Plex is about to get big. The offshoot of the XBMC project just announced that LG will be using its media platform in upcoming Netcast HDTVs and Blu-ray players, in turn, making these devices about the best media streamers imaginable — even better than the upcoming Boxee Box or just-refreshed Apple TV.
After all, Plex already works with Netflix, Hulu, BBC’s iPlayer, and supports playback of just about every media format ever created via the best interface in the business. There’s even an iOS remote viewing app coming soon. Forget about having an extra box sitting on your TV stand just to stream random content, it’s going to be built into your HDTV. Welcome to the future, ladies and gentleman.
Plex is not only gorgeous, but also robust. The underpinnings have been around for most of this decade as it’s built on Mplayer, the same basis for Boxee and others. It can playback nearly anything, including 1080p content with ease. It’s traditionally a Mac-only program, but this partnership with LG makes our mind swirl with all sorts of possibilities.
Chances are the software will be included as an App within the LG products and the whole TV or Blu-ray player itself will not run on Plex — although that would be astounding. However, having Plex integrated within the TV will eliminate the need for other boxes such as the Apple TV or Boxee Box because the TV itself will actually have more functions. Hopefully there will be enough raw processing power to provide a smooth interface and the same sort of media playback. Without that, most of the appeal would be lost.
The LG HDTVs and Blu-ray players are scheduled for a 2011 launch and will no doubt be one of the highlights of the company’s CES 2011 booth. Hopefully the deal isn’t exclusive to LG and deals with other manufacturers are coming soon as well.
“After considering many alternative solutions, LG Electronics chose to utilize Plex’s media server platform technology as a part of its next generation NetCast™ enabled home entertainment products because of the breadth of available applications and content and the ease of developing new services,” said Hojun Nam, Director of LCD TV R&D at LG Electronics. “Plex’s capabilities offer our customers’ additional methods of displaying their content on LG’s next generation TVs and that is exciting to us.”
With its rapidly expanding open platform, Plex is the first and only truly comprehensive digital media management solution that spans both personal and online content. The solution’s simple-to-use and intuitive user interface allows consumers to search, navigate, consume, store and sync digital content from multiple platforms and devices. It requires no additional hardware or technology knowledge, ensuring even the most novice user will easily be able to access their favorite TV programs, movies, photos and more – no matter where they are or what device they want to access it with.
“Plex was developed to provide a simple solution for navigating an increasingly complex digital media landscape. As our access to a greater variety of high-quality content continues to grow and we create more of our own content, it is clear that we need a new way to enjoy and provide a consistent experience across the expanding universe of disparate content sources,” said Cayce Ullman, CEO and co-founder, Plex. “Plex enables LG to more easily offer a wide variety of content sources to consumers using the NetCast™ services.”
Compatibility with mainstream mobile devices, such as iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone products, and soon to be announced Android based products including mobile phones and tablets, ensures that the Plex solution is the industry’s first truly integrated three-screen media platform, allowing a seamless experience across devices and media sources. Plex’s mobile compatibility also allows users access to their content from anywhere, making content consumption and management seamless across all device types – whenever and wherever users prefer.
“We’ve been working hard to build this killer platform, and we have an amazing community who has enabled access to over one hundred online content sources to date” noted Elan Feingold, CTO and co-founder, Plex. “It’s exciting that this content will now be available in a seamless manner on LG’s 2011 NetCast™ enabled TVs and Blu-ray players.”
Third-party developers and owners of content have the ability to develop Plex plug-ins, which will then be available to all Plex users across all devices. Currently, there are nearly 200 plug-ins available through Plex’s service including iTunes, Netflix, CNN, Revision3, YouTube, and many others. Plex for OS X is downloadable for free, with a Windows version to be available later this year. For more information, please visit http://www.plexapp.com.