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March 31, 2016

Best Platform of the People Gets Life-Changing Update

Dear fellow Plexians, it’s been far too long. So where do we go and what do we do when you don’t hear from us for a while on the blog? Are we growing really impressive facial hair while playing with our new VR headsets? Collecting bitters for our home bars? Teaching our cats to use the toilet (minus flushing, which would obviously require opposable thumbs) [Ed: not strictly true]?

Actually, none of the above.

We’re generally doing two things while we’re quiet: working hard on improving our existing suite of awesome apps, or holed up in a cold-war-era nuclear bunker working on mind-blowingly cool secret new things. It gets cold down there, and the food’s not great, so I’m pretty psyched they let me out to write this blog post. Hello, sun!

Today, we’re going to share with you a massive update to one of our most popular apps.

Ever since we launched the Roku app many years ago, we’ve struggled to find the right balance between embracing the platform and full-on Plex-style customization. One of the last holdouts was the actual media player itself. The Roku player is very capable, but using it meant we couldn’t offer things like live stream and quality switching, chapter selection, queue editing, or more informative on-screen displays. For god’s sake, we were unable to display a clock with the current time, or the time the current item would end at (the humanity!). In a nutshell, using the Roku player meant that we couldn’t bring our loyal users many of the things that matter most to you. So we’re thrilled to unveil our solution at long last: a fully custom, Plexy media player experience on the Roku.

This update comes with a lot of other fixes, updates, and tweaks. Some fancy subtitle handling, enhancements to remote control and flinging (media now loads faster than ever!), and much more. Feast your eyes on these sweet screens, and read over all the details below the fold.

Plex for Roku Movie Seek

Plex for Roku Movie Chapters

Plex for Roku Movie Play Queue

Plex for Roku Movie Settings

NEW

  • New video player – excludes Roku LT (2400, 2450) and Roku HD (2500)
  • Updated Video Overlay (OSD) – Now with 100% more awesome
  • View and change settings in player
  • View and select chapters in player
  • View, select and modify video queue in player
  • Skip videos using in player controls
  • Shuffle videos in player
  • Repeat one or all videos in player
  • Direct Stream/Transcode using Matroska streaming instead of HLS
  • Support to copy DTS, AC3 and EAC3 audio streams while transcoding video
  • Support to copy compatible HEVC/VP9 and 4k video while transcoding audio (Roku 4)
  • Transcoding incompatible subtitles (copy video instead of convert)
  • Select media versions within player (including channels)
  • Support to use Plex screensaver while video is paused
  • Include video stream in the video settings
  • Show stream selection count (availability) in video settings
  • Support audio, video, and subtitle stream selection via Plex Companion
  • Add tri-state subtitle preference – Burn Subtitles: [Always, Automatic [default], Only image formats]
  • Add “Online” quality preference (channels, watch later, Vevo, trailers, etc)
  • Support to search within channels
  • Support to handle remote keyboard entry (mobile Roku app)

FIXES

  • Flinging media when screen saver is active
  • Improve loading time exiting screensaver
  • Available player controls (in channel and Plex Companion)
  • Only show “Play Next” if a Play Queue exists
  • Avatar background on user selection screen
  • Subtitle sync while transcoding
  • Possible crash marking as watched
  • Playback with mono audio using PMS 0.9.14 or greater
  • Transcoding WL/R content if a transcode server is available
  • Improve multi-part playback support
  • Better handle 1080p60 playback
  • TV play queues weren’t advancing
  • No audio during playback if audio sample rate is low
  • Watch Later and Recommendations playback failed while connected to a shared server
  • Add support to Direct Play 5.1 AAC/AC3 when the Roku is set to stereo
  • Roku 4 supports downmixing 5.1 AAC audio
  • Roku TV supports downmixing 5.1 AAC and AC3 audio
  • Bump default quality preference (specific to Roku model)
    • 4Mbps local/online, 3Mbps remote: Roku LT, Roku HD, Roku Stick
    • 8Mbps local/online, 4Mbps remote: Roku 2 [HD, XD, XS], Roku 1, Roku 2, Roku SE
    • 12Mbps local/online, 4Mbps remote: Other Rokus
  • [music] Repeat in the audio player
  • [music] Button status color for shuffle/repeat
  • [music] Smooth the Now Playing progress bar animation a bit
  • [music] Show mini player when adding items to an empty queue
  • [music] Adding a single item to the Play Queue
  • [music] Anti-aliasing issue on now playing screen when toggling controls
  • [music] Progress time (better lyric sync)
  • [music] Playback of FLAC 192kHz files (transcode)
  • [music] Used timed lyrics first if available
  • [music] Do not direct play Apple Lossless (ALAC) audio (ALAC may cause a reboot)

Barkley loves the Roku. And the beach. Above all, the beach.

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