Plex

Plex for Android to get new features and an improved interface

February 12, 2013 - Written By Silviu MarchiÈ™

Plex Media has released a 5 minute video on Vimeo today, showing some of the new features that will come to their new Android app (codename Kepler).

For the people hearing for the first time about it, Plex is a media server that you can install on any Windows, Linux or Mac operating systems (I have it installed on my Synology Disk Station) through which you can organize and stream to a wide range of devices, including smart phones, smart TVs (such as Google TV, Samsung Smart, etc), Xbox 360, PS3 and others that have a native client, or are DLNA-compliant.

First, let’s start with the bad news. It will support only Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) and up, meaning 54.4% of the Android users are not getting this update.

Here are some of the new features that will come in the upcoming app:

  • Holo theme for the app
  • New video player with a better interface and subtitles support
  • Ability to filter media gallery by various categories
  • Search throughout media with a new search bar
  • Ability to search straight from the Google search bar
  • Lockscreen widget
  • Ability to share to Facebook
  • Download media to your device (Offline mode)
  • Share content from your Android Device on the network

The app seemed to be moving very smooth on the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 devices in the teaser, taking it only a couple of seconds to buffer the video. The video player seems to be some one of the features the team concentrated upon. Before, you had limited options to select (and by that I mean you could have played/paused the video and make it fullscreen). Now it has a progress bar, you can select the quality of the video stream and other options that you can see bellow.

Plex video

And above all, the subtitles option is kind of a rarity in the streaming apps on phones and tablets, a feature I’m sure many users will be grateful for.

The new app will have a comprehensive filter ability, letting you filter just about anything you can think off. You can filter or sort your media by resolution, genre, duration,studio and country to say a few. The filter pane appears if you swipe to the right in the media list and can be hidden by swiping to the left.

Plex Filters

A new feature the Plex will get with the new release, will be the ability to make your device advertise itself on the network as a Plex server, enabling you to watch photos, videos and listen to the music on it on any network device that supports DLNA or has a Plex client. A cool feature is that you can be a server and client at the same time, enabling you to share your content and continue using the Plex app as usual.

Plex server and client

The exact date in which the updated Plex for Android app will be available is not known, but fear not, it will be arriving soon. If you can’t wait, the app is currently available as a Beta for PlexPass users (which is basically the premium version of their server, starting at $3.99/month), but will be available for free update to users who have bought the Plex for Android on Google Play.

The Plex for Android is available right now for $5 (or €.373) on Google Play, and soon you will be able to update to get the new features.