Firecore's media player + Plex's metadata

Is there any chance that Firecore could work with Plex so that Plex’s metadata scraping and library managing software can work with aTV Flash’s media player? I love Plex, particularly because it provides the same library experience across all viewing platforms, however I’d much prefer not to need my MBP for media playback. The fact that the metadata scraped by Firecore’s metadata engine and watched/unwatched history won’t match that of Plex is an issue for many Plex users like myself. I’d instantly buy aTV Flash right now if this was an option and would even pay a premium to Plex if necessary.

It’s an interesting idea, though there are a few issues I see right off the bat.

  1. Streaming performance - right now MP is using AFP/SMB and buffers/caches video to ensure smooth playback. If PMS handled the streaming I don't know if it would be able to stream files fast enough.
  2. PMS server requirement - Using Plex works well for people with a Mac/PC they want to leave running 24/7, though many others simply have a NAS drive they want to stream from. Requiring them to have Plex running is a step backwards and far less flexible.
  3. Upcoming versions of MP will have substantially improved metadata fetching and browsing options (eye candy). Once these are added, the only thing you're missing would be a synced watched/unwatched history. Adding a plugin to sync the watch history with Plex may make far more sense than actually integrating the two plugins.

Hope this helps.

James,

This is great to hear. I love plex, but the reason I love it is the UI. 

My hope is that the following features would be enabled;

  1. Grid view for Movies (this would include complete folder collapsing)

  2. Showing only the files that are meaningful. IE, I don’t need to see meta data files like images, banners etc in the Media folder

  3. Moving from a folder structure completely and more into a graphical representation of my media. I organize my media in folders by episode and then by season. I don’t need to see that in the player. I just want to see a tile for the show, tiles for the seasons, then listing of the episodes w/titles.

Note: Sickbeard handles all of my post processing for me, so I don’t need a strong media processor, I just want a cleaner UI for the media player as I feel my media structure is pretty clean

  1. The ability to only show non-watched episodes. i use the system pretty much as a DVR. I don’t want to have to scroll through all my folders, or look at my computer to see if the latest episode downloaded appropriately overnight. 

Thanks for the reply.

I think the point is that MP would handle the streaming, not the PMS. For example, let’s say you have two Macs in your household both with Plex installed. Even if PMS was running on Mac1, and Mac2 was simply used as a client, when playing media, Mac2 handles the playback - meaning Mac1 doesn’t have to handle the streaming/transcoding/whatever… It could operate on a similar principle: PMS would handle the metadata while Firecore’s MP handled playback.

I agree that requiring a Mac/PC to be running on the network is a drawback to Plex in this case. While it’s necessary for playback on the iPhone/iPad, the whole point is to avoid this for the Apple TV. What you say about a plugin to sync the history makes a lot of sense.

Alternatively (and not necessarily directly related to this discussion), a web-based platform to handle the metadata seems to make a lot of sense to me. Essentially, the meta-data can be saved in the cloud and easily synced across multiple platforms. How this would work with Plex is another discussion entirely, I’m just wondering if this is even a remote possibility.

The issue isn’t just watched/unwatched, but the meta-data itself. If there’s a way to sync the metadata in Plex with that in MP (as a two-way sync at least for watched/unwatched and a one-way sync for the rest), then I agree this would be a better option. Is something like this in any way planned?

I brought this discussion up for a couple reasons.

  1. There is some interest in the Plex community of users for this. This is a discussion that just started: http://forums.plexapp.com/index.php/topic/29322-use-firecores-media-player-as-a-backend/ which highlights this.
  2. Firecore could substantially benefit from leveraging the Plex community. Understandably, Plex is interested in developing it's own client, especially if Apple opens up the platform for third-party applications. Because I do use Plex for transcoding content to my iPhone (and an iPad 3 when it comes out), I will never completely abandon that platform unless a better alternative becomes available. In my view, Plex is the best HTPC software available (on the Mac/PC) right now and it's metadata manager makes things incredibly easy and if far far more flexible than anything else out there (this, for example, is why I strongly prefer Plex to XBMC). If Firecore's MP could leverage this in some way, I imagine that many Plex users would purchase aTV Flash.

I’m not sure exactly how something of this sort should be executed, but what I am hoping is that Plex and Firecore open up a line of communication between the two developer communities to discuss this possibility. That’s all I am really hoping for.