Plex v0.9.3.3 – Halfway to the stars
Wow, OK, so it’s been a while.
The recent paucity of blog posts has not been for a lack of anything to talk about, nor for a lack of desire to write, but rather from the sheer volume of other things that I’ve had to do. Quite on the contrary, I love writing prose instead of code, and the sense we all have is that Plex is rapidly picking up speed: Just in the last month or two, we’ve grown our team, we’ve worked with Verizon on their in-car telematics solution (Plex in the back seat, anyone?), and are working with Netgear, Cisco, and Synology in order to make sure the Plex Media Server runs well on their NAS devices and is easily available to their customers. And that’s just skimming the surface…
We’re also in the process of making some major enhancements to our platform, and along the way to unveiling that, we decided to make an interim release. Fixes! New stuff! Rejoicing!
I also want to take a moment and point out that if you’re looking for real-time conversation about Plex, there are two great resources: Our Twitter feed is a great way to get questions answered, and see what we’re up to, and our public Campfire chat room usually has some Plexians in there who are happy to help you or just chat. I personally hang out there quite a bit as well, as I enjoy meeting and talking with Plex users from around the world.
Without further ado, let’s jump into the changes in this release, which I’ll group into a few different areas. The releases can be downloaded directly from the Plex home page (direct download links). After a day or two, we’ll enable auto-updates, and the Linux/NAS builds will appear shortly, as it takes a bit of time to build and package them.
By Popular Request:
- NEW: Support for deleting files in the library. Lots of people wanted this one.
- NEW: Initial support for Photo library sections. This means that the Plex Media Server can serve up your photos without needing to use iPhoto/Aperture, which of course doesn’t exist on Windows or Linux. We’re in the process of adding support to all the clients (e.g. next version of iOS/Android apps will add support, next firmware update for LG TV will add support), but Plex for Mac already supports it in this release. I like this one personally because it means that the Plex Media Server is now complete in the basic types of media it can scan and serve up.
- NEW: Automatic audio boost when mixing down multichannel to stereo for mobile devices. No, you’re not hard of hearing.
- NEW: If subtitle files are dropped in next to a piece of media, they will be picked up on-the-fly without a need to rerefresh the item or section.
- NEW: Support for SUB/IDX subtitles in Plex for Mac. They’re chunky evil bitmaps, but we love them. Sort of.
- NEW: Support for DTS > AC3 transcoding in transcoder (useful for LG TV, ATV2 and others).
- FIX: Subtitle scaling is now uniform, no more giant subtitles. No, you don’t need a different prescription for your glasses.
- FIX: Anamorphic videos were not Direct Streamed.
- FIX: More videos in general Direct Stream (level, nitrate, segment size issues).
- FIX: Improved selection of subtitles with “shown with foreign audio” setting.
- FIX: The SD MKV A/V sync issue.
- FIX: A few bugs on Lion, Plex should now be Lion-ready (which answers this question)!
Over time, we want to tend towards platform parity, where features are available on all systems, whenever possible. We’ve taken some important steps towards this:
- NEW: [Windows] iTunes support! (We’ll also be adding support for Linux, for those who have their iTunes XML stored on their Linux-based NAS devices.)
- NEW: [Windows/Linux] Support for timed and automatic library refreshes.
We’re working hard to improve support for music inside Plex, and have made a number of changes in the core, music scanner, and agents, including:
- NEW: Support for “Various Artists” (compilations) in music sections.
- NEW: Initial support for multi-disc albums in music sections.
- FIX: Much improved matching, far fewer false matches.
Even just with the above, this would be a pretty awesome release, but hey, there’s actually a lot more.
- NEW: Faster transcoder startup.
- NEW: Much faster TV and music metadata loading.
- NEW: [Windows] Authenticode all binaries (hopefully preventing AV software from freaking out).
- NEW: [Windows] Configure firewall on install.
- NEW: Listen on new multicast group in GDM to avoid Windows 7 networking bug.
- FIX: Issue where Vorbis streams were not transcoded.
- FIX: Better logging for Python scanner errors while scanning.
- FIX: [OS X] Database migration progress dialog didn’t always work properly.
- FIX: Many fixes for GDM networking code.
- FIX: [Windows] Scans stopping without completing.
- FIX: [Windows] Server could become unresponsive.
- FIX: [Windows] Conflicts with user-installed Python.
- FIX: In certain cases, iOS app wasn’t showing channel images.
- FIX: Unmatched items could become rematched, and items matched to a different agent could go back to the default agent.
- FIX: [OS X] Cocoa media manager no longer jumps back to the grid when you are viewing details during a scan.
- FIX: Hang when remotely playing one file followed by the next on Plex for Mac.
- FIX: [OS X] Directory names are served up in precomposed UTF-8 on OS X (instead of decomposed).
- FIX: [Linux] Crashes reading certain JPEG files.
- FIX: [Linux] Image quality wasn’t as good for posters.
- FIX: [Linux] Advertise on the real IP, not localhost.
- FIX: [Linux] Playing files > 2GB failed.
- FIX: [Linux] Fanart was scaled too small.
- FIX: [Linux] If HOME was set to /, cache path wasn’t computed correctly.
- FIX: Disable IPv6 on Linux/Windows by default, seems to cause problems in some cases.
- FIX: Extreme memory usage or crashes analyzing ISO files.
- FIX: Some crashes on shutdown, and also sped it up.
- FIX: Don’t add the “All Episodes” directory if we don’t have any (e.g. in watched tree).
- FIX: When refreshing older media libraries, bring remote media (poster/art) references local.
- FIX: [OS X] Massive memory leak switching sections in the Cocoa media manager.
- FIX: Offer even higher bitrates over 3G.
- FIX: Issue with media streams in the database that could cause a transcode to fail on start.
- FIX: A handful of other small bugs and crashes.
Along with the new core features and fixes, we keep enhancing the Plex Media Server’s API. There are new clients appearing all the time, the most recent of which is for Samsung TVs and Bluray players (I’ve tried it, works great!), and we like to provide a rich HTTP interface for these clients. Full documentation for the API will be available shortly.
- NEW: Media XML contains width and height for video and photos.
- NEW: New endpoint GET /library/sections/X/allLeaves (returns all tracks, episodes, etc.)
- NEW: New endpoint DELETE /library/metadata/X
- NEW: Ability to search by filename.
- FIX: Clipping bug in the container paging API.
- FIX: Files with ‘%’ characters were not encoded correctly in XML.
Because it’s been such a long time, and this release has so many awesome fixes and enhancements, you get a bonus photo of Barkley.