If you’re a blog-reading Plex user (and we have a feeling you are 👋), there’s a pretty good chance you care a lot about personalizing your media collection. Maybe you’ve searched tirelessly for minimalist hipster posters for each of your Star Wars movies or painstakingly created music playlists for each of your many moods. Plex has always given you the ability to customize your library, but today we’re rolling out an update for iOS and Android that gives you even more control over your overall experience.
The philosophy behind this redesign focuses on a reimagining of the way the Plex apps are structured. It elevates some important decisions (“what do I want to watch or listen to?”) and deemphasizes some less important ones (“where is it coming from?”). There are three core aspects to the redesign:
Customizable Home Screen: You now have complete control over the home screen of the app: you can reorder (or remove) any of the sections (like “Recently Added” or “On Deck”) or add new ones from anywhere else in the app, even across different servers (mix and match!).
Easier Top-level Navigation: We’ve added tabs at the bottom of the screen to quickly navigate between media types (Movies, TV, etc.), and those are fully customizable as well. Do you always watch movies on your tablet and listen to music on your phone? Arrange the tabs accordingly. Don’t care at all about photos in Plex? First of all, you’re a monster, but hey, now you can turn ’em off and focus on the media you prefer.
Effortlessly Cross Server Boundaries: The default source for each of the media types can be customized as well. Have content split across multiple servers? Rely on your friend’s hipster music? Or maybe you’re a huge fan of podcasts, but don’t have a — wait what? Oh yeah… that brings me to our next big announcement…
So, you’ve been curating your own little Marvel Cinematic Universe and decking your Breaking Bad collection with care. You’ve got the soundtracks, the artwork, and the extras to match. You know what you need? 150 hours of Vince Gilligan creator-splaining Walter White’s motivation. This is where podcasts really shine. No rules, just words.
Here at Plex we like to use every part of the media and hate it when good content goes to waste. That’s why we’re adding support for the incredibly rich and diverse body of content that is Podcasts. We love the scrappy, two-people-and-a-mic nature of this ecosystem. It’s egalitarian, fanatical, and sometimes just a little bit rough-around-the-edges, but we think it’s a perfect complement to the rest of your Plex diet.
Podcasts are also a great fit for the media platform we’ve built here at Plex, which is probably why people have asked us to add them for years. Features like On Deck, synced view state, rich metadata, and our incredibly diverse range of platforms means that you can enjoy podcasts like never before.
We’re excited to be launching Podcasts in beta inside Plex today on iOS, Android, Roku, and Plex Web, (more to come, of course!) and we’d like to highlight a few of the features available. Best of all, podcasts are free for all users and don’t even require a Plex Media Server to be set up.
Rich Search and Discovery: It’s easy to search for a specific podcast if you know what you’re looking for, or browse by genre, or see what’s popular. Once you start listening and building your library, our machine learning team has built a sophisticated system which delivers personalized recommendations for new podcasts.
Personal Podcasts: Once you’ve found podcasts you enjoy (and we’re sure you will!) you can add them to ‘My Podcasts’ and your home screen. Once there, they’ll act much like a show in your personal TV libraries, with features like On Deck to make podcast bingeing just as easy as that little addiction to Ice Road Truckers you have, Ben.
Enhanced Player: In order to give you the best possible listening experience, we’ve upgraded the players inside our mobile apps and the web app to allow for variable speed playback, as well as quickly skipping backwards or forwards.
It’s especially nice to use podcasts inside Plex with our newly customizable home screen. In the car, clearly you should be keeping your eyes on the road, so you can build a home screen with Recently Added music, On Deck for podcasts, and whatever other audio content you feel like!
We’re launching in beta so you can start playing (literally!) with Podcasts inside Plex, but we have more great features coming soon, including OPML importing, and offline podcast support for our mobile apps. You can find out more about Podcasts in Plex on our support site.
Podcasts are rolling out slowly to all supported platforms. Should be available by midday EDT to everyone.
You would think Barkley’s favorite podcast would be canine-oriented, but he actually loves listening to the mellifluous tones of Terry Gross. It lulls him to sleep within minutes…