Summary:

Plex is giving its Windows and OS X clients a refresh, adding AirPlay and code from XBMC’s latest Frodo project. The software also got a new name, but will initially only be available to paying subscribers daring enough to try pre-release software.

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Media center app Plex is getting refresh on the desktop that includes a new code base, new features like AirPLay support and even a new name: Plex is now calling its software for Windows and OS X “Plex Home Theater.” The new version is initially only available to paying PlexPass subscribers, and Plex developer Elan Feingold cautioned users in a blog post that this version is still a bit experimental:

“It’ll crash, and hang, and possibly even overwater your house plants. We’ll be updating it frequently, and when it’s ready to come out of the oven, we’ll release it for everyone.”

So what does the new version have to offer? First of all, it’s based on the newest code from the open source XBMC project, code-named Frodo. It also supports AirPlay, HD audio and 10bit H.264 video. And apparently, the integration of XBMC code has been improved to make future updates easier.

Now, about that name change. Previously, the PC version was called “Plex Media Center,” and Feingold said that too many people confused the product with the similarly-named Plex Media Server.

However, the renaming also seems to hint at a bigger shift for Plex: The app used to be all about getting people to connect their PCs to their TV screens, which used to be the only way to enjoy a rich media center experience. But in the last two years, Plex has come out with numerous clients for devices like Roku, Google TV and Smart TVs from LG and Samsung as well as apps for iOS and Android.

With that, connecting your PC to your TV has become more of a choice than a necessity. Something that people do to get the most out of their expensive home theater setup – but not for the bedroom TV that works just fine with a Roku box.

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