12
Feb
2013-02-12_12h12_06
Last Updated: September 17th, 2014

Can we be honest with ourselves? Plex kinda sucks. Hard to blame it, most third-party media centers on Android do at the moment. As a lengthy blog post by the developer points out, part of that has been due to Android's inflexibility and lack of a coherent UI in its history. That's changed over the last couple years and now Plex has been rebuilt from the ground up to be a lot more beautiful and a lot more functional.

The new version has followed the Android Design Guidelines very closely and it shows. While most of us here at Android Police are of the opinion that Holo alone does not make a good UI, the addition is most welcome, given the way the old version looks.

The new version has much of what you would expect from a media center app. The library includes cover art, movie descriptions, and a truckload of other metadata. Social integration is great. Not only can you share videos or music to places like Facebook, but Plex users can also share content directly with each other. If you're listening to a song, you can tap a couple of buttons and your friend will see a recommendation appear in their notification shade.

The blog post also mentions a surprise feature in the video embedded above. Well, spoilers: Plex is now a media server, too. If you have a movie, for example, on your tablet, you can stream it directly to your phone. While it's not immediately obvious if this would be an every-day use case, it is a nice option for media aficionados.

The new app will come out later this week. Initially it will only be available to PlexPass subscribers. The app will only work on Android 3.2 and up. Unfortunately, this will leave Gingerbread users out in the cold, but as we know, they're a shrinking majority. Oh, and why 3.2? Because of Google TV. Arguably one of the most important platforms that an app like Plex can support, so it's good they're not abandoning it.

Source: Plex

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • Mauro D’Amico

    Finally!

  • Scott

    I've never tried Plex on anything. Is it any good?

    • Jonathan Isenberg

      Yes, it's decent, as long as you have a computer that can do the overhead processing.

      I hope they fixed the low volume issue too...

      • GuidZilla

        On Plex for Roku, there are settings that allow you to boost audio a number of levels. Really cleared up issues for me as the Roku is where I use Plex the majority of the time. Not sure about other versions.

        • Donkey Hotay

          Roku works fantastically on Roku. I like that it allows me to start a program and continue watching it sequentially without having to start each episode. I can put something on while I'm working and not have to babysit my Roku. However, the PC Plex app still kinda sucks. It's a resource hog, and will eventually weigh your system down so much so that it pretty much renders it unusable for anything else while Plex is active. On the interface side, Plex requires you to conform to incredibly strict content-organization standards if you want your media to actually show up on your Roku, and worse still, even when you follow their guide to the letter it'll be a crap-shoot as to whether the program will end up arbitrarily splitting your programs into multiple folders or just decide not to display it at all. It's the best media streaming solution available for the Roku at the moment, but it's far from flawless.

    • Fatty Bunter

      It's fantastic. I use XBMC on my main HTPC, but if you want to stream to anywhere else (Roku, tablet, smartphone, etc.) Plex is far away your best option. It's extremely simple.

      • Elias

        For local playing, is it better than xbmc?
        Is its remote control app as good as xbmc?
        Does it use upnp to serve media?
        Last but not least, any idea if is there a raspberry pi version of it?

    • GuidZilla

      Been using from my win7 machine to my phone/tablet and tied to 3 Rokus(2 models) and it has been fantastic. The only thing that has bugged me is the godawful android app, this looks to be a ridiculously big upgrade.

    • Kie

      Been using Plex to stream avi/mkv/mp4 to the TV in my den through a 360

  • Paul

    Well, I got too used to XBMC and then for Android I use BubbleUPnP. I can stream photo's and videos from my phone straight to XBMC on my T.V using UPnP. I can use UPnP on multiple devices and send photos/videos straight to them as well (library+renderer+control). I also am able to watch youtube videos on my phone, share to "xbmc remote" and it pops up on xbmc on my t.v. I like Plex, I've used it, but I find I get more functionality my way. For streaming outside of the home network, I use BubbleUPnP server. I like the BubbleUPnP sends the video to a video player of your choice, like MXPlayer or BSPlayer, so there's almost never any codec/transcoding issues. Right now I have a combo of Plex + BubbleUPnP on my phone.

  • http://twitter.com/calebkester Caleb Kester

    I'm really glad they are keeping GoogleTV support. One of the best parts of GoogleTV

  • Paul_Werner

    Looks good but if it doesn't let you play all music tracks on shuffle then I'll skip the music part of this

  • http://www.facebook.com/amishcrusader Shane Capuano

    For Roku owners, the "media server" is a game changer, for the movies that Juice cannot transcode/play. I'll patiently wait for it to be available to the general public. Neat stuff. Hopefully this comes out before Miracast receivers become mainstream (which I will welcome just as readily).

  • mattdonders

    Just wanted to let you know that the "bro do you even holo?" tag had me cracking up at my desk, LOL.

    • thatlonedude

      I actually Google"bro do you even holo" and this is the first thing to pop up lol

  • spydie

    I've used Plex on my Mac for a long time... it streams to my Roku. I rip all my movie DVDs with Handbrake and store them on a hard drive plugged into my computer. all 2000 movies are available on all my TVs through my Rokus so I can go back and watch any old movie that I've watched before (I tend to forget them in a few years and they are always fun to watch again). Just watched Lonesome Dove AGAIN! LOL

  • DeadSOL

    It looks absolutely stunning! Thank you, awesome devs, for making a proper Android version! :)

  • SetiroN

    "#holoyolo"? -_-'

  • Jaymoon

    It seems like every couple of months I see something about Plex and it makes me want to try it again. But the Server software is just junk. This is not the place to vent about it, but using Solid Explorer and playing my Movies/TV shows via shared folders still is the easiest way for me.

  • Sajal

    Honestly, I have found that Plex sucks hightime. I was a longtime AirVideo user on iOS, but on android I tried few apps including plex, but till today found Qloud media is the best in the lot.

  • Google_is_the_Higgs_Boson

    Hope they do something with the GoogleTV version too!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Dave_BG Dave Bg

    It is good. I just installed it and works normally but does not play all videos.

  • Slighter

    Every time I sort of get over and accept my Photon's abandonment, something like this happens

  • http://www.facebook.com/djben75 Ben Wolfe

    I have never had any issues! I have a main PC (win8) with sick beard & couch potato set up to automatically download to specific folders I designate in drop box. I then have a dedicated (win8) PC as my Plex server. My non tech savvy wife has no problems watching all of her shows on the TV through the PS3, I watch (sometimes at the same time as she is watching (with no issues) on devices including any laptop or PC through plex web, my note2, and my daughters Archos tablet. I love it so much & it has been so great that I did something that I NEVER do and bought a lifetime plexpass!