Introducing Cloud Sync (beta)
As many of you know, we announced Plex Sync almost a year ago. Since then, users have synced (literally!) hundreds of terabytes of media to their iOS and Android devices, and we’ve heard stories from people using it to make their plane trips less boring, vacations more fun, and long commutes more palatable.
There are other scenarios, however, for which sync alone doesn’t help. Even though space on mobile devices is growing, our phones and tablets might not have a lot of free space for large video files. Or we may not have enough upstream bandwidth to stream video at high quality. This problem is even larger if we’re sharing our media with others, since it places our already limited upstream bandwidth under even more pressure.
Also, there may be times when you don’t have a dedicated machine to leave on when you leave your house. Maybe your only computer is a laptop, or your electricity is incredibly expensive, or you’re friends with Al Gore. Or maybe your ISP or network setup simply makes it impossible for your mobile devices to connect back home.
In our untiring quest to make your media consumption as easy and enjoyable as possible, we’ve just released a new PlexPass feature called Cloud Sync, which provides you with a powerful solution for all these scenarios. With Cloud Sync, you can now sync your media to cloud storage providers such as DropBox and Google Drive. Your media is optimized for streaming and uploaded, along with the rich metadata you know and love. It’s like having a media server that’s always on and has great streaming speeds!
One of the coolest features of Cloud Sync is the ability to configure multiple storage providers, and set individual limits for each. You can then create a smart sync rule (“Newest 20 movies added to my Movie library”, for example) and the videos will be uploaded and spread across different providers as needed.
Once your cloud sync completes, you can turn off your server, and access all your media online from any Plex app. No need to worry about limited upstream bandwidth, or whether your mom is streaming that latest soccer video of her grandkids ten times in a row.
When your media server comes online again, view progress will be synced, because that seamless Plex ecosystem you know and love extends up to the cloud.
And as we hinted at earlier, you can also share your cloud-synced libraries just like any other library. And it looks and works just like any other library too, except it’s got a puffy white cloud on it.
In order to use Cloud Sync, you need to download the freshly released Plex Media Server v.0.9.8.10 (getting awfully close to 1.0, aren’t we?). You can browse the extensive changes in minute detail here, but I’ll summarize the juiciest changes below. Then, visit the new Cloud Sync providers page and link your accounts. And finally (aren’t there always three steps to profiting?) select the new Cloud Sync target when syncing.
Just to note, we consider Cloud Sync a beta. We’ll be making tweaks over the next weeks as we get feedback, so please leave your impressions and comments in our new Cloud Sync forum.
Here’s what’s new in El Server De Media:
- Cloud Sync. It’s shiny, it’s new, it’s awesome.
- It seems like 64-bit is all the rage these days. We’ve updated the OS X version to be 64-bit. It’s faster, more modern and, let’s face it, 64 is bigger than 32. Our media server goes up to way past 11.
- We’ve made some important sync fixes. We fixed an issue that could lead to a slow down or hang, and we fixed another issue where the server (in the case of a transient network issue) would re-transcode everything, which could in turn lead to iOS refusing to play synced content.
- We’ve massively improved scanning speed. Our canonical test of scanning in 1400 movies from scratch went from taking over four hours to just 50 minutes. Music and photo scanning is also much faster, and will use all your processors. In addition, we’ve eliminated Turbo Scan, and just made the regular deep scan much faster. So the end result is just fast, reliable scanning. Don’t believe me? Ask a PlexPass user who helped us test out the new scanner: “I just ran the new improved scan and nearly got whiplash. WOW, THAT IS FAST. I used to dread updating certain library sections often because it took forever … it’s just ridiculously fast now. THANKS!”
- Display of unwatched episodes was very slow.
- We fixed some crashes streaming RTMP video.
- iTunes playlists were mysteriously missing.
- Playback of some videos ended prematurely on ATV 6.0.
- There was some annoying green fringing on subtitles (many thanks to Rodger Combs for the fix).
This release, as always, is brought to you by the indefatigable Barkley Bonestein. It’s been a while, so you get two photos.