A new Plex incremental and some MP4 love - Plex Blog

A new Plex incremental and some MP4 love

, | 18 Dec 2010 | by 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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67 Comments so far

  1. Wolfster December 18th, 2010 12:33 am

    First the 9.1.9 release and a few days later already a new incremental, you guys really work too much ;)

    Hope you take your time over the christmas days and enjoy it with your families!!

  2. DeanDMX December 18th, 2010 1:32 am

    These updates are great but I was wondering when one weak area would see some attention. Namely subtitles. They don’t work! Embedded or separet SRT files, the built in menu’s or any automatic lookup like Boxee does.

  3. Chris December 18th, 2010 3:35 am

    Elan – Plex 9 is such a step-up… you’ve really hit the ball out of the park! I also love how quickly these releases come out to fix the bugs and add *substantial* new features.

    Anyways, Just a wanted to say what a great job you’re doing – i hope you have a very happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

  4. Stuart Matheson December 18th, 2010 4:52 am

    Thanks! Happy Christmas and New Year!

  5. frizzo December 18th, 2010 4:58 am

    Ok, that wink wink part…. atv?

  6. sixut December 18th, 2010 8:15 am

    But when will implement music video scraper?

  7. Itamar December 18th, 2010 9:04 am

    I find the area of metadata agents very interesting.
    Where can I find documentation about writing agents.
    I can find only docs about plug-ns…

  8. Paul December 18th, 2010 9:26 am

    Where can I download the photos manually?
    For example, a series has thumbs and fanart.
    These files I would like to download in high resolution.
    Is the archive public?

  9. Osplo December 18th, 2010 1:10 pm


    And yes, please take subtitles seriously!

    Regards from Barcelona…

  10. Kyle December 19th, 2010 12:09 am

    I have edited some of my mp4 with metaX and the information i put in there isnt showing up in Plex. Does metaX not work for updating the metadata of mp4 for plex. If so how do I go about updating mp4 metadata such as actors.
    Thank you for all the hard work

  11. elan December 19th, 2010 12:19 am

    @Kyle: It should, but I’m not sure exactly what ATOMs it uses. Can you upload a short sample so that we can check it out (Dropbox)? Thanks :)

  12. Jochem December 19th, 2010 3:16 am

    Please give the WMV HD issue some attention. It’s reported a couple of times but no one seems to confirm that it is a bug.

  13. elan December 19th, 2010 9:56 am

    @Jochem: Can you send a link to a sample that demonstrates the problem?

  14. tungsten2k December 19th, 2010 10:47 am

    Re: Plex Media Server for Windows ? ? ?

    Goodygoodygoodygoodygoooooooooody ! :)

  15. Marcel December 19th, 2010 11:32 am

    Fabulous. Works on the mov container as well though how or if it differs from mp4 I don’t know. All I know is all of The X-Files 201 episodes got scanned in one go. Didn’t have to bother with naming conventions and stuff since iTunes always took care of that.


    (will embedded subtitle support be next?)

  16. Kyle December 19th, 2010 12:36 pm

    @elan: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2365642/Los%20Noticias%20SD.mp4
    here is the link to the file its a home video i dont know if that matters

  17. elan December 19th, 2010 1:24 pm

    Thanks, Kyle, I’ve made some fixes and sent you an email explaining how to test ‘em out!

  18. Jason December 19th, 2010 2:31 pm

    Can you guys please take 5 seconds and fix the no fast scrolling bug. IT IS DEFINITELY NOT A SKIN ISSUE AS I HAVE TRIED EVERY POSSIBLE SKIN. It probably isnt even a bug just something you guys left out of plex 9. You used to be able to (on any list of movies) press the left arrow and that turned the side bar from a blue button to a red button. Then when you scroll, its a page scroll instead of a regular scroll. It is a neccessity if you have any more than 200 files in a list. Please fix this. Thanks

  19. elan December 19th, 2010 9:55 pm

    @Jason: We disabled this in the default skin because too many people were getting “stuck” with the scrollbar having focus.

  20. Melvin December 19th, 2010 10:23 pm

    Hi Elan, if you still need a link to a sample or more info about the wmvhd issue please tell me. I’m also looking forward to a fix for this issue that were experiencing since the release of

  21. elan December 19th, 2010 10:29 pm

    @Melvin: A sample would be great, thank you, as well as details. Dropbox ftw.

  22. Fred December 19th, 2010 11:57 pm


    Great job, my wife and the kids can handle this by them own now. So I can consentrate on my beer from now. *smile*

    Please put som extra second of work on the scanning problem with music.

    mXmax to yoall

  23. Antoine December 20th, 2010 12:17 am

    Hi Elan,
    Can you add the IMPawads website (http://www.impawards.com/) as an agent for movie posters ? This site has a lot of them in high def and multiple variations (international).
    I highly appreciate the new possibility to edit the file info. It really help for local movies (I’m french), for which I don’t want the english title. It will be great if Plex gets rules to name the movies (ie. French movies, I want french title, other movies, I want American title. For all, I prefer french description, if not english one, and not another ’cause I don’t speak other languages).

    Thanx a lot for your great work !!
    And happy Xmas to all.

  24. Melvin December 20th, 2010 12:21 am

    @elan: here are two links to wmvhd sample files I just downloaded, http://dl.dropbox.com/u/12838272/sample-clash.1080p.vc1.5.1.wmv and http://dl.dropbox.com/u/12838272/sample-losers.1080p.vc1.5.1.wmv

    I tried them remote on my Mac server and the framerate is about 12fps. The sound of these files I cannot test now but for all the WMVHD’s at my collection at home the issue is the same. I’m running on my Mac Mini server (late 2010), on my MacBook air (2009) and on my HT Mac Mini (late 2010) only on the last system with I can play the files. If you need more info let me know.

  25. jochem December 20th, 2010 1:24 am

    @Elan, See this thread (http://forums.plexapp.com/index.php/topic/19877-playback-and-audio-problems-wmvhd-files/page__gopid__128277). My WMV-HD files are a few GB… If you know a way to create a sample of it, please let me know, and I will.

  26. Chapindad December 20th, 2010 4:50 am

    @ELAN, When do you think subtitles will be added to the iOS clients? My wife loves to bring it up to get under my skin…

  27. Melvin December 20th, 2010 8:22 am

    @elan: Just tried the files on my MacBook with and indeed they are experiencing the issues… Low frame rate and a lot of noise and no audio ;-) Hopefully you can track this error and find a solution.

  28. Jason December 20th, 2010 10:01 am

    @elan: Oh wow. I didn’t realize that. Plex 9 is amazing and it’s the best app period. But can you maybe make an option or maybe post a how-to that describes how to re enable fast scrolling in the default skin. Please??? I really need that back. Maybe add an option to enable it in the preferences? If you can just email me or post a link on how I can re enable it, I would be in debt to you. Thanks!!!

  29. pv_bain December 20th, 2010 5:50 pm

    Hello everyone, thank you so much for everything, and for giving us updates so often since nine is out.

    Can I just ask for something that seems really important to my eyes, it’s to fix this iphoto plug in, there is no way to disable it (unchecking the box in pms doesn’t do the job, and it’s really annoying that everyone in my family is able to view some personal photos.

  30. pv_bain December 20th, 2010 5:52 pm

    oups thanks in advance by the way

  31. jochem December 20th, 2010 9:48 pm

    @Elen, I think the problem is in ffdshow. Release 0.6 of FFmpeg, has an updates WMA Pro decoder. (XBMC 10.0 uses the latest ffdshow by my knowledge (I could be wrong)).

    Any change Plex updates ffdshow in the next incremental?

  32. jochem December 21st, 2010 6:15 am

    I am prety confident the problem of WMV files lies in ffdshow. I tried XBMC 9.11 (which has the same problems as Plex) and XBMC 10.0 (latest ffdshow) where those files plays fine.

  33. aristidesfl December 21st, 2010 6:56 am

    When will the server be launched for other platforms?
    Which ones make part of your plans?

    It would be really cool a mips processor version to install it in atheros based routers like la Fonera.

    Imagine a Fonera with a few disks attached running plex media server + bit torrent client + a few apple TVs with Plex client around the house…

  34. Paul December 21st, 2010 8:38 am

    About an answer I would be very happy.

  35. elan December 21st, 2010 10:55 am

    @Paul: I think you’re looking for themoviedb.org

  36. Damien December 21st, 2010 12:23 pm

    I’ve have to say: “GREAT JOB” to the Plex team.
    Especially the web manager, so cool.

  37. Ace December 21st, 2010 3:02 pm

    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.

  38. Phil December 21st, 2010 3:14 pm

    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.

  39. elan December 21st, 2010 3:42 pm

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

  40. Phil December 21st, 2010 10:04 pm

    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.

  41. elan December 21st, 2010 10:09 pm

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

  42. jochem December 22nd, 2010 12:03 am

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

  43. elan December 22nd, 2010 12:07 am

    @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.

  44. jochem December 22nd, 2010 2:07 am

    @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?

  45. elan December 22nd, 2010 2:16 am

    @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.

  46. Phil December 22nd, 2010 12:11 pm

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

  47. Kyle December 22nd, 2010 8:16 pm

    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

  48. elan December 22nd, 2010 9:25 pm

    @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.

  49. jochem December 22nd, 2010 10:18 pm

    @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?

  50. elan December 22nd, 2010 11:24 pm

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

  51. Edward December 22nd, 2010 11:46 pm

    @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

  52. elan December 22nd, 2010 11:50 pm

    @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!

  53. Kyle December 23rd, 2010 12:48 am

    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.


  54. elan December 23rd, 2010 1:06 am

    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!

  55. Edward December 23rd, 2010 3:28 am

    @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

  56. Sam December 23rd, 2010 7:18 am

    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… :-)

  57. Kyle December 23rd, 2010 1:04 pm

    Ok thanks unlimited actors would be great :)

  58. elan December 23rd, 2010 5:41 pm

    @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.

  59. darwin December 24th, 2010 8:53 pm

    thanks!!! love you guys!!

  60. Electrician December 25th, 2010 12:08 am


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

  61. elan December 25th, 2010 12:11 am

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

  62. SeBa December 26th, 2010 6:58 am

    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!

  63. elan December 26th, 2010 12:02 pm

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

  64. falconexe December 26th, 2010 1:28 pm

    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!

  65. Roy January 1st, 2011 1:20 pm

    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.

  66. Jochem January 4th, 2011 9:54 am

    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?

  67. Rodger Combs January 28th, 2011 11:01 pm

    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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