Back in the mists of time (i.e. 2006), I installed a home cinema setup here: a Denon AVR with 7.1 audio, B&W speakers, and a Bluray player connected to the TV. After four years of service, I began to wonder if I could replace the Bluray player with a PC – a Home Theater PC… Six weeks later, after some research, I had made the move.
Over the next few years the setup evolved further, but in 2014 it became clear that I would need to change the player software used in the HTPC. I looked at two alternatives, Plex and Emby. I used both, but over time came to depend on Plex as being the more polished alternative. It was not perfect, but for TV and Movie viewing, it was my preferred choice.
A few days ago, Plex dropped a bomb. In their blog, they proudly announced a new version of their Desktop app. And buried further down in the text I read this:
The new desktop app is notably lacking TV mode, which means that we’re going to stop supporting the traditional HTPC setup (using a desktop computer connected to your TV or home theater) with this app. There. We said it. It marks the end of an era for us, and we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t a little bittersweet. But take heart. We looked at how most people were using the app, and most of you will have an equal (if not better) experience with a streaming device and our new players.
No, I will not “take heart”. My HTPC is working perfectly well, and I’ve very happy with our home cinema setup as it is. I do not want to have to throw away my HTPC and buy a streamer, thank you very much.
I suspect I’m going to be switching back to Emby in the near future. I’m not feeling very charitable towards Plex at the moment.
Addendum 19 August 2019: I see that fellow HTPC owners are spitting feathers over at the Plex forum at the moment. It won’t make a blind bit of difference – Plex management has made it clear that the Plex Media Player for the HTPC is dead as far as they are concerned.
So I’ve switched back to Emby – where Emby management has also made it clear that they have no plans to drop support for the HTPC.
Addendum 2 – 23 August 2019: so as a result of the uproar, Plex management has been having second thoughts. I’ll still be sticking with Emby for a while, just to see how it performs compared to Plex. I have already noticed that Emby is now beginning to support photo metadata tags – something that Plex has been promising to do for at least the past five years, but somehow never got around to doing anything about.