Wow, what a year it’s been for us.
Between new core features (multiuser, now playing, companion remote, media index files, Cloud Sync), tons of performance and stability enhancements, new platforms (Drobo 5N, FreeBSD, various other NAS devices) and apps (Chromecast, Windows Phone 8, new Android app, new Google TV app, Plex Home Theater), we’ve been incredibly busy in 2013! (It’s also been an incredible year for the thriving third party Plex ecosystem, with the introduction of RasPlex for the Raspberry Pi, and PlexConnect for Apple TVs).
There’s been one last big thing we wanted to bring to you this year, and we’ve just finished rolling it out. If you look under your Christmas tree, you’ll see a brand new Plex website, which we’ve been working incredibly hard on for the last couple months. But it’s much more than a (badly needed) redesign; it’s a joining together of four separate pieces of Plex into a unified whole.
Before today, we had four completely separate web areas: the actual website, the place where you managed your account and servers (myPlex), the place where you went for Plex Pass downloads, and the place you went to organize and play your media (Plex/Web). This seemed like three places too many.
Now there’s just one place for Plex online: https://plex.tv (oh, yeah, we even got a shorter domain name because we figured typing four less letters would help prevent global warming). Let’s go over some highlights of the new unified experience.
First and foremost, we’ve done a ton of work to better explain what Plex is. Our hope is that a new visitor to our website can quickly understand how Plex can help them, and even people who have been using Plex for a while can get a great overview of features and supported platforms.
Secondly, we’ve integrated account management into the main site, so you can create an account or sign in right on the site. This also means that we can show Plex Pass downloads right on the same downloads page if you’re signed in.
The last part of course is the web app, and there are lots of good reasons to have it live alongside the website. We can share authentication with the main site, making it easier to launch it, and it makes things faster for people accessing servers remotely. We’ve been working behind the scenes on a brand new version of the web app, which is faster and prettier, and that’s the version we’re now hosting at https://plex.tv/web.
We’ve also worked on the first run experience. If you create an account and then download the server, there’s no need to sign in three times (to the site, to the web app, and in the media server). Last, but not least, we’ve improved the reliability of finding the media server on a local network. If you’re signed into Plex, it should Just Work, better than ever before. (We’ve noticed some issues with Firefox, which we’re fixing.)
On the support side, we’ve opened up an extensive help center to replace the aging (and occasionally decrepit) wiki. Our Ninjas have been working overtime to populate the help center with helpful and clearly-written content, and will continue to pull over anything needed from the old wiki.
In summary, this is probably the biggest step forward in usability and user experience that we’ve taken in six years. We’ve looked at every single aspect, from branding, to terminology, to naming, to color palette. We’re incredibly excited about the changes.
Since we’re also human, we couldn’t quite get everything done on time, and we’ll be continuing to update things (e.g. blog skin, forum skin, support skin). We also will be working on updating branding and terminology (e.g. no more “myPlex”) across all our apps. If you have feedback or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you!
We hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday season, spent lots of quality time with loved ones, and we’ll be back in the new year with lots more exciting new stuff from the Plex universe.