Plex Releases Client for Non-Jailbroken Apple TVs

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Plex, the advanced server-client media player, has released a new client for the Apple TV -- however, unlike the existing ATV client, this one does not require the device to be jailbroken.

Plex allows users to store movie and TV show files on a server and then view those files on a wide variety of client devices including Macs, PCs, a number of smart televisions, the Roku box and the Apple TV. The server also connects to Internet databases to pull IMDB-type metadata on media.

Plexconnect
The client, called PlexConnect, uses a hack to get video from the Plex Media Server onto the Apple TV. A small Python program on the Mac intercepts DNS requests from the Movie Trailers app on the Apple TV and instead returns a custom XML feed that delivers a list of media and movie streams to the device.

From the Plex blog post announcing the program:

Enter PlexConnect. The brainchild of Baa, roidy and f00b4r, it’s a super clever little hack which allows a rich, fully-functional Plex client on un-jailbroken ATV2 and ATV3 (1080p!) devices. Essentially, you run a program on your computer which masquerades as the Trailer app. Next, change one setting on the ATV, and you’re up and running. It took me less than 2 minutes to install and get it running. It already uses the new transcoder (which means great support for subtitles), and I suspect it’ll support myPlex soon as well. In the PlexPass preview release of the media server, it also supports AC3 5.1 (remuxing and transcoding from DTS). Another cool thing: it supports iTunes DRM’ed video files.

Unlike the other Plex client for ATV2, this one uses XML and Javascript, which means it’s super easy to develop for. We can only hope that Apple opens up their App Store to these ATV “widgets” at some point. Another cool thing: it supports iTunes DRM’ed video files.

Currently, PlexConnect runs within a terminal window on the Mac, making it tricky for novice users to set up. The team is working on making it easier to install for future releases.

There is a PlexConnect wiki with installation guides and more information, and the Plex website has more information about the program as a whole.

Top Rated Comments

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97 months ago
One of my biggest wishes for WWDC is for iTunes/AppleTV to be able to play MKVs. I doubt that will happen, but I'll probably give this a try.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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97 months ago
Unfortunately, this pseudo-exploit will be patched in 3..2...1... Apple get their act together with whipping up some Apis for this thing.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
97 months ago

One of my biggest wishes for WWDC is for iTunes/AppleTV to be able to play MKVs. I doubt that will happen, but I'll probably give this a try.

You can easily whip up an MP4 from a MKV using the Subler app. No reencoding necessary when the MKV is H.264 (not sure if MKV supports other codecs). It is a matter of about a few minutes for an hour long TV show on my 3-year old MBP.

Still... annoying to have to do this...
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
97 months ago
I've been running this for a week now and it's awesome. The simplicity of having everything right on the Apple TV is great. I also prefer the ATV remote over my clumsy Logitech K400 keyboard.

Previously I was using Airplay from the Plex client on iPad. This eats up wifi bandwidth and we have multiple clients in the house. Plus it was clumsy like the k400 keyboard. Too big. Everything should be on the main screen with a simple remote. Meaning no Beamer.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
97 months ago
Eh? I've been using Subler in ML for aaaaaages, works perfectly.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
97 months ago

Much, MUCH easier to use Beamer. They have a free trial that you can check out.

I would say it's much easier not to have a computer sitting on your lap and using the Finder to find the movie you want to watch. IMHO
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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