Plex for the BlackBerry PlayBook now available - Stream your personal media, Netflix and more!

Plex for PlayBook
By Bla1ze on 19 Nov 2012 05:57 pm EST
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Many folks have asked for it, many folks said it couldn't be done and there were even some heated exchanges between the BlackBerry community and Plex. With that all in the past now, Plex for BlackBerry PlayBook has arrived.

In order to get things working, you download the Plex app and the Plex media server to your PC, Mac, Linux machine and set it up. Once set up, you can stream all your content to your BlackBerry PlayBook plus, you can add channels that allow for further access to such things as Rdio, Hulu, YouTube and yes, even Netflix.

The app itself, is an Android port but it works and it works well. Right now, you'll find Plex available in BlackBerry App World for $4.99 which is on par with that of it's offering across other platforms such as Android and iOS.

We'll have a review up soon but for now, I can easily suggest you grab this one without hesitation if you're looking for a streaming solution. Need to know more about Plex? Check out their site for further information. Thanks, @58_doe.

Download Plex for BlackBerry PlayBook

Reader comments

Plex for the BlackBerry PlayBook now available - Stream your personal media, Netflix and more!

82 Comments

can't wait to buy this and try it out... would be nice if it showed up in my PlayBook Appworld. Can't download from desktop appworld either. Hopefully I can get it soon though, been looking forward to getting this app.

Have seen some friends running this on their android device and the streaming was amazing!

You download the app to your playBook. You download the server app to your computer. You tell the server app where the content is that you wish to stream. You open the app on your PlayBook. You stream the content off your computer to your PlayBook. Should you want more content, than what is on your PC -- you add the "channels" ie: Netflix, Hulu, Rdio. All those channels then appear in the app on your PlayBook and are then accessible for streaming to your PlayBook.

Must you be on your home network to access the streams? Or can you stream Netflix (in particular) from a coffee shop down the street, or the other side of the country?

It is actually both. The default setting allows you to watch it only on your home network. However, if you have a static ip address, you can upload it to the myplex servers and you can watch it from anywhere and you can also share your servers with others.

You do not require a static IP to do this. myPlex acts as a DynDNS/Authentication/Sharing system all in one - you simply need to log your server into it and your remote devices then connect back to your server - nothing is uploaded anywhere.

I'm not familiar with this app but does this mean that BB won't really need a Netflix app anymore? Or is there still a reason for people to demand having specifically a Netflix app on BB?

~I am BlackBerry by choice~

There would still be a demand, because this involves using a compnent running on your PC in order for it to work. A standalone Netflix app would be better but this a partial solution.

This is a good step I guess, if I understand its use correctly. But what I'd like to see, is for the PlayBook to be the media streamer, instead of just a media viewer. I want to connect an external hard drive filled with media to my PlayBook and then have an app that catalogues and fetches info for said media. With my PlayBook connected to my TV via HDMI, I'd like to then sit back and use my BlackBerry bridge remote to control my PlayBook and watch movies until my eyes fall out.

I have a Boxee Box, the good kind before Boxee went and sh!t all over their customers, and I'd LOVE to get Boxee Box, XBMC(Plex?), functionality on my PlayBook without the need for another computer running.

1. You can do this if you use a WiFi-equipped hard drive. There are various products out there like this, some more expensive than others. Here's a link to one that is known to work with the Playbook:

http://www.seagate.com/external-hard-drives/portable-hard-drives/wireles...

2. An alternative would be to try an plug your hard drive into a USB-equipped router. Some of those have the ability to stream wirelessly to devices. I have not been able to get that to work with my Playbook, and I suspect it's because there still is no DLNA support.

So option 1. is probably your best bet.

I personally cant stand there Android ports. It's like they are just tossing us a bone to shut us up. It's like a slap to the face. But something is better than nothing I guess.

These devs are testing the PlayBook waters. If folks get on these apps, there will be more interest in developing for PlayBook and more interest in writing native PlayBook apps. I know there is probably only 3 million PlayBooks out there, but that's still a decent market share if even half those users bite. Look how many PlayBook folks registered with box.net. 1 million new users isn't bad!

LOL BINGO! Been enjoying Netflix and a ton of other channels for awhile you guys. Ya'll have to realize, when you have a TOOL as powerful as the Playbook, you don't really need Apps. This is the brainwashing that Apple has implemented...WAKE UP!!! And I'm talking NO WI-FI!!!

What's Plex got that the native Splashtop ain't got? Or Streaming Now? or FileHub? Would be good to know before going android over native...

All I think of when I see their name is their April Fools joke. But nit to see this on the PlayBook.

I bought this app as soon as I saw Bla1ze's post. I was excited since I wrote the post back on April Fools day regarding how poor taste the Plex joke was in.

Anyway, I use Plex at home every day. I have it on my iMac, iPad and AppleTVs (2) jail broken. SO wanted it for my Playbooks!

Alas, it crashes every single time I tell it to play a movie from my server. Every single time

Il install it on my other PB and see what happens.

Play with the settings, they're not optimal 'out of the box'.. each file, depending on what type it is can require some adjustment.

Update:  It works now, but it is NOT nearly as good as the iPad app.

Here's the reason it crashed on me every single time:  You have to swipe down, go into settings, click advanced settings and put a check mark in the "Device Supports HLS" area.

 Then it plays my content.  But I will tell you that HD movies stream like crap compared to the iPad app.  Watchable, and the kids will like it.  But I don't think HDMI to a big TV will look very good.

 

 

Hi Chris,

You can increase the quality by going to settings and choosing a higher stream rate in the Video quality section.

Okay I didn't even notice the bandwidth / video quality settings initially. I prefer the simplicity of the iOS app because no tweaking get is needed.  That said, now that I've upped the quality to 3 Mbs the picture looks good even for an HD MKV file. 

The Plex folks should have packaged the app to use, by default, settings thst actually work for a PlayBook. Dumb of them to launch something that, using default settings, crashes every time. 

Chris,
I am an avid plex user and have been involved in many posts regarding the playbook and android port, I don't know that the plex devs were directly involved in the Android port, looking at the description/ write up in appworld and a few posts / conversations I've had with one of the plex users, I believe that one of the community members was involved in the port, and therefore may not have known, or thought of changing settings to something optimal for the playbook prior to submitting it to appworld,... Just a suspicion I have!!!! I think this may be a bad thing, as the "less knowlegable" user ks going to find this app crashes, with no idea on why.... Could lead to alot of negative reviews. Something like " be sure to enable hls" should have been part of their instructions on appworld prior to download!

I do agree that the ios app is much nicer with its automatic bandwidth setting.... I've been using the Android ports for a while now, and this one seems to be running better than ever!!!

I'm curious to know if the iPad version actually automatically configures or the default is designed to work with Apple devices by default.

The IOS app has automatic quality settings as the apple software makes that functionality available to the player - there is also a lot less to configure as IOS just makes a lot of it work, whereas with Android they are having to support something like 2000 different device profiles which 1) is a nightmare in itself and 2) leads to many more options needing to be exposed so they can be tweaked.

Yah, I am also curious how this compares to Splashtop. Also, I am often where the wifi isn't so great. What download speed do you thnk is the minimum for movies?

I purchased Splashtop to stream Netflix from my computer. The quality is crap. Plus it displays full screen on the PB only if you select the native resolution from your comp.

5 Mbps down, 512k up. Works fine for Netflix but not streaming it through Splastop.

PlayOn does a lot more than this. Its great for some, but wont meet my needs. Congrats to those waiting for this though.

I did just download the server and check it out. So I can say I tried it

I bought the app, setup the media server on my PC and can play media from there. I can't find the netflix channel though :( I can only find a forum post saying that it's only available in the US!

It's not only available in the U.S. that I'm aware of,  I'm in Canada and added it. Open the app, go to channels and scroll all the way to the end where it says 'More Channels'.. you should then be able to add Netflix. That's how I added it.

Finally found it in More Channels -> More - > Foreign.

So it's installed, I logged in and can see my instant queue and everything, but it won't play anything. I had to then restart Plex and it worked. Very cool! At home I get much better video/audio than I do with splashtop. I'd say better than orb as well!

Pretty psyched to have Farscape at work now! Though the internet is significantly slower there then at home.

If you just want to stream your own media and run linux, it is fairly trivial to setup apache (or whatever your favourite webserver is) and have it's root directory point to where your media is (or setup a sim link). Then just point your playbook's browser to the ip of where you setup the webserver on.

My playbook streams ~90% of my media extremely well via this method.. even jumping in time/skipping works great.

Almost no work at all and no third party apps needed (but of course this is no solution if you need hulu/netflix/etc)

Not sure if I'm doing something wrong, but why can't I find "Netflix" when I go to add channels?

Also, the app quality sucks, even for an android port. Horrible.

I found it in More Channels -> More... -> Foreign

For some reason...

Once I installed it and logged in, I had to close the app and reopen it to get it to actually stream anything.

I remember these people didn't like BlackBerry very much earlier this year... at least they're selling an Android repackaged app. Yeah, it's better than nothing and prevent loss of revenue from sideloading the app. I just hope that if the app sells well, they won't forget BlackBerry users and put someone on our case to develop the app natively for BB10.

I will still give it a shot after work tonight and support them.

When I go to the preferences in the media server, and try to server to myplex, I get an error that it was unable to connect to your server, which appears to mean I wasted $5. Anyone out there that can tell me what I'm doing wrong?

Okay...here is the problem I have with netflix being streamed through a sever app on a machine. It uses say 5mbps to stream to machine and than 5 mbps to stream to playbook. Now if you have a few devices on the same network, good luck with even opening an email. So please, all the app devs, come up with a sever solution so that I could stream from there.

I installed the server, the issue is when I try to publish my server to myplex so that I can find it on the playbook, unless this step is not needed?

Chris wrote :
"Update:  It works now, but it is NOT nearly as good as the iPad app.
Here's the reason it crashed on me every single time:  You have to swipe down, go into settings, click advanced settings and put a check mark in the "Device Supports HLS" area.
 Then it plays my content.  But I will tell you that HD movies stream like crap compared to the iPad app."

I fell you bro,

Guys it works perfect first make sure you enable Device Supports HLS under advanced settings, if you get annoyed about the error message uninstall and reinstall and reselect that. I've noted it to the devs, so look out for an update. As far as playback goes did you change the default quality settings under "Settings" the default is 1.5mbps for local and 720kbps for remote - I can locally change it to 20mbps and you cant possibly tell me you could get a better picture than that and if you need proof go to http://plexnews.blogspot.com and look at the screen shots transcoding or direct playing. Remote quality you will have to adjust depending in where your at and their download speed at home I set it at 20mbps on BlackBerry Bridge 3G I use 720kbps and quality is still pretty damn good because Plex offers higher bitrates on 3G connections awesome! If you ever have any questions or concerns reach out on the Plex forums @ http://www.plexapp.com/forums or click the chat icon on the forums and I am usually there and more than willing to help with any issues

The server component doesn't do anything silly with the files on my server, does it? I already have all my movies and TV shows organized and sorted with MyMovies and don't want anything changed.

Also, does the server component transcode media at all or do the files have to be supported on the PlayBook?

PlayBook needs USB hosting and DLNA so we don't need stupid apps like this one. Can you imagina, having the computer on just to view NetFlix on your big screen TV? Not worth the $5 to me. We want a native App that streams this directly not one that you need to install a program on your PC then stream from it to your PB.

Here's why I'm not buying this app:
1) It's not native - not paying full price for a port
2) It seems like there was no attention to detail
3) Not optimised for PlayBook settings, no auto config
4) There is no information on the Plex website about this app. They don't even mention BlackBerry anywhere so the support is non-existent.

All the more reason why you SHOULD buy the app - they are testing the PlayBook waters & it is a unique offering regardless.

This is so stupid. You still have to use your computer as the server, you can't actually access netflix from your PB directly.

Works AWESOME! Great way of organizing and accessing media from your computer. With the brand new PLEXSYNC feature (pay $) you could carry typically incompatible content (MKV) with you on your PlayBook. Thanks to PLEX for bringing this to the PlayBook - even if it ist he Android version ported. I look forward to a native BB10 version some day - but in the mean time, this is wicked.

This works. Don't forget to set Device Supports HLS ON.

What I like is that you can go all the way to 20mbps, giving you a pretty decent streaming quality.

This is a good sign, we might see it on BB10 on launch date! Native!

I don't see how this is better than PlayOn. PlayOn doesn't even need an app on the playbook since the client is browser based.
The Playon server component is the only piece you need (try it free) and it has been rock solid. I am in Canada and use it to stream Netflix to my playbook at home and in the wild over my Bold 9900 3G bridge connection.
I have even share a limited amount of my media so that I can watch short episodes on the go.

Like Plex server, once Playon server is running in your network, pretty much everything becomes a client / consumer. I have used it on PS3, XBMC, iPad, Playbook, PCs, iMac. iPod touch.

ah, Playon is subscription based. You can buy all the Plex clients and use Plex on all the devices you have listed there for less than 1/2 of what the cheapest playon subscription costs. (technically, now Plex/Web is out you can watch it on all those device for free)

"By: BrizzadMan
Works AWESOME! Great way of organizing and accessing media from your computer. With the brand new PLEXSYNC feature (pay $) you could carry typically incompatible content (MKV) with you on your PlayBook. Thanks to PLEX for bringing this to the PlayBook - even if it ist he Android version ported. I look forward to a native BB10 version some day - but in the mean time, this is wicked"

PLEXSYNC its aviable just for iOS right now,