only allows 12 staring actors for home videos and also in order for PMS to see the changes to the MP4 metadata I have to change the name of my file for it to scan it again. If you could help me out with these issues that would be great

    • @Kyle: Right click refresh should re-read the data from the file, let us know if it doesn’t. The limit on actors is likely due to MP4 and not Plex, which allowed unlimited number of actors.

  • @Elan, Why is WMApro downmixed? My files have 5.1 sound, and I hooked up a 5.1 receiver. Should it pass through the sound?

    • @jochem: In your case it *should* transcode to AAC, but I’ve not tested that combination.

  • @Elan: As Fred also mentioned. Is there any progress on the problem with the music scanner. I have found that sometimes one or more albums of an artist are not showing, although the artist does show and sometimes artists aren’t showing up at all

    BTW great work on Plex and Merry Xmas to you and the team

    • @Edward: Hey there, we definitely have plans to improve it, but subtitles come first. However, all the code for the scanner and agents for music are open source, so any enterprising developer can work on improving them at any time (as some have already done in the forums!). Cheers, and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  • Hey Elan I have more then 15 Actors total among all my home videos yet when i go to the section “staring actors” it only shows 12 of my 15. I dont think its the metadata because when I navigate to a specific movie it will list actors that are not listed in my “staring actors” section. The right clicking refresh metadata worked for updating my movies however it seems to be limited to one file at a time. Is there any way to select more then on file at a time.


    • Ah, you’re right, it’s by *starring* actor, which it takes to be the first 2 actors listed for any film. Otherwise there were thousands upon thousands of actors listed :) We can make it a preference later for sure.

      No way to pick multiple items – yet!

  • @Elan: After your comment I decided to look at the Python code, although I have no experience in Python programming at all.
    I have found out why certain albums are being processed and others are not. It has to do with the fact that the albums that were being ignored have the extension .Mp3 (with a capital M). iTunes isn’t to picky about the capitals in the extension. After I changed this to a lower case m, it found the albums without any problem.

    I had a look at the AudioFiles.py file in the “Common” directory of the Scanners.bundle . As far as I can figure out the extension is always converted to lower case before the check is done to see if it is an audiofile, but apparently it isn’t working correctly.

    Hope you or an experienced python developer can fix this minor issue in a future incremental

    • @Edward: Very impressive, I think you have future as a Python coder :) I fixed the bug and pushed the fix. Thanks very much, happy holidays from the team.

  • Great Job! You’ve changed our viewing habits at home. We watch TV on a single iPad now with the iOS Plex app. Had to keep my hackintosh workstation turned on all time now. Working on a hackintosh server to run Plex Media Server 24/7 but prefer Linux for “server”. Can’t wait for Android Plex app so I can watch on my phone and not fight with family members for the iPad. And just got some cheaper ~$150 7″ android tablets from China, so a tablet in every room to watch TV, just waiting on Plex Android app… :-)

  • Ok thanks unlimited actors would be great :)

  • thanks!!! love you guys!!

  • Elan

    These updates are bang on, Can you fix so that individual movie settings are remembered like it was in plex 8

    • @Electrician: On the list, we’ll be working on it soon :)

  • Still have problem a in this version with removing items from a section. I deleted a complete tv show from the sourcefolder and tried to update the lib and the section but nothing worked for me. the tv show is still present in plex although the files a already gone… is it a bug?
    happy holidays to team, keep up the good work!

    • @SeBa: It sounds like perhaps the scanner is crashing?? Can you post the log?

  • Elan and Plex Family,

    Is there any news on native playback of Blu-ray ISO rips in Plex? I love just dropping my DVD ISOs into Plex. I have hundreds of Blu-rays that I have ripped into Plex via MakeMKV, but I am eager to re-rip them with AnyDVD as straight ISO files so that the menus and special features are available for Blu-rays as well.

    I just want to know if the feature is on the horizon and an estimated date for completion. You guys have transformed my media experience and I am extremely grateful for all of your hard work! Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

  • In reference to WMV/WMA 5.1 audio. If I play the video via the KLEXi iOS app (cant get the Plex on to connect), the conversion correctly plays the audio and video. Any chance the same “conversion” for audio can be used directly within Plex on my Mac?

    This and UPnP support is the only thing that (for me) keeps me from using Plex for all my media viewing.

  • @elan,
    See the post of roy above. I bought the plex ipad app and sometimes the app quits, but sometimes the wmv wma pro file does work fine on the ipad.

    Melvin seems to have the same wmv wma pro issues as me. Any progress here?

  • I’ve got a pretty bad bug:
    When watching a video from my iPhone, using live transcoding, I can watch for 5-7 minutes, but then, the entire server machine shuts down with no relevant console messages, no KP screen, and no log messages. I can’t figure out what’s causing it, but it definitely only happens when I use live transcoding (which I’ve stopped doing for now). Any advice?

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