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It’s been far too long, in our opinion, since the last release of Plex for Android. Despite all appearances to the contrary, we’ve not been idling. In addition to being at GoogleIO and demoing on the new Vizio Google TV, we’ve been deep in the bowels of the labs at Plex working on some new features. Without further ado – here they are:
A number of people have asked for this in the past. It’s great that you can hook up your tablet to your TV, but what a pain to have to get up out of your couch to control video playback. Now every Plex for Android device supports remote control from any of our mobile clients. Likewise, you can also choose to navigate on your mobile device and simply play the media on your Android.
Experimental QuickSilver Transcoding
We’re proud to introduce support for the new QuickSilver Transcoder, present in the latest beta of the Plex Media Server. While this is a general transcode mechanism that you’re likely to hear more about in the future, this initial release is tuned especially for Kindle Fire users. This has been a long time coming, and there have been a number of hurdles we’ve had to overcome. It’s still quite early for this technology, but we think Kindle Fire users will notice significantly improved video quality when this feature is turned on.
This feature is not on by default (yet). If you want to try it, you’ll need to go into Advanced Settings and switch the ‘Transcode’ setting to use Quicksilver. Also note that you’ll need to be on a more recent version of the Plex Media Server (0.9.6.3 or higher) – your Android client will tell you if you need to upgrade. If you’re on a Kindle Fire, give it a try and please let us know how it works for you!
One thing you’ll notice if you switch to Quicksilver is that Video Quality on the Settings page will change a bit. When talking about QuickSilver we talk in screen resolutions, rather than bit rates. Feel free to play with these… but don’t be surprised if “Full HQ” doesn’t yet work. Please back down to what works for you.
Please note that QuickSilver is still highly experimental. If you’re bold and want to be known for living on the edge, feel free to give QuickSilver a try! If it works well for you please contact us and let us know what device, model and settings you’re using so we can share with other Plexians! If it doesn’t work, please switch back to your normal settings – we’re not yet ready to debug field issues with this feature.
Here is a more complete list of fixes and changes in this release:
- NEW: Experimental Transcode method (Quicksilver).
- NEW: Android devices can receive remote control commands and publish themselves as players. Can be turned on/off. On by default.
- NEW: Network logging for troubleshooting. Down with the logcat! If you’re helping us troubleshoot you may opt into Network Logging from Advanced Settings to turn on Plex Client and PMS logging for 10 minute intervals.
- NEW: Media Info displayed at top of screen when playback controls are visible.
- FIX: an issue where sometimes Plex would get stuck on ‘Loading’ the Home Screen.
- FIX: playback issues on some ICS devices (e.g. HTC One).
- FIX: an issue where hints in myPlex dialogs/fields were not appearing so it wasn’t clear what went into each field.
- FIX: weird seekbar behavior where it would temporarily skip around before seeking was complete.
- UPDATE: Added a number of devices to the “Device Supports HLS” list.
Of course there’s many other little bugfixes. Please let us know via the Plex for Android Forums how it works for you!
As always we’d like to extend a special thank you to the Plex for Android Alpha Test Team for helping us vet innumerable internal releases! You are the unspoken but NEVER under-appreciated heroes of every release! Thanks gang!
As a last little bit of fun – maybe you can help tell me where in the world I am here?
Follow me here at darrin.plexapp.com or on Twitter for mostly Android and Google TV updates. To keep informed on all the latest Plex news follow us on Twitter or Facebook or tune in to our blog elan.plexapp.com for a wide array of Plex information.31 comments
Yes – it’s been a while since we’ve talked. We wanted to give you a quick update to let you know we still love you! :)
While we’ve been quiet lately, we HAVE been busily working on updating Plex for Android. There have been a number of the changes deep in the bowels of the system, so we’ve had a longer test cycle than usual. We apologize for the delay… some of these fixes have been a LONG time in coming. Still, we think you’re going to be pleased with this release.
The thing you’ll notice first when spinning up this release is that it’s quite a bit snappier. Navigation, page loads, image loading and scrolling should all be noticeably faster. Beyond that, this release fixes many issues large and small that our community reported and has been patiently waiting for.
One thing you may not notice that I’ll tip you off about is that you can now long press just about any media item, just about anywhere, to bring up details if it has them – which is particularly useful if you’re launching stuff from the home page. Some may not care but as for me – well – I think it’s cool if only for the little thrill I get with every buzz of haptic feedback that comes with the long-press.
Here’s the high level list, though there are many more fixes in here:
- IMPROVED performance of navigation and image loading.
- IMPROVED media selection logic – more channels play and quality better matches settings.
- NEW long press on a media item takes you to details if they’re available so you no longer have to aim at the little ‘i’. It’s a small thing we know.
- NEW configurable logging levels – the default is that Plex will now only display errors in the logs.
- NEW ability to control your remote media players in addition to those on your local network (helps when your phone isn’t on your local wifi for example).
- FIX lights out / low profile during media playback in ICS.
- FIX some cases where subtitles weren’t being picked up and displayed.
- FIX in Plex search capabilities.
- FIX numerous connection related problems.
- FIX memory leaks especially related to images.
- FIX an issue where quality settings above 8Mbps were ignored.
- FIX a problem where some channels (Flash and Silverlight video) were always playing at the lowest quality.
- FIX for many, many other field and forums reported issues.
The proof is in the pudding. Give it a try and let us know what you think!
We’d like to extend a special thank you to the Plex for Android Alpha Test Team – nice job gang!
Follow me here at darrin.plexapp.com or on Twitter for mostly Android and Google TV updates. To keep informed on all the latest Plex news follow us on Twitter or Facebook or tune in to our blog elan.plexapp.com for a wide array of Plex information.7 comments