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What a week!

New iPods, New iTunes 10 and even a new Apple TV, all announced at Apples special ""Music"" event on September 1st.

However, a couple of days before Apple's announcements, a much smaller group of enthusiastic individuals made their own announcement. A new version of Plex had been launched - Plex/Nine - an amazing Media Center for Mac OS X and iOS.

This week's show takes you through this stunning free media center software and demonstrates how to install and configure on your Mac. I was fortunate to get a pre-release version (only by 24 hours) but it soon became apparent that this was a special release.

But would it be overshadowed by the new Apple TV?

Nope! Not by a long shot!

The new Apple TV looks great, is relatively inexpensive and I've ordered one to feature on a future show.

However, it has it's limitations. Other than freely available internet content, you can only play content rented from the iTunes store or stored in specific formats in your iTunes library on a local machine.

Plex breaks down all these barriers and allows you to play virtually any video format on your Mac. Add in a great selection of plugins for all the major internet based services and access to your iTunes music and iPhoto and Aperture libraries.

Plex becomes the ultimate media center for your Mac. Not only will Plex play your media, it will also automatically enrich your media with metadata from the web - poster art, descriptions, artist information, genres, directors.. a whole host of information downloaded and made accessible to you via the Plex interface.

Plex/Nine takes an already fantastic application to the next level and has been completely re-engineered with a brand new architecture, separating the Plex player away from the media library. No more struggling with entering media from a cumbersome 10 foot interface, you can manage your media directly from your Mac desktop. Metadata acquisition has been improved dramatically, making it easier than ever to catalogue and organise your media automatically.

The best feature of Plex/Nine as far as I'm concerned is the ability to access any Plex Media Server on the network with zero configuration. Just start the Plex viewer on any Mac, and you'll have immediate access to all of the shared media on the network along with all the metadata. Or just have a single Mac with all your media on, accessible by all the Macs on the network - automatically!

Another huge new feature for Plex/Nine is the release of a dedicated iOS app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Remotely control any Plex instance on any Mac, directly from your iOS device. Not only remote control, but stream the video from the Mac to your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad with on the fly transcoding. But more about that in the next supplementary show available in the next few days.

In detail, this week's show covers:

  • Introduction to Plex/Nine
  • Installation
  • Initial Configuration
  • Plex Media Manager
  • Using Plex/Nine on the Mac
  • Amending the Media Library
  • Accessing Multiple Plex Libraries
  • Library Sections
  • Video Plug-Ins - ScreenCastsOnline

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