I prefer iTunes over Plex or XMBC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 08-22-2013, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

Crazy right.

I have been working a bit with Plex and XMBC lately and after lots of configuration and learning, I've gone back to just using plain old iTunes.

I find it much more reliable during playback.

Just for ref... I'm speaking about a mac mini which I use to play back anything (CDs, DVDs) that I don't have on Blu Ray. I don't rip my Blu Rays, I like them just like they are.

-Brian

(EDIT - I meant XBMC in the thread title ... typo.)
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post #2 of 21 Old 08-23-2013, 09:19 AM
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I prefer iTunes over Plex or XBMC...Crazy right?

No, not crazy, I still prefer iTunes for certain things, like music and if you are just starting to build a video media library and buying or renting most of your video content from iTunes, why not use iTunes? But "iTunes" as video player can't easily play anything that isn't specifically formatted for it and added to the library...take all those dvds you own, does that mean you've backed them up them to VIDEO_TS folders on your hard drives and then transcoded ALL of those into an iTunes acceptable format? And all the EyeTV recordings or .avi or .mkv you've managed to acquire over the years, you've transcoded all of that just so iTunes can access it?

Most of us, even being huge fans of Apple and iTunes and Front Row, recognize the inherent strengths and limitations of Apple's very structured approach, and come face to face with the single most damning question: why spend a million years doing all that transcoding when XBMC or Plex will play all of it back?
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I'm speaking about a mac mini which I use to play back anything (CDs, DVDs) that I don't have on Blu Ray. I don't rip my Blu Rays, I like them just like they are.

If you don't rip your blu-rays, how are you playing them? In a standalone player? If so, you like the old-school search for a physical disc, popping it in, then waiting for the proper permissions to be given and ads and warnings to play before you actually start watching a movie? You like content protection? I lost all patience for that many many years ago...I want to press a button and my movie or TV recording to start instantly. And, I really don't like having to switch away to a different input and presumably pick up a different remote.

This is just a minor usage case, one of many possible ones, but it's something I find myself doing at least a couple of times a week: watching video on an iPad in bed, either really early am or late pm after my wife and I have gone to sleep. If you haven't ripped your entire collection then you're limiting yourself to a sub set of your library based on your display or device...why not aim to play everything anywhere?
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I find it much more reliable during playback

What is happening to you during playback, what specifically about each player was unreliable? Where is all your content--local? networked? Is wireless involved at all? Maybe define reliable a little better for us--are we talking network or streaming issues, dropouts, waiting for volumes to be accessed, what? Files not being played back smoothly on one platform yet perfectly on another?

I know you have two devices running XBMC--the Mini and that Apple TV 1 with the broadcom card--are your XBMC issues the SAME on both machines? Looking more closely at this may help you figure out what's causing your issues--and in the process you may discover it has nothing to do with the players per se, that it is to do with certain media, certain external storage devices or the way you've set your home network up.

Another possible angle: what devices or remote controls and/or apps are you using that might affect playback? I'm genuinely curious because the same little glitches that pop up for me using XBMC on a Mac Mini ALSO pop up from time to time using iTunes Home Sharing, Apple remote apps on iOS devices and Apple TVs...for instance, and for no apparent reason, my iPad might no longer be able to see my iTunes library when I know iTunes is open and running just fine on my Mini, or it might take forever to load my library when I feel like playing something when I know everything in my house is on the same iTunes home sharing account. A few taps here, open and close this or that, and I'm back, but I'd hardly say the iOS/iTunes ecosystem is any more or less reliable than my XBMC front end, for me they're basically identical, my up time is 99.8% with both and they seem equally reliable to me. The only difference is XBMC can play everything, whereas iTunes cannot.

But I will say this, there is more set up, configuration and tweaking involved when you take on Plex or XBMC than iTunes home sharing and iOS--iTunes/iOS does essentially "just work" and discover each other whereas XBMC and Plex require much more hand-holding.
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post #3 of 21 Old 08-23-2013, 09:16 PM
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Id like to know the issues as well because i basically have the same set up, a mini and an og aptv
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post #4 of 21 Old 08-24-2013, 03:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

Quick reply to lots of good questions.

I'm sort of new to the media server notions. I picked up a first Gen AppleTV at a garage sale for $5 then added a video card and spent some time with XBMC.

Not long after I determined that even though it was stable, the ATV1 was stutter-vision even with the video card that was supposed to fix that. Anyone who uses such a setup knows it's not smooth video playback. (And, I can't stand it.)

So, I put XBMC on my Mac mini and things were better. There was some bug that after about 40 minutes of playback made the video into a slide show with a single frame displayed at a time. (I'm not kidding.) I found others with similar hardware and they resolved the problem by limiting the audio to stereo. I tried that but still had problems.

It was fun for a while to configure away at the stuff. (Kind of like trying to keep a Windows systems functional) but, I realized itunes does everything and it doesn't go funky ever.

I do put all my DVDs into itunes in the form of m4a files that it can read. I use iVI which does everything from start to finish and adds all the meta-data. (Sometimes it has to guess and you have to correct it but it's nicely setup.)

I haven't spent all that much time with Plex and I do like Plex,... I set it up on my Mac Mini to serve the roku 3 upstairs that my wife usually uses (she burns through TV shows on Amazon instant and such.) However, half my videos don't play back throwing up a HDCP Not Authorized message on the screen. If I ever want to figure that out then Plex may still be useful.

I still love Blu Rays like I used to love DVDs. There are Warning and trailers and confusing menus and all that but I only tend to watch one in a given day and I can deal instead of trying to find a hard drive setup that will hold over a thousand Blu Rays. I think I have maybe 200 DVDs so I like to have those on the server and put them in storage.

Oh,... and... 130 of my Digital Copies are Itunes copies that came with Blu Rays and itunes is the only thing that plays those back. (Not that it really matters because, I have all those on the better Blu Ray format but it's still convenient for my kids to pull up animated movies on the laptop or ipod or ipad or whatever.)


-Brian

p.s. (Edit) I mention the software iVI and want to just give a heads up the AppleStore version lacks important features and costs the same as buying direct from the developer. Apple made the developer remove DVD import from the AppleStore version ... just beware.
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post #5 of 21 Old 08-24-2013, 06:47 PM
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I side with Chef. Although, I don't use iTunes and I run on Windows, I still like Plex. I really do play my videos on just about everything and anywhere. I used a late 2009 Mac Mini (2.66ghz D2C, 8GB RAM) to run the Plex Media Server (PMS) in the office, and another late 2009 Mac Mini (2.66ghz D2C, 4GB RAM) as an HTPC. The office is the one I also do all my movie rips and transcoding. I have an external slim blu ray drive/burner, and two hard drives attached (which is where all my rips are stored).

I play back on the HTPC, Android phone and tablet, and three roku boxes all the time. The only issues I run into are three situations. One, back download of a movie rip. Two, a lot of local network congestion; my router only has fast ethernet cards, not gigabit. This is very rare, but has occurred. Third, limited bandwidth. This is only when trying to stream when away from home to the phone or tablet, and is usually more the ISP the mobile device is using. This also has an effect on how high of bit rate I can use to stream based on high high of bitrate the movie was transcoded to.

The end result of my system, I have close to three hundred movies and around hundred fifty different TV episodes available. Plus another fifty DVR recordings.

Personally, I try to rip everything to as general format as possible so I an play on as many devices as possible. I also have never been a fan of iTunes because I was not a fan of Apple's QuickTime TV. I'm also even less of a fan of Apple's structured system surrounding iTunes. I wasn't a fan of Microsoft's Zune's either, but it was easier to workaround than iTune. I'm just way too old school, and like to be able set things up my way. That said, if you're using the Apple hardware, then using the Apple software, one will find that 95% things just work.

I'm don't know about the power of the old AppleTV, but if it is that gutless, maybe you should considering upgrading to newer AppleTV or Roku. I don't know about the DRM with iTunes. I don't buy videos online from those services, unless they're free. I find ripping my discs is much easier, although takes a lot more to do. That's why you I set these tasks when I'm sleeping. I assume there is an application to remove the DRM from your movie collection and make it set top box friendly.
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post #6 of 21 Old 08-25-2013, 05:12 AM
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I agree. I can't seem to get 24/96 FLAC to play in Plex, but iTunes with PureMusic gets me what I want.

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post #7 of 21 Old 08-25-2013, 05:40 AM - Thread Starter
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I was never a fan of Quicktime (before)... it was always seemingly clunky.

For all I know that's what I'm making a case for now by using itunes for video but ... it's working for me.

I don't have EyeTV stuff... I don't watch TV except for like TV on DVD type of thing. So,... I don't have many files to convert.

Finally,.. My problem with Plex isn't really a problem with Plex. It's a Roku thing. There is something wrong with what it thinks isn't HDCP authorized video. I've looked it up and read a little about it. I think it's the Roku's fault not Plex's fault but my Roku would be the only reason for me to use Plex so if I can't sort that out then it doesn't make any difference.



-Brian
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post #8 of 21 Old 08-26-2013, 09:46 AM
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I prefer iTunes (10.7), too, mainly because I just find the Plex interface extremely ugly on both my LG TV and my Roku 3, the navigation is tedious and I don't like that you can't isolate things (like different encodings of the same file) in folders from showing up. It's certainly the easiest solution for streaming my 400 movies to my tvs but I really hope they'll get a graphic designer on board to make the GUIs better looking and more logical to use. I have no problem ripping and encoding all my DVDs to mp4/m4v nor with reencoding files I might find from elsewhere and I actually "enjoy" in a kind of obsessive compulsive way plugging in all the metadata in MetaZ and choosing the best artwork and sometimes even making my own in Photoshop -- but my whole life is on hold while I'm trying to recover from a chronic illness and I can't imagine how anyone with a normal life would ever have time for this crap. I'm often able to even make the encodes look better than the originals through tweaking the Handbrake settings. Anyway, some kind of combination of Front Row and iTunes 10.7 (because of coverflow) would be an ideal interface for me.
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post #9 of 21 Old 08-26-2013, 09:26 PM
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Having mutliple encodes with Plex is, to some degree, misses the point of how they set it up, from its function form. If the player can't play the file natively, the PMS will transcode it to a format that the front client can handle.

As for the rest, I'm not going to disagree with you. At the same time, the looks of the user interface on the front end clients is subjective too. I do know Plex can use XML files for metadata and so forth. I think you just change the settings in the PMS to look locally. I find the data pulled from IMDB and TVRage to be sufficient ninety percent of time.

With all that said, Plex, as with most things, has room for improvement. At this point, I place priority on functionality over form. Plex has come a long way in the three or so years that I have used it. It's significantly easier to setup. Can use it on a lot more devices. It's not a bad deal at all.
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post #10 of 21 Old 08-27-2013, 01:51 AM
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Originally Posted by lovekeiiy View Post

Having mutliple encodes with Plex is, to some degree, misses the point of how they set it up, from its function form. If the player can't play the file natively, the PMS will transcode it to a format that the front client can handle.

As for the rest, I'm not going to disagree with you. At the same time, the looks of the user interface on the front end clients is subjective too. I do know Plex can use XML files for metadata and so forth. I think you just change the settings in the PMS to look locally. I find the data pulled from IMDB and TVRage to be sufficient ninety percent of time.

With all that said, Plex, as with most things, has room for improvement. At this point, I place priority on functionality over form. Plex has come a long way in the three or so years that I have used it. It's significantly easier to setup. Can use it on a lot more devices. It's not a bad deal at all.

So your entire media library is just full of one-off DRM-free DVD rips? Why would you want to have to transcode all your files every single time you watch anything instead of just putting the file in a relatively universal format to begin with so you can play it on anything? I started out using MacTheRipper, Handbrake & iTunes home sharing when I wanted to rip DVDs & stream files so it just doesn't seem like a big deal to me to encode anything. It takes about 15 minutes a movie. I keep the original copy, art and whatever encodes of the file in individual folders to keep it all organized. Having to make copies of my current use encode of every single movie and tv show and filing them all separately from my actual media collection is sloppy and a big waste of space. Without doing that, though, I wind up with several copies of the same film (5 if the movie came in .avi parts which had to be joined in MPEGStreamclip and then sweetened in Handbrake) showing up back to back to back to back to back with one or two of those copies having poster art and most of them just random screen caps. It makes it extra ugly. I can see how just downloading and transcoding would be great for bad tv shows you don't want to save but I would just stream those on a website rather than bothering to download them if I was going to bother to watch something I wouldn't want to keep at all.

You can only use skins on a computer; there's no way to change the appearance of the front end on Rokus or TVs or any other device besides a PC which can use Plex at this point. So you're stuck with really ugly GUIs. Some of that is the fault of the device makers restricting the look to fit within their code. However, the Netflix and Hulu apps on my TV and Roku are worlds nicer to look at than the Plex apps on those same devices. If I can remember, I'll take a picture for you of what the app looks like on my TV. I can't even describe it.

As far as Plex's scraping agents go, it's great idea, but it simply doesn't work unless you want incomplete and incorrect and Google Translation sounding metadata with generally lousy art when it can find any art or, for that matter, any information about the movie at all. I don't see the point of keeping a film collection full of bad synopses, ugly low res photos and files in 20 year old codec formats. They finally fixed the web client so it is now reading the data I've embedded in my films; about four months ago it found art and varying amounts of partially correct metadata for 10 out of 95 movies I threw at it.

Like the idea of plug and play metadata, the idea of extra channels and plug-ins is great, too. But the most exciting ones are not in the official app "store" and their developers seem neither able nor interested in staying on top of keeping them updated and functioning.

I completely agree that it's cool for something free and which is usable on nearly every platform and media device I can think of, but the entire development of it seems really unfocused and, frankly, pretty lazy given its popularity, availability and how many people are involved, at least in theory, in the day to day operations. Their forums have repeated bug notifications and requests going unfixed and unanswered for years. I guess it's most frustrating because the potential is so obvious and, seemingly, so close and there seems to just be apathy about making it 'great' rather than decent.
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post #11 of 21 Old 08-27-2013, 10:30 AM
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mkv is a universal standard. mp4 isnt.
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post #12 of 21 Old 08-27-2013, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ou8thisSN View Post

mkv is a universal standard. mp4 isnt.

I think it's neither or either.

What's meant by universal standard in this case? So,... what player can play MKV but can not play MP4 ...???? .... Anyone ???.... ...

I don't know but I think everything can play MP4 ... if it can play video.

Many people would say MP3 is something like a universal standard and I evade them for lossless formats. (Namely Apple Lossless.)

Universal like as in Aliens on other planets use the codec ..?... What the ?...
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post #13 of 21 Old 08-28-2013, 01:16 AM
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Originally Posted by StCelery View Post

So your entire media library is just full of one-off DRM-free DVD rips? Why would you want to have to transcode all your files every single time you watch anything instead of just putting the file in a relatively universal format to begin with so you can play it on anything? ...

You can only use skins on a computer; there's no way to change the appearance of the front end on Rokus or TVs or any other device besides a PC which can use Plex at this point. ...

As far as Plex's scraping agents go, it's great idea, but it simply doesn't work unless you want incomplete and incorrect and Google Translation sounding metadata with generally lousy art when it can find any art or, for that matter, any information about the movie at all. ...

... extra channels and plug-ins is great, too. But the most exciting ones are not in the official app "store" and their developers seem neither able nor interested in staying on top of keeping them updated and functioning.

... the entire development of it seems really unfocused and, frankly, pretty lazy given its popularity, availability and how many people are involved, at least in theory, in the day to day operations. Their forums have repeated bug notifications and requests going unfixed and unanswered for years. I guess it's most frustrating because the potential is so obvious and, seemingly, so close and there seems to just be apathy about making it 'great' rather than decent.

Yes, my entire local media collection has no DRM. Through various methods and tools, the DRM was removed in the ripping process. I found trying to use the digital copies provided by various content providers to be a bigger hassle than it was worth. Thus, the extra time it took to make my own was just easier and more robust.

As for Plex and transcoding, in the settings, you can set it to do direct play by default. And if the player can't play the file natively, then the PMS will transcode the file to a format the player can. Since 95% of library is in mkv, it will need to transcode for the Roku1s and Roku2, and most of my Android mobile devices. But some files probably have bit rates that I can't send because of the limited bandwidth of my mobile data carrier. I use Plex all the time, and half the time away from home. You are correct, transcoding can have issues, and part of the quality is doing to depend on the power of the CPU of the PMS machine. The benefit though, one file, for all devices. Heck, with the Plex synce feature for Android and iOS, you can add content to be stored on a mobile device if you won't have internet access, say a plane flight. On side note, it's pretty cool that you can turn your mobile device into a PMS for that synced media. Plus, I don't have to have try to find mobile media that can handle MKVs or if it will fit on the microSD card; I suggest BSPlayer or VLC for Android.

Otherwise, you run into what you're talking about. Having to keep multiple saves for the various devices. For many media suites, the best way to keep multiple listings for popping up is to create multiple directories based on device or format, and then create a separate libraries.

Personally, I use MakeMKV to create a source mkv. These are just disc conversions, no transcoding. Thus blu ray discs tend to be around 20GB file size. I then take to file and use Handbrake to make it smaller. This does involve transcoding. But I can get those files to around 4GB to 6GB in size. Since I have eye issues, I don't notice all the video quality degradation, but for the most part, most people the quality loss from the default settings isn't that that noticeable and what is, doesn't ruin the experience. Once the file is review to make sure it is sufficient, I move it to my library, and then delete the MakeMKV mkv, and the disc is stored away. In Plex, I have two libraries for this process. One I call Original MKV and the other Test MKV. But you get the idea.

No need to take pictures of your TV for Netflix, Hulu, and or whatever other online service you may use. I subscribe to both and use them on Roku, Xbox360, PS3, and Android mobile devices. I'm familiar with the UI. In fact, I've used Netflix Instant Watch service shortly after it launch on the PC, when how much streaming time you got was based on the dollar amount you paid per month on your bill. I even pre-ordered the Roku box (It was the called the Netflix Instant Watch Player by Roku). Let me tell you, the UI in those days was clunky, and that's being generous.

I'm aware that the only the UI can be easily changed on the PC. This is true for any of the media suites, such as XBMC. Thus, I wasn't disagreeing with you that the UI could use some tweaking or improvement. In the four something years I have used Plex, I have seen UI changes. They're slowing coming, but it does occur. At the same time, the is a definite subjective to the user.

As for the development of Plex, it's no worse then other community based projects. I know they're slightly different in that not all the code for it is open, and they are a private company now. I see this a lot with firewall software, so they're not unique as a business model. Considering, what Plex does, it functions very well. I don't believe Plex is a very large company. I would surprise if they had over ten people on their payroll. I think they're around five people, but don't quote me.

I don't disagree with you about the Plex forums being full of people with issues. And some issues that don't get resolved. Yet, most forums I visit, especially product based, are almost nothing to issues and complaints. People go there looking for solutions and help. Most don't go there to praise. It's the nature of the beast of the forums. Although some issues may not get resolved, but it could be just the person or some oddball event that can't be reproduced reliably to find the actual problem to create a solution. I personally, had an issue with Plex, specially with the Android app. I was able to post the logs and what was happening to their forums. They found the problem and had an update with the fix the next day.

As for the scrappers, I don't use local metadata files. I just know they can be used. Some people are into creating their own or what it from different sources. I find using IMDB and TVRage, the default sources that XBMC and Plex use is fine. My biggest issue, is not with scrappers, but the info. I get annoyed that they don't put the movies summaries first and then the extra about debutes and awards. Not all the players, because they're new and still developing, don't scroll, such as the one for the Web. I haven't found the artwork to be low resolution. Though, I do believe some content probably does because they're old and no one updated it. I rarely change the artwork. I just don't care. The only issue I've encountered, but I have had it with both XBMC and Plex, when setting up the libraries, such as after a fresh install on a PC, I can only do library at a time, and usually one directory. I find if I try to more, the scraper won't pulled the metadata for all the files, and I could never get it to add it later.

With all that said, I do appreciate Plex's gives a priority to function over form. The UI may be clunky at times, but it still works and it's still pretty to use. It just may not be as pretty or well organized compared to services such as Netflix that have enough cash flow to hire someone who specializes the UI design.

Plex, as well as other media suites, such as iTunes, XBMC, Media Browser, and so forth all have things they do really well, and others very poorly. And none of them are one fit for everyone. And this is good thing because it gives us users a choice to find something that fits our needs best. Give competition for them to improve and inspire each other.

By no means do I mean to imply that you should use Plex, XBMC, or something else instead of iTunes. I was just sharing that in my experience, Plex has worked well for my needs and did not experience that you did. If anything, I'm suggesting if you do choose to use something else, you may want to considering changing how you set up your localized media to save space and eliminate some of the other issues you encountered.
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post #14 of 21 Old 08-28-2013, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ou8thisSN View Post

mkv is a universal standard. mp4 isnt.

Open source doesn't mean industry standard. iTunes/Quicktime/iDevices/Rokus/ATVs/most smart TVs and Blu-ray players, etc. cannot play MKVs but handle MP4s just fine. I think it's a smarter more flexible container than MP4 but it's hardly universal, in fact, it's hard to find anything that'll actually play them besides a PC.
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post #15 of 21 Old 08-28-2013, 05:39 PM
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In regards to keeping multiple encodings of the same film, I always keep the original source in case for whatever reason it needs to be reencoded which has happened for a couple of different reasons with a couple dozen films and a handful of tv episodes. Sometimes the original source is in multiple parts and sometimes the first encode at the best settings for the file is so huge that I need to shrink it, but that doesn't mean I won't have use for the larger encode in the future. And I keep different encodes because some play better on different devices, for instance my old PPC G5, while still a power house in many respects, stutters with MP4s so needs MOV files in order to play smoothly. As I said before, separating all these different versions of the same content into different folders and locations is neither organized nor streamlined nor logical; if I need to deal with a particular film or tv episode for some reason, I need to be able to see what I have to work with, including the artwork and srt files, all in one place. So an option to include or exclude items in a folder would be nice. As I said, I'll likely be duplicating my current use encodes and tossing them onto a different drive than my media and media and media backup drives where I otherwise store all my content, but it's dumb that I have to do so.

Yes, for most older, rare and foreign films there simply isn't artwork nor *correct* and complete metadata in the databases. And, unfortunately, TagChimp has stopped updating their database so no one will get to use the more recent stuff I've plugged in. But because I've had to create the artwork and metadata for so many films in their entirety, it wasn't a huge step to start tweaking bad plot summaries on more popular films to make them more accurate or redoing posters that were covered in credits or awards announcements to make them cleaner or even just conjure a better sense of the film. In some instances there just aren't any good posters for certain films so I'll often combine elements from different posters of that film to make a better poster or tweak stills to make one. Last night, I spent 10 hours making an awesome cover for A Streetcar Named Desire. As I said, I have a good deal of time on my hands and don't imagine other people would bother with this type of stuff. But bad artwork does bother me. The poster is what you look at to decide if you want to watch the movie or not; if it doesn't give an actual sense of the film you're going to be let down and feel like you were given a bait and switch and all the clutter of quotes about how great a movie is and taglines etc on posters just bug me. But as someone with poor eyesight, I understand that this might all seem completely irrelevant to you.

Sure, of course, the boards are mostly full of people trying to problem solve as most product boards are, but I'm talking about specific bugs/complaints that have multiple posts about them dating back years which have never been addressed at all.

I don't find scrolling through 400 (or 800+ with the duplicates) movies one by one to be particularly functional. How am I supposed to browse like this? 4 or 6 movies across and then however many down to thumb through would both be nicer to look at and a lot easier to use. Roku's Hulu GUI allows this for one's queue so it's obviously not prevented by the dev kit.

The mobile stuff is cool but StreamToMe and other media server software do the same.

Surprised to hear there are probably only 5 people on the payroll. It has the sense of being a much bigger operation than that. What's the deal with the code only being partially open source?
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post #16 of 21 Old 08-29-2013, 01:01 AM
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... Surprised to hear there are probably only 5 people on the payroll. It has the sense of being a much bigger operation than that. What's the deal with the code only being partially open source?

I'm not very familiar with Plex's business operations. But they're more a small company in size. I just know there is really only a few full time employees.

The partial open is because they're trying to make some money on Plex. Not so much on the general public, but more by manufactures of consumer devices to have Plex added to things such as TVs and blu ray players. I don't remember all what was closed, but it was part of the PMS. I think it's was more the engine. I They have it open enough to allow the Plex community to still make channels and tweaks such as skins and so forth. I'm not sure how open the front end players are. I know the Roku channel was started out as community member's work as a private channel on the Roku. I used it back in those days. Talk about nick picky to get working, but it did work.

As for the keeping multiple encodes, I understood why it was done. I use to do the same thing a while back for various devices because of performance, player, or file size limitations. I have found, for me, that using Plex with the accompanying front end player, enabled me to no longer need to that anymore. Granted, some devices I used back then, I no longer, such as the PSP.

The mobile aspect, and ease of use with Plex is a big plus for me. It's one thing it does well Yes, the UI isn't all encompassing as you mentioned. But it does function.

I can't really speak on the Roku's UI. All my Rokus are either first generation or second. Thus, they're not the powerhouse such as the Roku 2 or 3, and are not longer getting the UI updates. Hulu works, but it's clunky and slow. The boxes I have only get bug and security fixes. I do know Roku 2 and later have full search features that looks into several channels at once. Maybe, the Plex Roku developer is still working on it. You can probably find him on the Plex subforum and suggest the search feature. The Roku app is still more community based, as far as I know.

End of the day, all these suites do, overall, the same thing. Some have features the other don't. The challenge really is finding the suite that fits your needs and wants best. I'm not knocking iTunes. It does what it does very well, especially with Apple products. It's just not for me. Some thing for XBMC.
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post #17 of 21 Old 09-02-2013, 03:44 AM
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I'm in the iTunes camp because it just works for all my Apple devices including my two AppleTVs. I did spend the time converting (Handbrake 4.1 High Profile) all my media into 1080p and 480p M4V files because the 480p files play on everything including the original Droid phone. I like the fact that M4V files are universally support on all devices I own.

The main advantage of Plex is that it has many more non Apple clients including TV's, Bluray players, and Rokus. If I was starting from scratch I would get Samsung TVs with the built in Plex app. The other advantage is that it will transcode for devices that can't handle the original format. While this works, it can take some configuring to get the right stream for your device. I've also had great success with the Plex DLNA server and my Sony Bluray player. While I tried Plex because it could transcode my Windows Media Center recorded TV shows for all my Apple devices, I'm going to uninstall it when I transition to a Tivo DVR with a Tivo Stream for TV viewing on my iPads.

For my HTPC, I locally store all my original DVD and Bluray rips for playback on my projector. While I currently use Windows Media Center with MPC-HC to playback these files, I may go to XBMC for all my playback needs in my home theater. I gave up with trying to use one system (HTPC) to meet all my needs. The HTPC is now used as a Movie 'jukebox' in the home theater, while my Mac Mini is used to serve up all my media for all my casual viewing needs (smaller TVs, iPads, etc).
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post #18 of 21 Old 09-17-2013, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I played around with XBMC more because I have a first Gen AppleTV that I don't know what to do with and I'm not ready to recycle.

Then,.... All my movies that start with N dissapeared... I rebooted ... still gone, ..updated library,... still gone. Eventually I pulled the hard drive to check on another computer and they were still there.

I really kind of like XBMC but I have no time for random bugginess. This is why I'm back to iTunes.

(No idea what eventually will become of the G1 AppleTV... At least it doesn't take up much space.)
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post #19 of 21 Old 10-14-2013, 06:20 PM
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So here's what you get with iTunes - limited formats, pretty screens, ease of use. You also get squashed down files from your original source discs in order to play in one of those limited formats like MP4.

With Plex or XBMC, you get a larger variety of options for playback of media files from formats to bitrates.


From my experience, I like iTunes for use with my iPhone. I convert my CDs in lossless Apple and have a few downloads from the iTunes Store of singles. For movies, unless downloaded from iTunes, I would never use iTunes. NEVER.
There are alternatives and there is no reason that multiple sources cannot be used. For some, it might be iTunes for music and movies on a different software platform or hardware.

My set up - iTunes for iPhone and occasional airplay. XBMC for my larger monitor on my computer but not for my plasma TV. The reason for the latter is because I run XBMC on OSX which does not have the ability to do HD audio but only DTS and Dolby. I opt not to use Windows which can do HD audio streams. For movies, given that all my archive for film, tv and music is on a NAS, I use my Blu Ray player which does an excellent job. It also can play back high end flac music files with no issues. The NAS library consists of MKV, m2ts, VOB, flac and lossless AAC and 255 AAC. Given that my media is centralized, all the above mentioned have their place in accessing the files. This works very well for me.

In short - iTunes for up to CD quality music and that is all. XBMC for large computer monitor watching of movies and TV shows archived and Oppo Blu Ray player for playback of movie and hi def music from my receiver to the 65" plasma TV.
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post #20 of 21 Old 10-15-2013, 12:44 PM
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Of course you are crazy. Theres not a piece of software made that I hate more than iTunes.

If you just want to play music and you prefer it over Foobar, you can double the amount of crazy first implied. biggrin.gif
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post #21 of 21 Old 10-23-2013, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Of course you are crazy. Theres not a piece of software made that I hate more than iTunes.

If you just want to play music and you prefer it over Foobar, you can double the amount of crazy first implied. biggrin.gif

I do like itunes but I did evetually get back to XBMC. I don't use for a lot of it can do but the stuff I use it for works great now and that's all I need.

-Brian
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