Archives for category: plexmediaserver

Honestly, it’s been a little bit since researching and trying new HTPC software has pulled me in, and recently I’ve been shown

just how wrong it was….

In previous posts, I talked about how the dream setup was to have a lightweight Plex client installed on the RasPi, so that it would just be a matter of the well-established Plex server serving content to any number of RasPis automatically.

Recent work, however, has blown this entirely out of the water!

In what seems like the blink of an eye, RasPlex has sprung up, bringing a complete port of the new codebase of Plex/HT to the RasPI version of OpenELEC.

Seriously; the entire (Next generation) Plex desktop  client is now on the Raspberry.

Even the site is flash, yet looks like it works with it’s hands – very nice.

Initial impressions: Fantastic.

One caveat: The FAQ warning at the bottom of this page mentions having to ‘warm up’ the cache in order to have a responsive UI, but it’s not a well-known fact, and the first boot of RasPlex had me thinking that my Raspberry was slacking – 3-4 second response times to the plex remote, taking over 7 seconds to start a video, grinding to a halt when AirPlay was tested…

With with size of our Plex library, it was still caching 30 minutes later, and was still fairly sluggish before getting up to this speed a while later (left it on all night).

TADA! Raspberry Pi and Plex; together in the future at last!

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With the NZB scene in flux, it’s more and more complicated to sort out the details in order to have a smooth and automatic experience (aka; our favourite). Plex is also making rapid progress, and there has been some very promising work with using the RasPi as a Plex client.

With everything where it is, it’s time to start

Everyone has been pulling in their votes, and there have been some excellent insights to go along with it; now we get to act.

There are 3 hosting services that are excellent possibilities, and in order to dive in for real testing I need to know if you’re serious about this;

If 15 people sign up by sending at least $20 via PayPal to linkingparents@gmail.com, then these people will be the core, ready to try out all the crazy ideas we come up with before settling on the ideals that work for everyone.

Obviously the ongoing costs are monthly (where it gets sustainable looks to be about $20/mo), and if you send the minimum of $20, I’ll personally make sure you get at least 2 months out of it (lots of time for testing and the start of the new tv season).

If we’re successful, then by the end there will be a continually updated guide (or wiki) about how to roll your own seedbox media system, and step into the freedom from bandwidth issues, ISP notices, home-server resources, and the other annoying time-sinks.

And, of course, with Plex on the raspberry, we’re getting closer and closer to a solution that just means a seedbox and a RasPi plugged in to any tv that doesn’t already support Plex.

In case you skimmed;

if 15 people to send at least $20 each to linkingparents@gmail.com , we’ll set up a seedbox-based media server. If we don’t meet that number by January 21st, I’ll refund and focus on something else.

I’ve created a new page on Pseudo Parental Control with Plex.

This is currently a high-level overview of how we handle parental control with 4 kids, the Raspberry, a couple computers, iOS devices, and a Roku.

Android 4.0 is coming!

Sounds like a whole other angle of promise for turning the raspberry in to a “Connect it to every TV in the house” unit; The youtube videos are promising with youtube HD playback, a silky interaction with the UI, and mouse support.

Paired with Plex, and the Android Plex app, it sounds like a win-win.

I’m curious as well; what would the remote situation look like? I doubt there’s “Android Plex app remote” for iPhone… Maybe it registers as a myplex player; that would be spectacular. 🙂

Thanks to

hippojay

We now have PleXBMC V2

Post: http://forums.plexapp.com/…/page__view__findpost__p__276659

Download: https://github.com/…/plugin.video.plexbmc-V2.zip

Features added:

  • myplex integration (this is the only way to connect to remote servers)
  • Fixes for TV section library refresh
  • Fixed for Plugins (I’ve tested a fair few and they seem to work)
  • Some fixes for non-refreshing artwork – however not 100% sure I have this one down (as XBMC waits 24 hours between checks)

Preliminary testing also shows that for analog RasPis, PleXBMC will transcode audio properly: voices are intact, the quiet parts are not too quiet, and the loud parts are not too loud on a 5.1 TV show.

Now is the perfect time to kick start a project to get a very simple Plex client on Linux on the Raspberry Pi.

Similar functionality to the iOS app, and likely based on the work done by the OpenELEC team.

Unfortunately, I am not the person to do it: even the hour or so every few days to work on my own setup is scraping focus from other projects. I know that there are some great people and great teams out here that could find their voice through a project like this, so I’m happy to release it in to the wild. 🙂

Here’s Why:

The release of the Raspberry

  • We’re now passing the 75,000 unit mark.
  • Another shipment of 100,000 is already in the works and set for fall delivery.
  • No signs of slowing down.
  • More similar boards getting in to the game.

x264 Scene releases

  • The groups that allow us to device-shift content we already have recorded chose on Feb 20,2012 to change the encoding from Mpeg4 to x264 on all shows being released.
  • This cuts out a bunch of older device support, and pulls many people towards a new device (Devices left in the dust: Wii, Original Xbox, VCD players, lower-powered computers, and more I’m not thinking of).

Crowdfunding options (See: KickStarter)

  • RasPi has a huge mindshare, not least of which is because of the video showing it running XBMC way back when.
  • Media centres are common, but finding the right client for Plex has been tricky; there’s no Plex box, and as far as I am aware, there is no Plex client on any device that has an RCA video connection in addition to HDMI.
  • I have seen numerous posts about people being willing to pay for something that works.
  • IMO; Plex has the right idea from a user interface and interaction standpoint; MyPlex is awesome, streaming to all devices with synchronized play counts and transcoding when needed? Yes please.

Outsourcing Options

  • It’s easier than ever to hire great developers, there is even an option of having some of the stars of the forums on the payroll through something like odesk.com.
  • Once the UI is pared right down, the basics of the Plex Client make it an attainable short-term goal.

There’s even some money to be made

Sell Pre-loaded SD Cards

There has always been a market for people who take technically complicated solutions and package them in a simple way; selling an accessory kit with two options: “SD” (3x RCA output) or “HDTV” (HDMI), a preloaded (and approved) SD card with automatic updates, and a decent remote.

Even sell just the accessory kits: Partner with a drop-shipper so the only stock to be maintained are blank SD cards, and even that can be outsourced since it’s just a matter of imaging the card, testing it, and putting it in an envelope.

So, what could this look like?

Visually, I think the Plex team has done some amazing work, with a lot of thought behind everything, so I would definitely suggest teaming with them or at least getting their consent to shamelessly rip off the iOS version‘s design.

For functionality, these are some suggestions for starting points:

  • MyPlex Support (find servers and shows the device as a media player so that the plex iphone/ipad app can be used as a remote)
  • Animations to a minimum (700Mhz ARM after all)
  • Intelligence regarding SD card size (<2GB: disable caching by default, 8GB+; cache as much as possible in RAM-friendly formats, etc)
  • PMS needs to transcode audio from some HD files while leaving the video intact (DTS decoding chokes the CPU when it’s not doing passthrough)
  • Free download installer (a la OpenElec or Raspbmc)
  • On-device updates for Plex, and the RasPi kernel
  • And, maybe; access to overclocking profiles from within the advanced settings (changes the config.txt file with a warning of what happens when it’s flaky, as well as how to change it back if the device fails to boot)

Imagine your name in lights, and TVs around the world literally glowing with the work that you contributed to!

Since this is post #1, I’m going to say a few things so you don’t have to hear them later, and for us to set the goals.

Thanks

Thank you to everyone involved in this entire process: all the way from the people who created XBMC years ago, everyone who still commits code to any of the branches and forks, the designers builders and pushers of RasPi, the stars of the forums, and the online communities that they are a part of, the countless people who work unofficially behind the scenes; metadata miners, admin staff, open source software producers of all kinds… The list is really endless, and I won’t pretend to think that I could voice the respect and gratitude that is due to everyone involved.

A special shout out to people who take action in order to make their visions come true; you are inspiring in every moment.

First of all

…this entire blog is entirely as a work station to work towards my ultimate goals; I’m making it public just in case other people find it useful – I’m very open to being told I’m wrong (if you can back it up), or to new avenues of thought that I had not considered.
If some part of you simply wants to be more right than me; use that to fuel your own search, and don’t put any unnecessary energy in to letting me know.

Where we’re going

A Raspberry Pi that sits comfortably connected to the TV, with no extra storage of it’s own, getting all it’s information from another computer on the network.

The ability to watch “TV Channels” (Not live TV, but from the amazing work done by PseudoTV)

The ability to use a physical remote, as well as iPhones, iPads, and any other compatible device

Kid-friendly: All PG13+ material locked away

Repeatable; Anyone should be able to do this by following step by step instructions, and adding additional Raspberry Pis (Raspberries?) should be as easy as getting the parts and plugging them in.

What we have so far

  • CANADA
  • Mini-ITX server with Ubuntu (currently 12.04 headless)
    • Sickbeard on port 8081
    • SABnzb+ on port 8080
    • a VIP subscription to NZBMatrix
    • Software setup with the help of daemox at ainer.net
    • Plex media server, connected to the automated system and serving every other device in the house
    • 4TB of storage (more storage is always a consideration)
  • Raspberry Pi
    • A KICKASS Minecraft style case made out of Lego (Thank you, Seth 🙂 )
    • Class 10, 8GB SD Card (last tested using “hdparm -tT /dev/mmcblk0” at  40.26 MB/sec reads, and 16.36 MB/sec writes)
    • Small, flexible, wired keyboard
    • Logitech travel mouse
  • an Analog TV with (count em!) 2 RCA Inputs
  • an iPhone 4
  • an iPhone 3GS
  • an iPad generation 1
  • a Macbook Pro
  • an old Mac Mini (G4)

Current Opportunities

Right now, the raspberry feels very sluggish. Based on youtube videos of other people running OpenELEC, my performance is similar, but definitely slower.

No physical remote; using the XBMC remote on the iPhone has a nice tactile feel that’s missing in most other remote apps, but it’s still not very happy with the setup. Also, while apps are cheap, handing an iOS device to a 5 year old and doing something else for an hour is not ideal.

Media Scraping is brutal: Using SMB to point OpenELEC to the same folders that Plex uses has a habit of breaking pretty consistently: thumbnail issues, metadata not properly grabbed when the unit crashes as I test different videos never seems to recover, many episodes are missing and don’t re-scrape, etc.

I’m entirely open to the idea that I’m not being patient enough with the scraping, but I have left it overnight on a few occasions.

PLEX: While I’m over-happy the the state of Plex media server, the metadata, how the iOS devices work, and everything else, there’s very minimal work being put towards an open-source linux solution, which means the best we can do right now is PleXBMC.
While the work done on PleXBMC is to be entirely respected, there’s a lot lost in translation: Any remote app does not show the Plex media since Plex media is not pulled in to the library, and it feels very much like XBMC is getting in the way every time I interact with it

I fully expect no one to be reading this in any sort of time frame, so I’m cutting the salutation – go read a post already! 🙂