Back in September Plex announced an agreement with LG to integrate their software into all their ‘NetCast’ equiped HDTV’s and Blu-ray players from 2011. While we wait for the launch at CES in January we asked the team to reveal some more details on the Plex / LG hook up now. Check out the new video at the bottom of the interview for a new screencast overview of the Plex Media Centre too.
Can you give our readers some background on the link-up between LG and Plex, how it came about and how you see the partnership progressing in the future.
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. Plex’s capabilities offer LG Electronics’ customers additional methods of displaying their content on LG’s next generation TVs. At this point we are excited to have established a relationship with, leading consumer electronics company, LG, and hope to see this relationship grow into a long-term, ongoing partnership.
Will Plex be branded as something else on LG TVs?
Plex will maintain its branding on LG TVs.
Will there be Ethernet sockets on new LG TVs then, or built in WiFi or both?
They have Ethernet jacks, but allow Wi-Fi via a USB dongle.
How many of the Plex development team are going to be employed on the LG project now?
Currently we have a healthy percentage of our team working to finalize the LG project. Our team is also focused on progressing the overall Plex platform and preparing for the upcoming Windows, Android and other versions.
Right now Plex Media Server only runs on a Mac. You mentioned Windows and Android versions?. How about a Linux Plex Media Sever that would run on a NAS? Or will PMS run on the TV itself and pull in media from network shares?
Plex currently runs on Mac, iOS and the upcoming 2011 line of LG NetCast™ enabled HDTVs and Blu-ray devices. As you say, we’ve also have an Android version coming in the near future and hopefully a Windows version of Plex Media Server before the end of the year, in beta form, at least. We also currently have various flavors of Linux PMS running in the labs too. There will be a management interface available on all platforms.
Part of the beauty of Plex is the way support for new codecs and features are constantly being added. Can the version being built into TVs & BR players handle software updates for added features and if so how will this be handled from the users point of view?
LG NetCast™ TVs will point to LG’s SDP (service delivery platform), which is basically an LG instance of the Plex Media Servers running in the cloud. LG will provide an assortment of Plex plug-ins/content that will allow LG NetCast user’s to get a good part of the benefit of Plex without having to run the Plex desktop software (which is really a server as far as the TV is concerned). Additionally, the reason an LG customer might want to download and run the Plex software on a machine in their house is twofold. One, they can install additional plug-ins that may not be available in the LG cloud offering, and two, it will allow them to easily access their local media libraries with a good looking and easy-to-use interface. Firmware updates could address format changes/enhancements, but codecs are handled in hardware.
Will the UI be customisable, for example will users be able to select different skins?
There are two interfaces, one to the SDP, and one to local PMS. Neither are skinnable at this point.
Are you building Plex into all 2011 LG TVs or will they be a special line of models?
Plex will be available on all 2011 NetCast™ enabled HDTVs and Blu-ray devices.
While we wait for pricing an other hardware details from CES in January, is there anything else you can tell our readers?
By embedding the Plex technology directly into consumer electronic devices, we’re creating a simple solution and removing the need for additional hardware steps for consumers to access, search, consumer, store and sync all of their data living on disparate devices. We’re excited to see Plex going mainstream and we have some exciting new features coming along with our highly-anticipated Windows version. We’re also continuing to expand Plex’s compatibility with other devices and will be announcing those soon.