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November 16, 2012

A Plex/Web Update

About 10 weeks ago, we did something a little different: We released a new Plex web app into the hands of our PlexPass members. The app wasn’t finished by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a giant step towards replacing the aging and slow Plex web manager (and the aging and slow Cocoa manager on OS X), and a giant leap into the future, where you could access, organize, and play all of your media from anywhere in the world with just a web browser.

Releasing as early as we did to a group so passionate about Plex was an unqualified success. Over this period, we made about 10 releases of the app into PlexPass, adding features, implementing your suggestions, and fixing the bugs you reported. We want to thank you all – from the bottom of our hearts – for your help and feedback. Because of you, we have a much better app to show as a result.

To those who are not yet PlexPass members, we are shortly going to be releasing into your hands something that we’re very proud of. We’re confident that because of this PlexPass “gauntlet” it had to pass through, you’re getting a better app than you otherwise would have, and mostly likely sooner than you would have otherwise gotten it. Those guys really held our feet to the fire 🙂 And if you would like to help shape Plex, and get early access to cool stuff, you can sign up here!

During the same period, we also made three pre-releases of the next Plex Media Server to PlexPass members, with added API functionality for Plex/Web and a few other really cool things we wanted to preview. One of those is a new transcoder which goes idle when it gets ahead, instead of simply taking up the entire CPU. It also supports subtitles on the PS3. We’ll release it publicly at the same time as Plex/Web.

At around the same time as we launch Plex/Web and the new media server, we’ll be introducing a brand new preview for our PlexPass members, of a premium feature. We can’t say anything more about it except that if you have a mobile device, we think you’ll really, really like it.

Without further ado, let’s take a quick tour through some of the coolest things we’ve added to Plex/Web in this period. First up, something that’s been requested for literally years, multi-selection. Type in “star wars” in the quick filter, select all the movies, and add them to a new collection. Or delete the ones with Jar Jar.

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We’ve also added support for universal search. Quickly search for movies, artist, albums, shows, episodes, and online videos from a single place. I do love my zombie movies, apparently.

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Sometimes it’s late at night, we’re all hanging out in the Plex chat room, and someone says “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” That’s how remote playback got added; that’s right, you can now fling media from any web browser to Plex apps which support remote control.

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We’ve also added support for audio stream and subtitle selection, as well as actually displaying subtitles in the player.

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One of the things that was really important to us was feedback during a scan. Our resident Javascript wizard Eric even made the posters flip like they used to in the old Cocoa manager (on browsers that support it):

We’ve also added support for browsing audio and photo channels (and improved support for video channels).

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The On Deck feature is super popular, so we added an easy one-click way to access it inside sections.

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One of our foremost goals with Plex/Web was to greatly improve the “first run” experience for new users. Historically, on OS X we had a wizard, but it was out of date; on Linux and Windows, we didn’t have anything at all. We’re now thrilled that Plex/Web has an extensive setup wizard which integrates myPlex setup, lets you drag the bookmarklet right from the wizard, and lots of other stuff.

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Last, but not least, the media server keeps a rich universe of information about your media, and we’re trying to do more to expose it. To this end, we added a nice “media info” dialog which shows lots of details. Media nerds will love it, and it’ll definitely help for diagnostic purposes.

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In summary, Plex/Web kicks some galactic-level derrière. Coming soon, to a browser near you…

(And if you’re dying to check it out right now, get yourself a backstage PlexPass…)

The Best of Plex

Plex Pass gives you exclusive access to awesome new features and apps.

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The Best of Plex

A Plex/Web Update is a premium feature and requires a Plex Pass subscription.

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Plex Media Server

Plex Media Server (PMS) is the software that allows you to stream your content to all of your devices, anywhere.

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