Chromecast enhancements! Shared sync! More! OMG!

02.24.14 112 Comments

Hope you all had a great weekend! We have some exciting updates for you this morning, so without further ado, let’s jump into them. Grab your (full fat) latte!

Updated Media Server

We’ve been hard at work on the 0.9.9 series of the media server, as we (asymptotically) approach the big One Dot Oh. We’ve added scheduled tasks, partial scanning, support for more platforms, made it faster in many ways, and fixed a ton of bugs. You can read all the details in our server releases notes thread here. (Trivia: the first release of the Plex Media Server was on November 15th, 2008. That’s over FIVE years ago, which makes it older than some of our users.)

Shared Sync

You’ve been asking for this one for a while, and we’re thrilled to finally bring it to you. When you share media from a server, you now have the ability to optionally grant permission to sync from your server. Note that while the server must still have a Plex Pass, there is no requirement that the person you’re sharing with have a Plex Pass, so this makes the family scenario awesome. Different members of your family can use different accounts, but everyone can sync! In order to use shared sync: get the latest media server, latest iOS/Android apps, and go to the usual place to grant sync permission for each user.

2014 02 24 at 12 40 PM

Chromecast support for music and photos

 We’re also incredibly pleased to bring you support for playing music and photos via your Chromecast. If it’s in your Plex library, you can now fling it over to the Chromecast, and we even support audio transcoding for formats which aren’t natively supported.

NOTE: You’ll need the latest version of the Android app for this to work, and the iOS app which supports this feature will be in the store in the near future.

ANOTHER NOTE: Have you ever seen The Shins in concert? They’re awesome.

Play music 2

Chromecast support for content mirroring

We weren’t content to stop at just playing media on the Chromecast. We’ve taken things a step further with content mirroring. What exactly is it? Well, as you’re browsing your library on your mobile device, we fling details for the item onto the big screen. It’s perfect if you’re sitting around on the couch with friends trying to decide what to watch. Below are some examples of content mirroring (we mirror movies, shows, episodes, artists, albums, and video clips from channels). All the beauty of Plex Home Theater on your tiny little Chromecast.

NOTE: You’ll need the latest version of the Android app for this to work, and the iOS app which supports this feature will be in the store in the near future.

Mirror movie

Mirror artist 2

As a bonus feature, we’ve also thrown in a lovely background art slideshow for the “ready to cast” screen.

Enhanced video streaming for Chromecast

So let’s see – you can now play all media types on the Chromecast, as well as beautifully mirror content as you’re browsing. No other Chromecast app can do that. So what more could you possibly ask for? How about more reliable and efficient streaming of high bitrate video content? We have to admit it, we’re real media nerds here at Plex. We love the nitty gritty and the 0s and 1s and all the hard-core technology around media. So we’re pleased to announce that we hunkered down in the lab with lots of beer and came up with a better way to stream media to the Chromecast, which allows for most 1080p content to stream without needing to perform expensive transcoding. It also fixes some reliability issues we were observing with the older streaming method, and just overall makes video playback more solid on the Chromecast. So get the latest media server, and give it a try, we think you’ll be very pleased!

Barkley’s been sandier than usual these last few weeks…

Photo 2

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  • plexpass subscriber here, great work on everything. using chromecasts in the house with plex server is awesome. love to see video shuffle and repeat so i can continuously shuffle play all my music videos. i’m sure it will come in the future though 🙂

  • Hi,

    can someone help me with my problem? Wenn I try to download the latest update of pms, I get a message that error occured by trying get a update, I should chcek a connection to the internet.. conetction to the internet works, but i am not able to get a new update…pms is instaled on Windows server 2012..I hope by every nwe update, that they will fix a problem with saving position where I left the media, esspecially when its break down. any idea what is wrong or what I should do?

  • Not sure if this is the location for suggestions, but I saw a few in the list above.

    I just started using sync to my Android devices and am loving it. Would there be a way to have Plex remember that one user or device has transcoded a show and have it available for other devices. Then the other devices wouldn’t have to transcode it. So basically transcode once and share to multiple devices.

    • @Ryan ~ the main issue is that most devices require different settings, we have specific profiles which result in different conversions. In theory you could share amongst identical devices, but that seemed like a rare case.

  • élan March, you mentioned that Chromecast support doesn’t need PlexPass but my iOS app still request it. Is it normal?

    • @Eric: Chromecast still requires a Plex Pass.

  • @Elan With this new sync if one of the members of my family sees a tv show on his/her iPad will be marked as watched?

    Or only will be marked as watched by the main account in the server ?

    • @Rafael ~ whoever owns the sync will get the view update, so it’ll get marked as watched for whoever is signed into the iPad.

  • When a shared user syncs from your server, how do you see the status of the transcoder. When I go to sync activity I only see my device. Is there a centralized transcoder/sync status somewhere?

  • When will the Chromecast functionality come out of the “preview” period?

    • @Chris ~ sooner than you might think.

  • Fantastic! Shared sync is just the kind of thing I was hoping for when I got PlexPass – server features that benefit all users, with or without paid accounts. Love the chromecast improvements too – thanks for keeping on improving

  • Why Amazon store isn’t updated at the same time that Google Play Store? Second class customers?

    • @oscar – because their review process is much longer 🙂

  • I am a pled pass member.. how do I download my videos for off line viewing?

  • Awesomeeeee !!!

  • Can I see Shared Sync Activities in PlexPass (for example when the server is actively transcoding a movie for a device), because I’m not that sure that I can see that at the moment

  • Thanks for replying to me Elan! I just purchased the yearly Plex pass package because I really enjoy Plex. My family and I are really looking forward to the feature to filter by audio language, any idea when Plex/Web will make it possible to filter by audio language? Would it also be possible to share only movies that contain a certain audio language?

    Thanks and best wishes,

  • Shirt sink seems like a great idea but also needs time limits in my opinion lest your family crusher bandwidth

  • Loving Plex and the addition of Chromecast with the latest update is icing on the cake. I was using XBMC however Plex craps all over it – just user friendly, fast and reliable. Chromecast streaming is awesome – my little $35 gadget is now perfect. Great work Plex team.

  • You guys are the best – Plex is one of the best things to ever come to our lounge rooms (and beyond). Keep up the great work.

  • Plex is super fantastik! I use it everyday and i love it!

  • I remember Chromecasting from Android used to be a little flaky – half the shows I’d lose the ability to control it before the end & have to recast (and often then start from the beginning). But it sure beat running things around the house on a USB stick, so I loved you for it anyway.

    But somehow, very recently (maybe with the revisions in this release), you snuck in some amazing improvements. Tonight I cast a show from my phone, then had to reboot the phone while the show was playing. When I fired up the Plex client again on the phone & pressed the Chromecast button, it PICKED UP THE EXISTING SESSION and let me control it! I was *blown away*. The next show I started from my tablet… and I was able to pause it from my phone!

    This stuff is absolutely stellar. The integration seems intuitive and rock solid. I’m super impressed guys – thank you.

    • @Jon J ~ thanks so much, glad it’s working well for you 🙂

  • I did not find a way to sync items from shared libraries in the Plex/Web client. Is “Shared Sync” only available on mobile devices?

    • @Frank-Michael ~ Correct, it’s not available via the web app yet.

  • Hi!

    Just wondering about this:
    “Came up with a better way to stream media to the Chromecast, which allows for most 1080p content to stream without needing to perform expensive transcoding.”

    I tried streaming 1080p .mkv to my Chromecast from either my Synology DS212 (which refuses to do so since it seems not being able to transcode it, guess its a limitation of the ARM CPU) or my parents old laptop w. Core 2 Duo T8100 2.1GHz and the laptop maxes out the CPU-usage even on 720p .mkv. Now I am a beginner in all of this transcoding business but could you guys elaborate on when/how I would see the “benefit” of the better transcoding with CC since I do not see any of it?

    I am really thankful and grateful for your hard work and when I figure out a solution my parents (with their new CC) and me (with my CC to-be) will bask in your awesomeness and become subscribers 🙂 Err… I will be anyway and my parents will still be grateful that the thingymajig does even more wonderful thingies.


    • @TheSwede86 ~ some NAS devices support remuxing, which is much cheaper than transcoding. Try turning the quality *up* to make a remux kick in. This should help cases like your Core 2 Duo.

  • “Yet” sounds promising – thank you.

  • Is it just me who can’t play anything from an android device to Chromecast ? All I get is st – st – st -stutter 🙁

  • I have found the cause for my problems .. Windows Home Server !! My main server runs WHS 2011 and this works great over DLNA to my LG TV, via chromecast though .. not so great. I just spun up a Windows 7 VM machine and installed a second plex server on it and that now plays perfectly. Anything and everything now plays through that

  • Is the Apple IOS wake problem fixed yet?
    IOS devices cant’ wake the Mac Plex server.

    • @Steve ~ As far as I know recent media servers advertise with Bonjour so they can be woken from sleep.

  • Would be even better if my LG tv ever got to find the server

  • Will the Sync to Device from shared library work at some point?

  • This might just be one of the top 10 software on the internet!

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