Plex & xbmc discussion

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Che Castro, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. Che Castro macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    #1
    I installed plex today on my apple tv 2 and it seems to run smoother than xbmc

    I dont have perfect vision so dont take my word on this but my mkv movies look a lil better in plex

    I like that plex looks just like the apple tv interface

    Only downside to plex is that you need to install the software on your pc and it has to be running - no NAS



    Which one do you guys prefer and why ?
     
  2. illuminous macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    #2
    Plex in my opinion is far superior to XBMC. I currently have Plex running on my iMac which then streams content to my iPhone and iPad. It is just amazing!

    The only missing link is my TV. I have a fist generation Apple TV with ATVFlash. It connects to remote drives attached to an Airport Extreme. But I cannot run Plex on it. This means that my iMac needs to be on to stream to iPhone or iPad, which is just damn annoying.

    I'm hoping to get a Mac Mini which would act as an 'always-on' media server for Plex. It could then connect directly to my TV and also stream to iOS devices.
     
  3. Che Castro thread starter macrumors 603

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    May 21, 2009
    #3
    How do i turn subtitles on & off using the apple remote on the apple tv

    I know you can turn them on & off via the pc software in preference

    But how do i do it without getting my lazy butt off the couch

    In xbmc if you hold down the ok enter button
     
  4. Mr-Kerrse macrumors 6502

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    Apr 1, 2011
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    United Kingdom
    #4
    I prefer Flex but then i haven't got a clue how to use XBMC i find flex a lot easier to use.
     
  5. snarf1974 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2011
    #5
    Plex Media Server on ATV2

    I would love it if Plex could run on Apple TV 2, with out the need to have my MacBook constantly on.

    At the moment I use XBMC on ATV2, with all my media on a NAS drive, which means I don't have to have my MacBook on at all.

    Are there any plans for Plex to run on ATV2 natively? I note that Plex is available for ios (iphone/ipad) but strangely not ATV2??????

    :)
     
  6. Che Castro thread starter macrumors 603

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    May 21, 2009
  7. BlackMangoTree macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 30, 2010
    #7
    Plex re encodes everything to play on the Apple TV there is no way in the world is can look better than XBMC
     
  8. scienide09 macrumors 65816

    scienide09

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    May 5, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #8
    I prefer XBMC simply because I don't want to have to use my iMac as a middle-man device, even if it is powered on 90% of the time.

    With XBMC I can stream directly from my NAS.
     
  9. Che Castro thread starter macrumors 603

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    May 21, 2009
    #9
    Did you tried both?


    Im curious to know which has a better quality
     
  10. eTip macrumors 6502

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    Mar 12, 2009
    #10
    Clearly others will disagree but what follows is my opinion of Plex based on my own experience.

    The only advantage I see with Plex is the ability to stream to an iPad/iPhone. But the media server is a resource hog and has to be running all of the time. So, not only do you have to have a box to run the Plex server on but it has to be a somewhat powerful box or the media will either not play back at all or will stutter and skip. If you have spare box with enough horsepower to satisfy Plex then I guess that won't matter to you but it was a deal breaker for me.

    With XBMC, I dont have the extra burden of a server and my media can exist on a NAS, a drive connected to my ATV1 or another computer on my network with no re-encoding necessary. Add to that the fact that XBMC has more plug-ins and runs better on my ATV2 than Plex. I hear people raving about the Plex interface and it is nice but XBMC is more customizable.

    I do have an an iPad and an iPhone so the ability to stream my media to IOS devices is not lost on me but there are other solutions - Stream-to-me, Air Video, VLC - that provide the ability to access your media remotely. I have tried Air Video myself and found it to be less resource intensive than Plex. Also, I haven't tried to troubleshoot but the Plex client on my iPad won't play anything back at all. - just crashes immediately.

    That said, I will keep my eyes on Plex and see how it develops. In it's current state, it just doesn't offer any advantages for me.
     
  11. Frankydan100 macrumors regular

    Frankydan100

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    Dec 5, 2010
    Location:
    Birmingham UK
    #11
    I have used both and I find plex absolutely kicks ass on xbmc! The interface is brilliant, very attractive looking, easy to use. Xbmc has a crappy looking interface and is fiddly.

    I stream 11gb hd film files to plex and the picture quality is amazing with very minimal stuttering. Xmbc's quality was just as good but it stutters alot and has a tendency to crash quite alot.

    Go with plex, the media server sells it for me, an excellent way to store your media.
     
  12. eTip macrumors 6502

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    Mar 12, 2009
    #12
    Just curious, what are the specs on the computer you running the media server on and is it dedicated to that task alone?
     
  13. Scarpad macrumors 68000

    Scarpad

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    Ma
    #13
    I have to admit I'm an Eye candy Whore so the Fanart screens and interface of Plex blows me away and I wish the native Interface of the Apple TV could do what plex does. Steve jobs should seriously make Apple TV more than a hobby get contracts in place with sites like imdb and TVDB and allow for the apple tv to search and DL metadata. But that being said I own 4 apple tv 2's on all the tv's in my house. They go back to my 2009 Mac Mini and many external Hard Drives. I've just ordered a Minidisplayport to HDMI adapter, and I've set up Plex on my Mini. I might just move that in the living room, remove that Apple TV, and use it on the main tv, the others could still stream from the mini and Itunes.

    I have to admit thou if all I was looking to do was stream to my Iphone and Ipad I'd use AirVideo its a easier solution.
     
  14. Che Castro thread starter macrumors 603

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    May 21, 2009
    #14
    So js there a diff in picture quality between plex & xbmc
     
  15. jimmy1984 macrumors member

    jimmy1984

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    Apr 10, 2010
    #15
    what is the easiest way to get PLEX installed on the ATV2? Any recommendations to find a consolidated explanation for someone not so technologically savy?
     
  16. 3282868 macrumors 603

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    Jan 8, 2009
    #16
    I've been using XBMC on my Apple TV 2 and so far I like it. I have two "Time Capsules", one is extending my WLAN to my media center in order to bring internet radio to my Pioneer Elite VSX-33. Using XBMC I have connected my ATV 2 via SMB via Ethernet to my "Time Capsule", allowing use of the 2TB HDD for my movies/media instead of streaming. As well, the plugin's in XBMC allow 1080P playback. The ATV 2 accepts 1080P but downscales/outputs 720P. I've encoded all my DVD rips using Handbrake with the best lossless quality (I don't care about size) with 3-4 audio tracks and I can play back whatever track I want (6-Channel discrete, 7.1 for Blu-Rays, Director's Commentary, etc.).

    I've used Plex on my 6-Core Mac Pro, but wasn't impressed. What are the benefits/pro's and con's between XBMC and Plex?
     
  17. OmegaRed1723 macrumors 6502

    OmegaRed1723

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    Jun 19, 2009
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    The Waste
    #17
    Not entirely accurate. The newest version of Plex for the :apple:TV2 -- 0.0.7.1.rc1 -- incorporates the new Direct Streaming feature. Before starting playback of a file, Plex will analyze it to determine whether the file was encoded with h.264. If it is an h.264 file, Plex will simply re-mux the file into a container that the :apple:TV2 can handle, on the fly, and without any degradation in quality. It is important to note that the :apple:TV can only handle AAC audio, so the audio tracks of most files will still be transcoded.

    The end result of this mumbo jumbo is a playback experience that, in my opinion, is superior to XBMC on the :apple:TV2. Yeah, you have to have a computer on running the Plex Media Server, but odds are, if you have an :apple:TV, you probably have a computer on somewhere in the house running iTunes.
     
  18. 3282868 macrumors 603

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    Jan 8, 2009
    #18
    XBMC can output 1080P quality with no issue. ATV 2 can receive 1080P but for some reason down codes it to 720P. XBMC bypasses this loop. Also, you don't need to set up a server, you can direct connect an external HDD via ethernet using SMB in XBMC, so no need to turn on any Mac's, make certain iTunes is running and that your network can handle the Mbps, etc. XBMC may not have the best looking "skins", which you can customize/download, but it's the guts of the system that run circles around Plex from what I recently learned. I've been using the nightly/beta builds which are phenomenal.
     
  19. OmegaRed1723 macrumors 6502

    OmegaRed1723

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    #19
    I wasn't aware XBMC on the :apple:TV2 could actually output 1080p video. That's quite interesting -- might have to give it a look, even though I'm thoroughly pleased with Plex.

    It would be really interesting if Apple released a third-generation :apple:TV keeping the same form factor as the current gen, but with specs on par with the iPad2. XBMC on a device like that would be an absolute game changer.
     
  20. TinHead88 macrumors regular

    TinHead88

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    Oct 30, 2008
    #20
    I am not familiar with XBMC but when I recently did a search to see how I could get 5.1 surround to play properly from AAC encoded mp4s through my AV receiver the answer was to use Plex. I couldn't get this to work with VLC or quicktime with Perian, but it works perfectly, on the fly, with Plex.

    Can XBMC do this as well?

    Tom
     
  21. 3282868 macrumors 603

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    Jan 8, 2009
    #21
    Absolutely! AAC supports 5.1/6-channel discrete, but I'd suggest AC3 over AAC. With XBMC I can play 7.1 with mkv's and 5.1 H.264 mp4's and 1080P bypassing ATV 2's downscaling to 720P. It pretty much outputs all available codecs and depending on the AVR you should be set. I have my media on an extra "Time Capsule" connected via ethernet to my ATV 2 and using XBMC I can access all the media on the "Time Capsule" 2TB HDD using SMB, and no issues at all, or you can stream it however I wanted a local NAS/etc as I didn't want to have to make certain my Mac Pro was on with iTunes sharing all the time. Plus I wanted my media stored on my Mac Pro, "Time Machine" and on another local volume. Also, the newest Perian (1.2.2) supports:

     
  22. TinHead88 macrumors regular

    TinHead88

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    Oct 30, 2008
    #22
    I just tried playing a film that has AAC encoded 5.1 and the only way I could get my receiver to output full 5.1 was to use Plex. I have the latest VLC and Perian and neither of them worked.

    Can you confirm that XBMC actually converts (on the fly) AAC encoded surround to regular DD5.1 that any AVR can accept? I was under the impression that only Plex did this.
     
  23. 3282868 macrumors 603

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    Jan 8, 2009
    #23
    Not sure about "any" AVR, I have a Pioneer Elite VSX-33. I've read through the XBMC forums and worked with the engineers, and form what I gather it works and works on my system. What is your setup? HDMI for both audio/video or are you using optical out and what is your AVR? Do you have the latest Perian, et al running?
     
  24. TinHead88 macrumors regular

    TinHead88

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    Oct 30, 2008
    #24
    My AVR is more than 5 years old so it doesn't support any higher than dolby 7.1 and DTS (no HDMI). The digital audio is via optical out of a MacPro.

    As I said, latest VLC and latest Perian will not allow proper DD5.1 with AAC sources on my system. Plex does because it converts the AAC stream to a proper DD stream in realtime.
     
  25. Bye Bye Baby macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

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    #25
    Anyone got a good website for how to actually install Plex on the ATV?
     

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