Big Week for Plex: Local Media Agent, New Releases, Sony Google TV
The folks behind Plex have been busy this last week. First up was the release of a new Local Media Agent to make it easier to add custom posters and background art to the TV library. I tend to be picky about my metadata, especially the images I use, and few things drive me crazier than software that overrides my choice of artwork or refuses to allow me to specify my own artwork when none is available online, so this will be a welcome addition.
TheTVDB might not have a show, or maybe you want to create a completely custom section to organize your home videos into seasons and episodes. We just pushed a new Local Media Agent (which you’ll automatically get in the next few hours), that makes it really easy!
Of course, that was just the beginning of the new releases as Plex Media Server and the Plex desktop client both got updates as well. There are a ton of bug fixes for both, particularly for the Mac OS X versions, as well as several new features. Plex Media Server undoubtedly got the most exciting new features with the addition of a new media analysis scanner that should result in better transcoding later and the feature I am most looking forward to trying out: support for non-DRM iTUnes video and iTUnes U. I still like to download my video podcasts, but have had little luck finding a 10 foot UI-friendly way of displaying those podcasts with the embedded metadata.
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.
Finally, the last bit of Plex news comes not from Elan and his team, but rather, courtesy of Sony. Sony has let slip that they will be shipping their forthcoming Google TV devices with the Plex app pre-installed. With Plex pre-installed, Sony’s Google will be better prepared out of the box to handle local media and offer another outlet for accessing online streaming content. Sony’s device will receive a customized version of Plex and there’s no word yet on how it differs.
Sony hearts Plex: The CE maker will deliver its next generation of Google TV devices, scheduled to be released in the U.S. and beyond this summer, with the Plex app pre-installed to give users simple access to local media and add cloud media sharing to the Google TV platform.