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November 19, 2012

Announcing the new PlexPass feature…

Fall is in the air, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, at least in the United States. The leaves are turning, and the first snow has already fallen in some parts of the country. I’m personally looking forward to the smell of warm pies baking, turkeys roasting, garlic-infused mashed potatoes with altogether too much butter, and of course spending time with family.

Thanksgiving implies travel for many people. Crowded airports, long drives, lots of time in lines, or pretending to fall asleep next to talkative strangers on planes. In other words, the perfect time for using Plex.

Unfortunately, wireless broadband is far from ubiquitous, and even when it’s available, it’s usually expensive, mostly slow, and sometimes even metered. This sucks, and it sucks even worse if you’re trying to stream high definition video.

Today, we’re doing something about that.

(We’ve actually been working especially hard this last month to finish it up in time for Thanksgiving!)

Ladies and gentlemen, we are incredibly proud to be to introduce PlexSync to you. It’s available today for iOS, and will be available for Android in the next couple of weeks.

Syncing media to the device is probably the most highly requested features since we launched the mobile apps, and rightly so. Using PlexSync, you can flag content from your library (or from certain channels) for download. Once you’ve done that, your server will convert the content you selected to a compatible format, and the mobile client will download the content to your device so you can view it when you’re offline.

PlexSync is a premium feature. It is currently in beta, and as such we’re making it available free of charge to our PlexPass members during the beta period. We’ll collect feedback, fix all the bugs, and make sure it works amazingly well. Let’s explore some key features of PlexSync:

  • PlexSync is universal: It doesn’t matter whether you want to sync content from your library or from a channel – PlexSync can handle it all. Personally, I can’t live without my Vimeo Staff Picks, best videos on the Internet, so let’s grab a few to watch. See that little download button in the upper right? Tap it like it’s hot.

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  • PlexSync is rich: When you’re offline, you get almost exactly the same experience as if you were online. All your metadata is visible, along with posters, background art and theme music, and you can filter your content just as if you were browsing live content from your server. How awesome is that? Here I am in offline mode, can you taste the richness?
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  • PlexSync is flexible: You decide exactly what you want to sync. PlexSync can sync everything, limit based on duration, or number of items, or filter out episodes you’ve already watched – you name it. Here I am syncing 3 Pixar Movies, because, honestly, nothing keeps my (imaginary) kids quiet for hours like watching a lamp bounce around on a squeaky ball over and over again.
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  • PlexSync is smart: Your server will automatically convert more content for your device as you watch videos you’ve already synced. And your watched state & view offsets are synced back to your server the next time you connect. The sync details are stored in the cloud, so they can be edited even if your server is offline. Here I’m watching the media conversion take place on the server. My server is converting the file at 7.2x realtime, since it has more CPUs than Angelina Jolie has adopted children.
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  • PlexSync is considerate: Your server won’t use precious CPU cycles to convert your content if you’re already converting something for watching live. Additionally, you can instruct the app to only display synced content when you’re not on a Wi-Fi network, ensuring Plex doesn’t gobble up your cellular data allowance. Check out this sexy new connectivity setting:
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  • PlexSync works great with subtitles: We support SRT, SMI, SSA, and – happy days! – PGS and VOBSUB too.
  • PlexSync is developer friendly: There is an API, and we expect that people will do cool and creative things with it. There is a flexible profile-based system (similar to the DLNA profiles) which configures how the media conversion is done.

We are very happy to share PlexSync with you today, and along with it all the other great features of Plex 3.0 for iOS. Barkley is happy too, but his contract currently only provides for using his likeness in media server release posts.

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Announcing the new PlexPass feature… is a premium feature and requires a Plex Pass subscription.

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