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May 18, 2012

Plex Media Server v0.9.6.2 / Plex v0.9.5.3

Just a few short weeks after our last release, we have more goodness for you, in the form of new releases of the Plex Media Server, and the Plex desktop player. We’d like to get you releases more often, and make them easy for you to obtain, and to that end, we created a beta AppCast feed for the media server. When we release, depending on how stable we think the release is, we’ll either push it to the beta feed or the stable feed. This time around, the media server release is beta, because a lot has changed.

If you’re feeling brave, and like living on the bleeding edge, configure your media server to look for the beta feed. (Note that at worst you can just downgrade to an earlier version, we always have backwards and forwards compatibility for the library.) If you have a Roku, you’ll be especially interested in this release, as Schuyler worked some serious magic to fix the video artifacts people were observing on the Roku 2 devices.

The release builds are available in the usual place, and all of the new builds are available here (We’re still working through a Linux issue, so those builds will be out shortly.)

Let’s walk through the changes for the media server first:

  • NEW: Greatly enhanced media analysis. When I asked Max how to describe the changes, he said “it’s awesome”. He’s a man of few words, but I’ll try to explain a bit more. The media server analyzes your media for a few reasons: In order to extract a thumbnail, and to glean details about the exact format and codecs in the file. The latter is critical in order for players to determine what files they can consume without transcoding, which can be Direct Streamed (remuxed), and which need to be transcoded. The world of media is incredibly complicated. A simple MP4 file be optimized for streaming, or not; it can have 64-bit chunk offsets, or not; the H.264 inside it can be a myriad of different profiles, levels and have different features enabled. We now capture all of that information, and it will have many uses, not least in making the DLNA server component truly world-class. One thing you’ll notice is that when you scan in this version, the scan will take a lot longer the first time on an existing section, because the scanner is upgrading the analysis for all your files. Be patient, kick back, open a beer, and let it do its job!
  • NEW: The default on new installs is to empty trash automatically. This was confusing too many new users, and I think it was the wrong default, not to mention a confusing UX around learning how and why to empty the trash.
  • NEW: Support for non-DRM iTunes videos and iTunes U.
  • FIX: Improved segmented MPEGTS output (fixes Roku artifacts). And there was much rejoicing!!
  • FIX: TV shows didn’t load metadata properly if the episode had a date but no index (e.g. personal media).
  • FIX: Individual TV episodes can now have their content rating set by the agents.
  • FIX: A few random crashes observed in the wild.
  • FIX: (Linux) From scratch installs now work again (e.g. Synology).
  • FIX: Crash when transcoding (e.g. to LG MediaLink).
  • FIX: Status text while scanning didn’t show up in the OS X media manager.
  • FIX: Transcoder recognizes some MPEG2 files correctly now.
  • FIX: Return the HTTP body from plug-ins even when there’s a failure.
  • FIX: Audio transcoder wasn’t working for remote clients.
  • FIX: Regression in the transcoder leading to green/artifacts on iOS/ATV2.
  • FIX: Many fixes for SRT “burning” during transcode, including subtitles not showing up at all or only partially.
  • FIX: (Linux) Ensure we kill orphaned DLNA servers.
  • FIX: (Linux) DLNA server occasionally wasn’t able to start, unable to obtain IP.
  • FIX: Don’t identify MP4 chapter tracks as subtitles.
  • FIX: Durations in MP3 files should be analyzed much more accurately.

The Plex client has a number of fixes, and we’ll be paying it more attention in the coming months.

  • NEW: Developer ID-signed for Mountain Lion.
  • NEW: (OS X) Support for Crystal HD
  • NEW: Allow forcing transcoding on local networks (good for older clients).
  • FIX: Fix a crash when playing video over VNC.
  • FIX: Apple remote keymap was incorrect in Now Playing window.
  • FIX: (OS X) Many fixes for optical/HDMI audio output.
  • FIX: (OS X) Transcoding 5.1 AAC and DTS to AC3 works now.
  • FIX: When selecting multi-item videos, it always played the first item.
  • FIX: Occasional flicker when starting videos.
  • FIX: Respect the “noCache” attribute, fixes some channels not refreshing properly (e.g. Netflix).
  • FIX: (OS X) RTMP wasn’t enabled properly.
  • FIX: When playing some WebKit channels, it improperly transcoded, resulting in no audio.
  • FIX: Saved cookies were making some channels fail to play (e.g. YouTube).
  • FIX: Skinning issue that could make multiple thumbs appear for some content.
  • FIX: Only show watched state (and context menu items) for library content.
  • FIX: Changing display blanking settings required exiting and re-entering full screen to take effect.
  • FIX: Plex.ToggleDisplayBlanking keymap function restored.
  • FIX: Plex.RunScript and Plex.RunAppleScript work again (Mac OS only).
  • FIX: (OS X) Plex.RunScript handles files with the .scpt extension as well as .applescript.
Barkley has been spending lots of time in the water these days. It’s a nice way to start a long day of coding (and sometimes to end one as well).
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