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December 23, 2012

Mele Kalikimaka!

It is the season for giving, and I just want to start by saying how much we appreciate all those who have become PlexPass members. Thank you so much. You literally keep the lights on, and keep us and our families (and dogs) fed. We’re excited and energized to head into 2013 with some huge plans (Could this btobiae the year we bring Trailers back? Bet on it!)

Before the year ends, though, we have a little present for you PlexPassians. A token of our appreciation, if you will. We’ve been working hard to bring it to you, because you’ve been asking for it for quite some time…

That’s right, we have a massive update for our desktop Plex app! It used to be Plex Media Center, but because of the sheer number of people who confused it for Plex Media Server (no, really), we’re rebranding it Plex Home Theater.

So what’s new? Well, we’ve re-synced to upstream XBMC code, to their “frodo” pre-release. But more than that, we’ve completely redone our integration so as to make future updates much, much easier. Our internal codename for the project was Fordo (because, let’s face it, a giant mountain with an impenetrable fortress inside sounds slightly more bad-ass than a little guy with hairy feet).

This brings us up to date with all the latest, which should finally resolve a number of long-standing issues, including A/V sync on SD files, high CPU usage when idle, and adds lots of cool stuff including:

  • HD audio support, via the new AudioEngine code, on operating systems which support it.
  • 10bit H.264 video
  • Airplay support
  • Much improved rendering efficiency (“dirty regions”)
  • Many bug fixes to home screen, server detection

In typical Plex fashion, we’ve also disabled/removed a bunch of stuff too, in order to make it as lean and fast as possible. It’s not a toaster, microwave, or PVR. Our only interest is making it work as well as humanly possible with our media server.


I also want to point out in BIG CAPITAL LETTERS, that this is a PlexPass preview. It’s definitely pre-release quality. Frodo (the upstream code) hasn’t shipped yet. It’ll crash, and hang, and possibly even overwater your house plants. We’ll be updating it frequently, and when it’s ready to come out of the oven, we’ll release it for everyone.

So, a few important links: You can download the OS X and Windows releases here (yes, you need a PlexPass for this). You can help us figure out what needs fixing in the new release in this new forum (please read the “known issues” sticky). You can build from source yourself and pitch in (it’s so easy now!). (One nice little easter egg: the context menu now works on the home screen to mark an item as watched.)

Most importantly, though – please have yourself a meaningful and happy holiday season. Spend some time with people you love. Pet your children. Hug your dogs and cats. Time with family and friends is more important than presents or material items.

Namaste, and we’ll see you next year!

This release is brought to you by Gordon, our favorite Swedish Plex dog. Gordon’s dad Tobias led the Plex strike force who is behind this new release. Gordon is stoic (obviously), loves the snow, and enjoying curling up in front of a good movie. Barkley’s brother from another, roughly.

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