Plex was a great piece of software. I’ve used it for years. I’ve ranted and raved about it to many people, both online and IRL. I run the client on a Roku 2 and 3, in two different rooms in my house. I run the Plex Media Server in a Docker container on CentOS 6.7. Until Friday night, August 28th, 2015, it worked like a charm.
Apps on the Roku automatically update. So, when I sat down with a hot plate of food Friday night, after a long hard day at work, I expected to turn on my TV and select something fun to watch on my Roku. When I selected the Plex app, however, I saw was a message asking me to go to a URL and type in a PIN.
Hold it right there. Friday night. Hot food on the table. You want me to do what? Are you kidding me? I’m already pissed off to start this process.
A new version of the Plex app had installed itself since the previous night when I used it. So, I grab my phone and typed in the URL. Oh, it wants me to login. Well, I probably have an account, but I never use it, because I never need to before. So I fumble around for a while and start the password reset procedure. But, my food is getting cold, so 15 minutes in I bail and switch to the Amazon Instant Video app to watch something while I eat.
When I finish eating I’m just too pissed off to enjoy watching anything. So, I recover the password on my long forgotten account and type in the PIN. The Plex app wakes up and tells me No Supported Servers Found. OK, I know what the problem is, my Plex Media Server can’t broadcast to the local network. So, I’ll just manually enter the server into the Plex Roku app. But there isn’t a way to do that.
A trip to the computer and to the Plex forums. Yeah, I’m not the only one on this Friday night that’s wasting time messing around with Plex instead of enjoying some videos. There are a lot of people really pissed off about bugs in the new app, ones that I can’t experience because I can’t even use the new app.
They key piece of information I glean from the forums, however, is there is a new Roku app called Plex Classic. Here’s the procedure:
- Go to this URL: https://owner.roku.com/add/plexclassic.
- On your Roku check for updates (or wait up to 24 hours).
- Setup all your Plex options again. For me, that was enter the server address manually. And tweak a bunch of UI things, like turning off background music, etc.
All told, with 2 Roku devices, from start to finish, I spent about 1.5 hours. On Friday night. When I wanted to be relaxing.
Ironically, earlier this week, I saw a thread on reddit where a Plex user asked: is the Premium subscription worth it? There were many replies and almost every single one said that it was worth it, for a variety of reasons. Some for features. Some to support development of an excellent product. The lifetime subscription used to be $75. It’s now $150. I was seriously considering throwing down $150 for a lifetime subscription. I won’t be doing that now. All the good will they built up had me on the precipice of donating to them. And look what they did.
Let’s recount the fuckups by the people that made the decisions at Plex:
- Requiring login in a product update (to a product I purchased, by the way).
- No manual server entry.
- Deploying on a Friday, which for many working people means they’ll first see it on a Friday night when they sit down to relax.
- Replacing a functional app with a completely new and untested one. What plex.tv should have done is to make a new app and advertise that app in the old app. That would have allowed people to update on their own schedule and to give feedback while not perturbing their current setup.
And, even if people only ever saw #1 above, I still consider that a screwing over. It alone would force people to spend time doing something unnecessary when they likely didn’t want to do it.
UPDATE: a commenter suggest the free and open source emby.