Plex Media Center Desktop App Is Now Plex Home Theater - What's New?

By Alexandra Burlacu email: | Dec 26, 2012 05:03 PM EST

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Media center desktop app Plex is getting big refresh: a new code base, AirPlay and other new features, and a new name: Plex Home Theater.

Plex announced the changes to its Mac and PC application along with a preview release to give customers an early look into the new offering. From now on, the app will be called Plex Home Theater, in a bid to avoid confusion with its media server application. The refresh also brings a number of bug fixes and updates, as well as AirpLay support to allow users to stream wirelessly to the app.

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"That's right, we have a massive update for our desktop Plex app! It used to be Plex Media Center, but because of the sheer number of people who confused it for Plex Media Server (no, really), we're rebranding it Plex Home Theater," the company explained in a recent blog post.

What's New?

The new update brings re-syncing to upstream XBMC code, as it is based on the newest code from the open source XBMC project, code-named Fordo. Plex Home Theater now supports AirPlay, HD audio and 10bit H.264 video. Moreover, the XBMC integration has reportedly been improved in order to facilitate future updates. The update also brings improved render efficiency ("dirty regions"), as well as several bug fixes to home screen and server detection. As an added bonus, the context menu will now work on the home screen to mark an item as "watched."

Initially, the new version will only be available to paying PlexPass subscribers, and Plex developer Elan Feingold highlighted that this new offering is still in its experimental stages:

"I also want to point out in BIG CAPITAL LETTERS that this is a PlexPass preview. It's definitely pre-release quality. Fordo hasn't shipped yet. It'll crash, and hang, and possibly even overwater your house plants. We'll be updating it frequently, and when it's ready to come out of the oven, we'll release it for everyone."

Meanwhile, the name change also appears to indicate a bigger shift for Plex. While the app used to simply allow people to connect their PCs to their TV screens, in the last couple of years Plex has added numerous clients for devices like Google TV, Roku, Smart TVs from LG and Samsung, as well as apps for iOS and Android.

The app's evolution has made connecting one's PC to one's TV more of a choice than a necessity, and Plex aims to stay on top of its users' necessities.

Paying PlexPass subscribers can grab the OS X and Windows releases here, and can inform Plex of what needs fixing in the new release in the new forum.

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