Happy Pi Day! - Plex Blog

Happy Pi Day!

| 14 Mar 2013 | by 34 Comments

(Random inconsequential factoid: when I was a kid, I tried to memorize lots of digits of Pi to – obviously – impress the ladies. Never made it past 15 digits.)

Happy Pi day, Plexians! I hope you’re all doing something date-appropriate like watching TV or relaxing an hour and six minutes earlier than usual. If, on the other hand, you’re feeling like letting your geek flag fly, you should check out the RasPlex project.

A bit of background: The Raspberry Pi is a tiny computer which sells for as little as $25. Size and price notwithstanding, the popular device packs a powerful graphics chip which allows for HD video decoding and high performance 3D graphics. Sound like a perfect device to run Plex Home Theater on? You’re not alone in thinking that. Thankfully, Sam Nazarko has been doing brilliant work on making XBMC (which Plex Home Theater is based on) really run well on the Raspberry Pi with his Raspbmc project.

And I have to say, the combination of the Raspberry Pi and Plex Media Server is especially compelling, given our awesome transcoder: Any codecs the board can’t handle natively can be transcoded in real time by the server.



Thus, a few months ago, RasPlex was born. We were approached by Dale with his ideas for the project, which even included a cool-looking custom case for the device. If you have a Raspberry Pi already, you can download an early release of the Plex Home Theater port today from his site.

There’s nothing that makes us happier than more options for running Plex! (And it’s especially cool when the option comes from our amazing community.)

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34 Comments so far

  1. Anna March 14th, 2013 2:19 pm

    Happy Pi Day to you too!

  2. Daniel March 14th, 2013 2:34 pm

    Awesome! I would definitely be interested in swapping out the old Mac Mini for one of these :)

  3. Rodalpho March 14th, 2013 2:35 pm

    So you’ve been hinting at linux ports, and RasPlex obviously runs on Linux/ARM… any news on an official Linux/x86 port?

  4. sdchew March 14th, 2013 2:39 pm

    Happy Pi Day!

    Wow! The RasPlex looks fantastic! I’m actually using a Air Stash device when I’m out and need to play my movies (small about of storage on the iPad so I can’t use PlexSync). If the RasPlex can be made portable, it will be great!

  5. elan March 14th, 2013 2:53 pm

    @Rodalpho ~ There are RPMs already available in the PlexPass forums :)

  6. Jason March 14th, 2013 3:31 pm

    I conveniently just received my Raspberry Pi today, I was going to put XBMC on it, but I’ll be going for RasPlex instead. ;)

  7. Rodalpho March 14th, 2013 3:52 pm

    Awesome news! Looking forward the the linux client soon-ish, then!

  8. yourevilmonk March 14th, 2013 4:01 pm

    Only wished for a Plex Server for the Raspberry Pi.
    Then you could get one for the tv. Super low energy use.

  9. jkristoph March 14th, 2013 5:24 pm

    This project will fill a huge void for a low cost, high quality and tightly supported plex client.

  10. Joe March 14th, 2013 6:00 pm

    Awesome, got to get it installed on my Pi.

    Need another rc11 airmouse!

  11. Fred March 14th, 2013 6:43 pm

    It would be a bad idea to put PMS on a Pi. Transcoding wiuld produce like 0.5 FPS and that’s being generous. No you still need a bigger server. But hey put it in your basement. The beuty of this is a totally quiet client.

  12. Rodalpho March 14th, 2013 7:05 pm

    You’re right that it couldn’t transcode anything, but it could play media just fine, assuming that it can offload video decoding to the GPU. XBMC works fairly well on the raspberry pi.

  13. Karl March 14th, 2013 8:44 pm

    Will this be an official release in time or is it to be regarded as a spinoff?

  14. Matthias Timm March 14th, 2013 9:51 pm

    Is AirPlay and AirTunes fully supported?

  15. Finn Nyman March 15th, 2013 12:09 am

    A match of my two favorite projects! Looking forward to duct-tape a Plex loaded Pi on the back of all my old flatscreens. Any crappy cheap TV can be upgrade with the best media solution in the world for 35 USD

  16. Gondovald March 15th, 2013 1:43 am

    Cool but please explain how to control such a device from mu bed when it has no remote control !

  17. Dale Hamel March 15th, 2013 5:04 am

    Hey folks!

    Thanks Elan for blogging this.

    Just a couple things I want to clarify. RasPlex is literally the normal Plex Home Theater code ported to Raspberry Pi, with some optimizations and tweaks to make it run smoother. So, expect all the features that work on desktop (Airplay, iTunes, iOS control), to work on RasPlex if they work on PlexHT for Linux. We regularly merge with upstream (did a merge yesterday for the 0.1.27 release).

    RasPlex is still in alpha, so there are some stability and playback issues that crop up once in a while. But, it’s getting better all the time!

    We’ve had a lot of support from the Plex Community. I want to eventually merge the code back upstream, and am trying to make sure that this is a partner project and not a fork.

    Plex Inc has been wildly supportive, thanks again to Elan, Scott, and Tobias!

    Enjoy RasPlex, and sit tight – good things are coming :)


  18. jkristoph March 15th, 2013 7:20 am

    Just ordered my Pi!

  19. Fernando March 15th, 2013 8:14 am

    his is really good news!!! Congratulations and keep going!!

  20. Derek March 15th, 2013 9:05 am

    The link to RasPlex seems to not be working.

  21. Dan March 15th, 2013 12:13 pm

    This is absolutely fantastic – will replace my JB’d ATV2 with this, and probably my Rokus as well.

    Hopefully a RasPlex will be available for purchase soon so that I can support Dale and satisfy my plex needs all at once.

    Count me in for one Dale.

  22. Dale Hamel March 15th, 2013 6:15 pm

    Sorry about the downtime, we got syndicated on engadget whith DDOS’d my poor little t1.micro on AWS.

    WRT to purchasing, we probably won’t bundle the whole unit together for a while, but rather just sell the case.

    Expect first batch (100 cases) to be ready in mid-late April if all goes well.

  23. Rodalpho March 15th, 2013 6:59 pm

    Regarding the questions about remote controls, most people running linux use a windows MCE remote, which comes with a USB infared receiver. Pretty safe to assume that lirc is available on linux/ARM.

  24. David March 15th, 2013 10:23 pm

    @Gondovald if your TV supports CEC then you can use your TV’s remote to control your Pi once the CEC Peripheral module is installed in Raspbmc / XBMC / Rasplex. I’m not sure if Rasplex has it yet, but I’ve been using a combo of Raspbmc with Plexbmc and I can use my Samsung TV’s remote to get around. Fantastic!

  25. Heinz Beckmann March 16th, 2013 8:32 am

    This looks like a great project and moving quickly. As a newbie to this platform, I do have a question though. Does or will this platform be able to perform the “Continuous play” option, as the Windows and Mac versions (Samsung App too) do? I am looking at this as a better option for our children, in terms of not having to leave the laptop with them, but we like to select the show and hit play once. Also will this support access to our Library while away from home. I have read through most of the Forum, but could not find a specfic answer to those two questions. Thank you and keep us up to date on the Case and potential full Unit purchase options.

  26. Kralin March 16th, 2013 11:15 pm

    Great projet, I’ve been waiting for it for a long time since i had my pi.
    I’ve installed it yesterday, and there is still a lot of work to do. Xbmc (connected to the plex server via upnp) runs a lot more smoothly, but you are on the good way. Thank you for releasing it!

    P.s. If you want to control it you can use the tv remote (if the tv support hdmi cec) or a smartphone with the plex app. Otherwise you need an ir receiver attached to the pi, that is included in this fabulous case that the rasplex guys will make available.

  27. deloco March 17th, 2013 3:06 am

    Looks like a device I would love to have… As long as there’s no official Plex for an unjaibroken AppleTV…
    Now I just need to get a functioning Server… Damn it, my old PC just burned… (it actually runs too hot, and I think the CPU got damaged…
    Anyhow… The RasberryPi seems like a really cool PLexDevice.

  28. Jaco March 17th, 2013 8:22 pm

    Thank you! I did not know what to do with my Pi but have a new project now!

  29. Rob Lominski March 18th, 2013 2:51 am

    OMG – I am so happy! I am at least 3.14159265359 X happier after reading this post than I was before I read it!

  30. Boomshaw March 18th, 2013 10:44 am

    After setting up RasPlex on my friend’s RPi yesterday I placed an order for my own. I currently use the Roku 2 XS but don’t like having to transcode my .mkv’s and deal with the frequent buffering (from a dual core 3.8 GHz dedicated Windows 7 server with 4 GB of ram). I’ve gone back to direct playing .mp4 files until I have a solution in place for my HD .mkv files. RasPlex also brings along all of the eye candy of Plex Home Theater that is lacking on the Roku due to the SDK limitations. I’m also looking forward to the custom case Dale is working on.

  31. Larry Grinnell March 18th, 2013 11:11 am

    Drat! Just bought a Roku for the master bedroom setup (which, with the Plex app, is sweet as all getout). Maybe I’ll look at the Raspberry Pi for the guest bedroom. It’s so very cool! I might even get one for the living room system and let the Plex Server run solo on the Core 2 Duo Mac mini. It would solve the problem of no audio going through the mini DisplayPort (yeah, I got one of the early Core 2 Duo minis–doh!).

  32. Blite March 20th, 2013 9:01 am

    While I love the project and the idea, I think people need to temper their expectations a bit with reality. I run a Plex server with Plex clients consisting of a Roku, ATV2, Samsung TV, Mac Mini, Windows PC (for HD audio), and a plethora of iOS devices.

    The Raspberry Pi client is sooooo slow compared to any of these. It’s great that it’s so cheap and that it works, but I can’t say that I’d prefer it over any other low-cost client. $90 versus ~$45-50 (with case) isn’t worth the tradeoff in speed.

    If that changes, great, but I’ve been keeping up with each build and it’s painfully slow to use compared to any of my other clients.

  33. Stephan Raue March 20th, 2013 7:11 pm

    “Thankfully, Sam Nazarko has been doing brilliant work on making XBMC (which Plex Home Theater is based on) really run well on the Raspberry Pi with his Raspbmc project.”

    thats untrue, Sam Nazarko has not done one single commit to the XBMC project. The work was fully done by the XBMC developer team and he only takes their work and combines with Raspbian. Please rewrite this.

  34. Orm April 29th, 2013 5:52 pm

    Thank you all… this is very cool.


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