Introducing PlexConnect, an AppleTV client which Thinks Different

06.04.13 221 Comments

One of the coolest things about building a media server with a API is that you never know what sort of clients are going to appear out of thin air. Over the years we’ve been incredibly impressed with a wide range of projects: The original Plex for Roku, the insanely popular Plex for Samsung app, and even the original version of Plex/Web were all developed by people who wanted to see Plex go where it had never gone before. (Also note that we hired Eric, the Plex/Web guy. If you want a full-time job with Plex, now you know what impresses more than a résumé.)

There’s one little box in the living room which hasn’t been as fully compatible with Plex as we’ve liked, and that’s the Apple TV. There’s been a Plex client available for a few years now, but only for Jailbroken devices, which means the more powerful v3 device can’t be used (and let’s face it, Jailbreaking can be tricky). Oh, and we hired one of those guys too.

Enter PlexConnect. The brainchild of Baaroidy and f00b4r, it’s a super clever little hack which allows a rich, fully-functional Plex client on un-jailbroken ATV2 and ATV3 (1080p!) devices. Essentially, you run a program on your computer which masquerades as the Trailer app. Next, change one setting on the ATV, and you’re up and running. It took me less than 2 minutes to install and get it running. It already uses the new transcoder (which means great support for subtitles), and I suspect it’ll support myPlex soon as well. In the PlexPass preview release of the media server, it also supports AC3 5.1 (remuxing and transcoding from DTS). Another cool thing: it supports iTunes DRM’ed video files.

Unlike the other Plex client for ATV2, this one uses XML and Javascript, which means it’s super easy to develop for. We can only hope that Apple opens up their App Store to these ATV “widgets” at some point.

Without further ado, I’ll leave you with some screenshots of PlexConnect. You can install the official version from here, or if you’re running v5.2 of the firmware or later, you can try our version, which has a few tweaks featured in the photos below.

Note that these are early days still, you’ll need to know your way around a Terminal, but I expect a more polished installer isn’t far off. Check out their wiki for more information.

N.B. The current release does NOT yet run on Synology boxes, which is apparently a limitation of the bundled Python.

Our hats are off to Baa and roidy, what they’ve accomplished is incredibly impressive!

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221 Comments

  • Scenario: Sister & Brother-in-law have ATV3, but dont’ run PMS themselves. I created a myPlex login for them and I have shared my server with them. Will plex connect work for them to only stream from my server or do they need to run their own instance of PMS? Thanks in advance.

  • Scary now i will in no way acquire 1 once again

  • If i use an ATV3 do i still need my computer running in the background to stream content, or can i simply add a external hard drive with my content, leaving my laptop off?

  • Finally got it working. Thanks guys I can now watch my movies from my PC onto my TV through ATV3. I’m on the latest firmware on my ATV3 v6.0.2 working just fine. Straight forward instructions from you guys. I picked up bits and pieces of info from different sources on how to get PlexConnect working but I ended up deleting everything and starting fresh with your tutorial and got it working from first try. Thanks a lot! I appreciate your service and it’s free. What more can we ask for!? Now I’m looking to find out what else the setup can do apart from streaming music, photos and movies from PC to TV.

  • I have been so tempted to get a Roku just so I could have a dedicated Plex client, and then I found this!

    What a great example of creative thinking, and a creative solution to a problem. I can’t believe how well it works.

    Thank you to those who came up with the idea and did such a great job executing it.

  • Can’t say thanks enough for this! I have been struggling along with a 1st gen Logitech Revue Google TV – which has been a traumatizing/frustrating/disheartening experience to say the least. Having native Plex support was nice, but it often crashed and usually had issues with audio track playback and buffering. A friend got me an ATV3 for Christmas yesterday so I was eager to see if there was Plex support for this – after sadly seeing there was not I kept searching and found this. I was a little bewildered at first and was having issues getting it working – then I read back through this article more closely and found the link to the wiki which then lead me to the detailed installation guide :foreheadslap: Needless to say once I sat down and diligently followed the detailed instructions (it does not take very long, maybe ~10 min) I have it up and running. My Christmas just got much more merry! Thanks again!

  • Any news regarding an automated installer? Also does this work with the Asustor 604 series with Plex server install?

    Cheers,

  • Has anyone had trouble lately? I had PlexConnect and ATV3 working perfectly before, but now all of a sudden, it is failing when trying to log into myPlex.

    • @Ed: they might need to change the hostname to “plex.tv” if their client doesn’t handle redirects.

  • Thanks, elan. “They” meaning who? Is there something I could/should do in the meantime?

  • @Ed, no, still works perfectly. Watched a movie on a remote location (through myplex) yesterday. Maybe you should update to the latest release?

  • Any plans to be able to add Plex app back on Apple TV 2 ?
    I have 5.02 firmware but no matter what I do XBMC still clashes with it, and boots me out.

  • So just to clarify, I still need my pc running the PMS when I access PlexConnect?

    • @neil ~ correct.

  • Just wondering if i can get other people’s library that i am sharing with to show on apple tv 3. I check MyPlex and all it says is “PlexConnect No Plex Library Sections Available.

    Please & Thanks

  • updated Plex connect and problem solved

  • Thanks to you guys, my ATV3 is no longer just a $99 waste. Thank you for your efforts!!

  • Wow, I hate to say it but this is another one of those really cool things that is useless because the person who developed it assumes we all know python, or where to put the python program (on our PC? on our Mac? on our Apple TV directly somehow?). Why don’t we just recompile the kernal while we’re at it, no problem.

    A step by step guide, showing what to actually do for an Apple TV user with a Mac and a PC would be so great. Can anyone point me to this?

  • So I have synology is there any hope of plex on atv3?

  • Any chance of rolling this into the synnology version of plex or as a second app you can install… it’s open source right… so just bundle it?!

  • I have a Jailbroken Apple TV 2 with 5.0.2 Firmware it has the Plex app In ATV Flash Black but XBMC always seems to crash when they are both Installed. Can I install Plex connect without updating the software? I am using Eden also so XBMC wouldn’t crash but still no luck.

  • Forget the transcoding with the Apple TV. I have a Western Digital Live streaming box, it supports resume too. If at all possible, you should avoid transcoding media files. If you need to transcode, then do it.

  • Sweeet.. I bricked my jailbroken ATV2 :( i had for xbmc, but since I switched to Plex I just restored it to vanila IOS and used this plexconnect hack which worked flawlessly … btw I can confirm this still works on firmware 6.2

  • So first problem, it says to install the trailers certificate from http://trailers.apple.com/trailers.cer page not found, has anyone put it on a new URL??

  • Well I use Plex with my PS3 and it works pretty well. I do have an aTV-3 and use it to stream PC movies and photos to my TV when iTunes is running on my PC. I find it works very well for streaming. I am just wondering why I would want to use Plex through the aTV-3, any big advantages since I already have Plex through the PS3? Thanks

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