Plex Blog

A big update for the Plex Roku Channel

Dec
08
2012
December 8, 2012 77 Comments

The Roku is one of our favorite ways to get Plex on the big screen. I actually used to own two Roku SoundBridges back in the day, so my love for the company goes way back. But seriously, what’s not to love about those sexy little boxes? They’re affordable, reliable, and have 1080p output; we know people with 4 of them connected up around their house, all streaming from a Plex Media Server.

Speaking of streaming to multiple devices at once, our friend @andersnorberg conducted an interesting test with the new release of the media server, which has some really nice optimizations to reduce CPU usage. He was able to stream 720p and 1080p content to twelve devices at the same time from one of the new Mac Minis without a problem. He literally ran out of devices without being able to overload the server (see photo below). Got any other crazy stories for us about how you’re running Plex in your underground vampire-themed club in Berlin, or on your laser-shark-equipped 200 foot yacht in the South Pacific? Let us know.

Plex roku

Anyway, we have a nice update to the Plex Roku channel which we’d like to tell you about. As you might know, the channel is open source, and we always welcome contributions. We’d like to give a shout out to flyryan, whose changes we’ve incorporated into this new version. Here is the full list of changes:

  • Some internal re-architecting to use a single message port/loop. Not exciting, but a ton of work and the thing that enabled most of what’s on this list. It also means the code should be a bit cleaner, feel free to contribute!
  • Background audio support: Audio no longer stops playing when you leave the screen on which you started playing it. Among other things, you can listen to music while browsing for videos or more music to play, and you can start a slideshow while the music continues to play in the background. You can navigate to the currently playing audio from the home screen or by hitting the * key on most screens. How cool is that?
  • Remote control: You can actually fling media over to the Roku and control it with another Plex app (this requires an updated media server which will be out in a week or so).
  • Added myPlex recommendations to the home screen.
  • Added global Recently Added and On Deck to the home screen.
  • Additional display preferences, home screen rows and section display rows (all, on deck, unwatched, …) can be reordered.
  • Improved the load time on grid screens.
  • Added preference for subtitle color (soft subs only)
  • Added a delete button, when the media server is configured to allow deletion.
  • TV theme music!
  • Basic support for stacked (multi-part) videos.
  • Small bug fixes around subtitles and surround sound.

We are aware of one high profile bug that has not been addressed yet; some people
see crashes on some files with 5.1 audio. We’re working with Roku to figure
out what’s causing the problem, likely some combination of transcoder and Roku firmware.

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