Plex on the brand new Android TV!

06.25.14 76 Comments

No doubt you’ve been glued to the interwebs, watching the Google I/O keynote. Is the next version of Android named Lollipop, Lickable Lemur, or Limoncello? I’m honestly not sure, because I’m writing this the night before. But what I do know is that an awesome new platform has launched: Android TV.

Now if there’s a new way to get content on your TV, we try our hardest to be there from the start, and we’re super happy to let you know that Plex will be available when the Android TV launches. Mind you, this is no simple port of the big-screen Android app for the Google TV, this is much, much more. Starting with the finger-licking delicious new UI of the Android TV, we’ve completely redesigned the Plex home screen, and added exciting new ways to explore your media. Also, the app integrates perfectly with some of the amazing new Android TV features, including voice search. Lastly, media you’re most likely to want to watch next is displayed on the Android TV home screen.

Obviously, Android TV isn’t available for users yet, but we wanted to give you a rare peek at what’s coming in the near future.

Feast your eyes on these screenshots, dear reader! Is this the sexiest version of Plex yet?

Movie Library
TV Season Page
Movie Page
Music Library

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  • Does it play local files? How do you load local files on Android TV?

  • @Age & @elan

    24p is obviously totally on the Google and the OEMs, but if you can get 24p support in a <$100 blu ray player then I don't think it is fair to say it isn't a general feature one would see in such consumer devices. I know my 1st gen Sony NSZ-GT1 GoogleTV player supported it and HD audio for blu rays. No HD audio for apps (Plex) and I'm not sure about 24p support elsewhere because that box isn't hooked up to a 24p tv.

    HD audio handling is another story. I'm fine if you can't bitstream because of Google/vendors. But there is no reason for Plex to not decode HD audio to LPCM when XBMC does it on Android devices (not GTV other than 4.2 upgraded devices). I'm a lifetime Plex Pass subscriber (after paying monthly for well over a year) and despite my wife being used to Plex I might switch us over to XBMC because of Plex's focus on everything but the features I want and a regression in playback I've seen since the new interface switch a while back. I don't care about syncing, photo uploading, and all that other stuff besides doing direct playback of video and using HD audio. Both my boxes (1st and 2nd Gen Sony GTV) support all bluray video codecs but Plex seems to think it knows better and wants to transcode, which is blasphemy. Couple that with the the mentioned regression on my GT1 playback where videos will stutter during playback and require a quick pause-play action to fix. That wasn't there before the UI update and that box hasn't seen a Sony update in years.

    I am excited about AndroidTV. Especially since Google got their head out of their butt and realized that cable card tuners so my HDHomerun Prime is going to be supported. Just need 24p, HD audio, and 3d MVC support for it to be perfect.

    • @Drew ~ Just to clarify, XBMC on Android is a native app, and Plex is an actual Android app. So we can’t just “decode HD audio to LPCM” trivially. If you think we’ve got the profiles wrong and are transcoding when we shouldn’t be, please give us details and media samples and we can adjust the profile.

      I’m not familiar with the stutter issue, is there a forum thread for that? In general we just pass the media off to the Android media subsystem to play, so it may not be our bug.

      I also want to say, thank you so much for your support!

  • Hi there, nice to see plex is spreading to new systems and devices.
    I’m just still hoping that plex might make a jump to some way more interesting _existing_ devices (like x1) then to something in the (more or less distant) future. Or that PMS gets a useful play-to functionality that is not limited to chromecast (srsly, whats up with that…).
    Nevertheless keep up the good work.

    PS: a fix for the useless forums-notification system would also be greatly appreciated after all this time!!!

  • @elan. I am aware that XBMC is a native app hence why it isn’t available for the good GTV devices (the intel ones). I fully expect AndroidTV to support the NDK as well. Being that Google allows developers to upload different APKs for different configurations then Plex could come in full Java as well as a Java with native code flavor. That’s up to you and the team to do though. As a PlexPass member I have used my membership for nothing but the early access to the web client, which I don’t even use for playing videos as that’s what my GTV devices are for. I really like using Plex as it’s interface is a good mix of pretty, quick, and easy to use with high WAF. But for me it has to be a media player for my capable devices connected to a TV with my backed up blu rays.

    I have posted my issues on the forums (as drhill) with Plex transcoding video over direct play as well as the stuttering issues. I’ve spoken with IanB! about it a few times and given a link to some sample clips for the transcoding. The stuttering I have been unable to reproduce the issue while capturing a log cat. Standard troubleshooting issue of not being able to reproduce something when you want to. It only started to happen after the switch to the new interface and no Sony updates happened since then. I have nothing really to go with besides that and any Plex server updates. I have gigabit ethernet connecting my boxes and my ubuntu server.

    I just go with it at this point. If it doesn’t happen on future AndroidTV devices I won’t care.

  • will Plex app ever make it to PS4?

  • This is all well and good but where is the promised queue and shuffle system for android decides now?

  • Hmmm… Android TV in an already saturated set-top-box market seems superfluous, but that’s another story.

    What I am frustrated with is the fact that I have subscribed to PlexPass and paid for the Amazon TV app. Yet it seems pretty obvious that despite the comment about different teams working on different things, your focus is now on Android TV. You have made promises of features coming for other Android devices, yet they haven’t materialized. I have come to the conclusion that you are shifting priorities as much as most people change underwear. With those changes in priority, you are screwing over those of us who have supported you financially and helped to make it possible to have a development team.

    So when your customers purchase your app on Android TV, are you going to just stop updating it when the next big thing gets announced? I have no reason to believe you when you say development hasn’t stopped on other Android devices since you have provided no evidence of it.

    • @kurzondax ~ if you’re not going to believe me, than I guess there’s nothing I can say? You’re mistaking “focus” for “public news”. What promises have I made about features coming for other Android devices? We promised camera upload, and delivered. We promised play queues, and we’re working on it. Android is a super important platform for us.

      (Reality check: There is, and will always be, limited resources. We can’t support every platform forever because someone bought it once. We want our effort to benefit the greatest number of our users possible. Does that make sense to you?)

  • Can anyone tell me if the box supports 24p?

  • Elan,
    I see in the screenshots that this version has a sort of netflix style “Top movies in fantasy” “top movies with brad pitt” Is this an ongoing focus for plex with smart style playlists that dynamically pull movies into genres? Thanks.

    • @Matthew ~ you’ll see more of this in the future, yes. Keen eyes :)

  • +1 @elan for clarifying this!

  • Geez, yeah this does the opposite of excite me. I’m not sure what I’m looking at in the first one. I guess this is some kind of splash page for all Libraries combine with a hodge podge of photos, music, movies TV shows, mixed posters fanart. It all looks noisy to me. Looks like the last one is a replacement of the screen that offers all the different filters for a particular library (with Search always located at the bottom for some bizarre reason, not intuitive). Those filters don’t work right on Samsung Apps. Recently viewed shows doesn’t work. I think it orders them in reverse.. The 4th screenshot is particularly disturbing. So now we’re going to see even less information about our content? Gone are media information, Gone are director, producer, actors (which doesn’t work on smart TV/android clients, displaying the last 3 actors instead of the first 3 actors). Why so we can see a bigger border of fan art? Yeah, that looks like a disappointing direction.

    As one commenter already said, you guys need reduce the proliferation of different UIs, not add YET another variant to the soup. Obviously (despite Microsoft’s feverish belief) one interface is not best for all form factors from 3.5″ touch screen to 65″ TV controlled by a TV remote. I think the current HT 1.1.4 interface is great. obviously a handheld phone requires a different form UI. However I think the current HT UI would work well on TVs and tablets. I think Nexus 10 looks a lot like 1.1.4. Although I recall frustration at the sideswipe to open search screen in the past. If you have a case or leather protector, you can’t swipe from the edge. Haven’t seen the nexus in months so not sure where it is now. Sony Google TV, Samsung App Plex, Fire TV Plex are more divergent from HT 1.1.4. I keep hoping to see the smart tv/android TV clients looks like HT, but now it looks like you have a somewhat different looking UI and menu planned.

  • An app for my 2014 LG WebOS TV would be brilliant.

  • Is plex working on PS4’s 1.74 update?

  • I’ve recently downloaded the Plex Media Server on my Mac and even though I have never been able to see my media library on the web app I could access it from my LG TV Smartshare function yesterday and it was great!
    Today though..was another story. The TV detected it without a problem but when I opened it, it said No File. I’ve tried closing the server and starting it again and everything and still the same I doing something wrong?
    Also I really would like to be able to access my library from the web app so I don’t always have to be on my mac to get to my library!

  • Android TV box Satellite great achievement of which is available in the market with Android Function

  • Hello !
    And what about DTS and Dolby Digital passthrough ?
    What about subtitles that make PMS transcoding videos ?
    Do you have some news to give to us ?
    Do you know something about that for Android TV ? And for Chromecast ?

    Many thanks

  • Hi,

    I’m an Android developer, trying to get Plex up and running on the Android Developer TV, and am running into issues accessing my server. Please see my forum post @

    • @Trogdan ~ we’ll check it out!

  • Looking forward to Plex that works on Android TV Boxes in the near future if there’s any plan for it

    • @Oscar ~ there’s a release of the Plex in the store already for Android TVs :)

  • Elan, quick question about the Plex app for Android TV. Does it use its own decoding engine, or does it rely on system media playback?

    Hypothetically, streaming an mkv file from a Drobo 5N (which cannot transcode in realtime), will it be a problem if the Android platform level doesn’t support the container/encoding features? Or is the Plex App using its own playing library with wide profile support on the same level as like VLC/Mplayer, etc.

    I guess restated another way, if a video could not be played in the above situation, would that be bugworthy or WAI?

    • @Eric ~ it relies on system media playback. The Drobo 5N can *remux*, though, which can be enough for, let’s say, an MKV file.

  • I didn’t see anywhere but will this be available for non Plex Pass users or do we have to wait?

  • Hi,

    Will this app be available for the android platfrom in general, or just the nexus tv? I have a minix x8-h which is a rather hefty piece of kit, and i would certainly rather have this ui than use the tablet ui for android.

  • So I installed the Plex app on my shiny new nexus player and was disappointed to learn that I have to have a Plex pass to stream local content. Terrible let down…nowhere did I read I needed a Plex pass to stream locally. Pretty disappointed.

    • @adam ~ Streaming locally has nothing to do with anything. The application is only available to our Plex Pass members during the preview period.

  • Picked up a nexus player last week and was a little disappointed to hear the product in this article isn’t close to being ready for release.

  • Any update on when this will be available on Android TV for us that do not have a Plex pass?

  • I hope this interface comes to other android devices and more importantly the amazon fire tv

  • I’ve got plex on all my devices… But on Android TV, it’s pretty much not usable because it doesn’t show title text… Only thumbnails and then something like, “0 secs”, or occasionally “2013 – 30 mins”
    No titles
    And no artwork on most…
    Note: this same library is serving up through Plex just fine to PC and tablet clients, just not to the Android TV

    • @Russell Spurlock ~ Should be fixed in the next release.

  • Will this be available on the new 2015 Sony Android TV’s ?

    I really hope it will be.

  • I recently purchased a Nexus Player, and am considering a new Sony Android TV in the near future. Compared to the Roku app (current, I haven’t checked out the new one yet), I like the interface, but don’t like that you’ve removed the Unwatched category from Movies and TV Shows. This really needs to be added back in. It would be nice to have an Unwatched category on the main menu directly under Library, as well. Also ‘Unwatched’ should to be the first category under All in the specific library menu just like it is now on the Roku app, or make it where the users can rearrange the order.

    It would also be nice if I could load up my own On Deck que in the order I want to watch.

    • @Johnny ~ I’m sure we’ll make the unwatched option available. Not sure what you mean by a custom On Deck.

  • Thanks for ANOTHER awesome release! You guys rock!

  • Hi there. Saw all this negativity towards Plex, so wanted to offset it a little.

    I love Plex, and so far have been very impressed how you can make a system that spans so many devices and works so well. Keep it up.

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