Plex gets even sexier, merges with CenterStage

The Plex project (nee XBMC for OS X) has just gotten a little sexier: they have just announced that they are merging with CenterStage, a Media Center like UI for OS X. It looks fantastic. This is just killing me: I'm setting up my first HTPC in a couple weeks, and while I'm almost definitely going with one of those lovely Acer cheapies, Plex just keeps on getting better and better, tempting me down the foolish Mac Mini route. Can anyone recommend anything this nice for HTPCs running Vista? CenterStage [Official Site via Gizmodo]
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11 Responses to Plex gets even sexier, merges with CenterStage

  1. Anonymous says:

    Since Plex is just a port of the Linux port of XBMC, why don’t you stick with a cheap PC and run Linux on it?

  2. bademailname says:

    There’s a program that, of all companies, Microsoft made a few years ago. They’ve designed it to be functional first, pretty second; and I must say it is (mostly) a pleasure to use. It comes bundled with most versions of Vista, and even had its own XP flavor way back in ‘aught-five.

    Maybe you’ve heard of it: Windows Media Center?

    Just about everyone with “digital home” software will have a clone. Nero has one, Roxio has one … just Google “media center software” for a more comprehensive list.

    The point I want to make, though, is all of these companies are trying to duplicate what Media Center already does incredibly well. That the program doesn’t look as beautiful as something like Plex is secondary to functionality, in my opinion.

  3. Matt Katz says:

    I don’t have any tv-in, but I found front row on the mac mini to be comprehensive, if completely unconfigurable.

    Do not underestimate the power of no fans.

  4. John Brownlee says:

    Sarcasm aside, something looking as good as it operates matters to me. I used the words “something as nice” in my post for a reason: I’d like something that is just as nice from both a functionality and aesthetic perspective. Windows Media Center may be what I go with in the end, but it isn’t what I was asking for.

  5. Rick Fletcher says:

    I don’t think it’s clear from any of these plex+centerstage posts I’ve seen in the last few days, but the centerstage UI “demo” is merely a mockup. Although it is a very, very nice looking mockup. The video has been up on centerstage’s site for at least a year and I don’t think they’ve made any progress on actually building it available to the public.

    That said, I’m very happy to see a couple of these OS X media center apps finally merging. There have been a number of them — all with potential — moving at a glacial pace for years. Hopefully this will start to really get the ball rolling… and maybe they can convince the iTheater team to join up, too.

    In the meantime I’ll keep using Front Row with Sapphire.

  6. madzack says:

    i just got one of those popcorn hours and while the UI’s aren’t up to aeon’s level yet…the thing plays everything i throw at it and theres a small but decent sized community of people working on some nice UI’s.

  7. bademailname says:

    Here is where I agree with you that esthetically pleasing software gets the better of me sometimes. It probably gets the better of all of us at one time or another. And here’s a whopper of a disclosure: I don’t personally use Media Center out of habit, because I use several different programs to reach the same ends.

    I decided a long time ago that while some companies do certain things really, really well, no one company can create an application that does everything exceedingly well. Items like Plex and WMC have finally started to scratch the surface – and admittedly Plex offers some very pretty visuals – but nothing has deterred me from using Winamp for audio, WMP or MPC for video, etc.

    I totally understand and appreciate the need for a one-stop shop for media munching. Currently I have no use for such a program, seeing as I don’t own a TV (or TV tuner for that matter), and only have one desktop computer for consumption.

    Have I made enough of an ass of myself? I’ll shut up now.

  8. Itsumishi says:

    Windows Media Centre isn’t all that good. Hasn’t anyone but me noticed that once your library has a few thousand files (these can be simply mp3’s!) that it becomes a huge resource drain?

    I wish Winamp would play video files better because as far as their layout and library’s are concerned they’ve got it spot on. I especially love that little feature when you have a large playlist on random but want to listen to one or two songs before returning to random. Right click ‘add to cue’ done.

  9. Bobsledboy says:

    Centerstage is nice and all, but there’s already a prettier, usable theme for XBMC. It’s called Aeon.

  10. hohum says:

    You could always try to hack OSX into running on your “lovely Acer cheapy,” you know, if you get bored on a Sunday afternoon or something.

    @9, I don’t use playlists either, but rather the library approach of iTunes… drilling down in the browse pane from genre -> artist -> album (or more likely, just artist -> album) is more my style…. I can never get into random though, unless I have a pretty well-defined genre or what-have-you and I feel like having a listen through that…. But if I put my library on random, I end up hitting that “next” button about 30 times between actually listening to tracks… I don’t really like surprises!

  11. bademailname says:

    @ Itsumishi: In Winamp you can also press ‘Q’ to un-randomize the next song on your playlist. Another favorite shortcut is to hit ‘J’ (Jump to file) to search for a particular song and ‘Q’ueue the results.

    And I totally agree with you that Winamp nearly has all my other media players replaced. Unfortunately, video seems to be poorly interpreted by the program, resulting in a distorted, hissing, overdriven audio track. Can’t figure out if it’s a codec issue or just me.

    Here’s a silly question for BB Gadgeteers: Am I the only person in the world that doesn’t create playlists? Instead, I play all my songs on random because I never really know what I’m in the mood for until I hear it. If I don’t want to hear that particular tune, it’s a lovely Next button.

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