Media Centers on the Mac have been pretty hit or miss so far. We’ve been playing with a few of them, along with Front Row and nothing has been really "sticky". One we’re a huge fan of is open source Plex. It has been improving incrementally for the past year since it branched off from XBMC and basically does everything Apple’s Front Row does, but better. You can use an Apple remote or there’s built-in support for Harmony remotes. Plus it does a bunch of other interesting stuff like play 1080P movies in formats other than MP4 and MOV, streams weather information to your media center Mac, and it is skinnable.
Over the weekend we hit the 0.7.8 Beta version and ..erm.. Boom! They now have an App store! These apps bring together a lot of what you’d want in a media center. Obviously, you want to pick up Hulu, CNN, CBS Sports, Youtube, FFFound..the list goes on and on. They currently have 20 apps but expect us to "be amazed by some of the ones we’re working on behind the scenes." The good news doesn’t stop there. This is an open market so developers can create their own apps – just like the iPhone App Store. They are being open to other app repositories as well. It has really turned into a platform within a platform.
This is it. Download it now.
Like Bill Joy (below) said about Google, this is an application in this space that has that certain thing needed to be successful. It actually really works. It can replace your TV tuner and your optical disc collection. Give it a try (download link). Tell us what you think. Videos and blog clipping below:
I’d like to introduce you to the new Plex Media Server:
- There is no support for authentication yet, so certain content or features which require being logged in are not available (e.g. Hulu videos that require you being logged in).
- You need to make sure you have the Flash plug-in installed for Safari, and you must make sure you don’t have any plug-ins like Safari Adblock installed (possibly Pith helmet as well).
- You may want to increase your cache settings, as plug-ins like Apple Movie Trailers, TED Talks, and other, stream video in high quality HD video.
- We have added quite a few new skin features and fixed some bugs in MediaStream, so your mileage in any other skin WILL vary greatly.
- If a Flash video is unavailable online, Plex will not detect this, and will stall while buffering.
These items will all fixed shortly.