Plex blog

Coming Attractions (part 4)

03.13.11 65 Comments

Almost exactly half of the Plex users (a ridiculously good-looking bunch, might I add) are outside the United States. That means that rich subtitle support is extremely important. We realize that Plex/Nine has been lacking in that department, and we aim to fix that in this next release.

Without any further ado, let’s start from the beginning, as you’re setting up your media. You’ll notice a new preference area for language which looks like this:


This lets the media server know enough about you so that it can make intelligent decisions about which streams to pick when playing media. For example, it’s not going to show subtitles if the audio stream matches your preferred language. Of course, you can also set the stream selection manually in the clients, but with selection this smart, you might never need to!

We’ve also added rich support in the framework for metadata agents that can retrieve subtitles. Next, we enhanced the OpenSubtitles agent to add preferences for subtitle languages (up to two, for those bilingual couples) to retrieve for media. We expect that many such agents will crop up, as different regions in the world seem to have affinities for different subtitle sites.

Plex Media Server 2

The Local Media agent now detects and picks up and “sidecar” subtitles you might have sitting around with your media, during a refresh. Finally, the media analysis picks up any subtitle streams that are multiplexed into your media. This results in information about all subtitles (local files, online sourced ones, multiplexed subtitles) being unified and stored in a single place. Of course, the really cool thing is that the stream selections for your media are stored in your library on the server, so all clients (iOS, Plex for Mac) will have the same settings. I can change it here:

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And then it shows up here (the Mac client):

Plex 2

Alternatively, I can set it over here:

Plex 3

And then watch it over here:

IOS Simulator  iPhone  iOS 4 3  8F190 11

Pretty awesome, right?

Mobile devices (including third party ones, such as the ATV2 client) have support for subtitles in SSA, SRT, and SMI formats, and we’ll likely add support for others over time.

(Also, we fixed the issue browsing for subtitles on the Plex for Mac client, just in case any of you still want to do that.)

Of course, it also looks sexy on an iPad!

IOS Simulator  iPad  iOS 4 3  8F190 8

Coming Attractions (parts 2 and 3)

03.12.11 70 Comments

(Two posts combined into one due to giant waves and radioactive lizards.)

First, a few quick things I forgot to mention in the last post:

Easy media moves: One of the nice side effects of the soft deletion feature is that it’s much easier to move your media around. You could do this in the last version, but it’s much simpler now, since the media can disappear for a while between scans, and nothing is lost.

Poster/Art downloads: Another tweak we’ve made is to download the full resolution poster and art files during a refresh, in order to ensure that even if the site goes down, the media is always there for you.

Massive refresh on the iOS application: It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll let graphics do most of the talking in this post. It’s actually hard to exhaustively list all the changes, since the application has been so thoroughly overhauled.

This first set of screenshots shows off the new grid view, and improved UI around channels. It turns out that “plug-ins” is a rather technical term (who knew?), segregating them by class wasn’t a great idea (people tend to only use a handful), and getting from installation to channel was way too clunky. So we’ve worked on cleaning up and streamlining the experience, and we’ll be bringing this improved flow to the desktop client as well.

So what’s the edited out tab button in the middle? You’ll just have to wait and see…(anyone care to guess?)

IOS Simulator  iPhone  iOS 4 3  8F190 2 1
IOS Simulator  iPhone  iOS 4 3  8F190 4
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We’ve eliminated the second level menu from library browsing, and replaced it with a filter button, which should, again, improve efficiency. Yes, we will be bringing that change over to the desktop client as well, although not in the next release (patience, grasshopper). Yes, there are unanswered questions about the third image.

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The iPad version is a huge improvement over the last version as well, with rich new views and tweaked typography. It looks great, and feels responsive, this is really your media as you’ve never seen it before.

IOS Simulator  iPad  iOS 4 3  8F190 1  IOS Simulator  iPad  iOS 4 3  8F190 2

IOS Simulator  iPad  iOS 4 3  8F190 3

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Oh yeah, and a few more things people have been asking for: TV Out, and Airplay. And even more things: playing multi-part media, and image caching. And yes (more on this later) subtitles and audio stream selection.

We’re aiming to submit to the app store within the next few days, so it should be in your hands very shortly. Even with the all the new features, this is a free upgrade for all current users. Thank you all for your support, and we hope you love the new version as much as we do!