All this time I’ve been using Sony‘s Media Player on the PS4 to playback my videos, through the Plex Media Server of my iMac. Admittedly, it’s a very basic and rudimentary system, but that worked for me, so I continued using it.
I also used the Beamer app for the iMac, which allowed any video file to be Airplayed on the TV through an Apple TV, and I used it for those quick downloads-and-one-time-viewing instances, mostly. But for the bigger files like movies and TV shows I still used the PS4 Media Player. (Which kept me in Plex upgrade hell, because somehow the newer versions didn’t want to play on the PS4, and I had to hold back and use an older one so I could keep using it. Go figure.)
Then Plex for the PS4 came along. At first it required a paid Plex account, which left all those freeloaders like me in the lurch, so that was out. But a few months ago they relented and allowed non-paying users to use it as a local media server (not as an internet media server, mind you, only local), so that was fine and dandy.
It was fantastic and full featured, showing me pretty menus and specific details on the files and whether or not I’ve started watching them and giving me a breakdown of how much of it I had watched, showed me subtle progress bars on the bottom of the posters and convenient markers on the corners to show me if I haven’t even touched the file yet, and all that. I welcomed it.
But I continued using Media Player to play the vids as it was a simple and already-learned system. Besides, using the Plex app on the PS4 required me to jump through many hoops first to actually get to it, and it took a hell of a long time to start up. A hell of a long time. So I stuck with Media Player, using a older version of Plex Media Server on the iMac from early last year. It was quick and instant, and easy to use, which was perfectly fine for me.
Then I got my new 4th gen Apple TV this week.
The ATV had a new Plex app that came with it (well, I had to download it off the App Store, but it was free). It required me to upgrade Plex Media Server to the latest version on my iMac, so I knew I might have to let go of the PS4 Media Player (and I did; the upgrade borked the PS4 app as usual—at least I’d have the actual Plex PS4 app to fall back on). So I took the plunge, and now I’ve upgraded my viewing pleasure to a full-on, complete Plex experience!
The app starts up quickly on the Apple TV, and features detailed menus and wonderfully laid-out graphics. They thought of everything. It’s a whole new ball game, and I don’t know why I didn’t do this before!
There are still a few differences between the PS4 version and the one on the Apple TV of course. For one, the layout of the files are more compact on the PS4 than the ATV, with the graphics (usually the movie posters) packed more per screen on the PS4 than the leisurely layout on the ATV. Also, the menu choices are more plentiful on the ATV, which was a whole new thing for me. I wish I could show you guys some screengrabs of the differences, but getting them off the Apple TV is a bit involved and requires me to buy a new USB-C cable in the bargain. And you can forget it on the PS4; that sucker won’t even allow you to get a screen capture at all—the software won’t allow it.
So, with this I retire my much-used and -loved PS4 Media Player, and upgrade to the Plex app on the Apple TV. I’ve given the app pride of place on the second row of the app menus, and I expect to give it much use these coming months.
Ain’t progress grand?