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ATV3 and PlexConnect

Finally, my ATV3 has got some use. PlexConnect is a way to access the Plex Media Server without having to jailbreak ATV3. It is brilliant. The basic idea is to trap one of the app that is in the Apple TV already – the install will suggest the Trailers. You run a script in your server that is like a DNS, except that it is only looking for the Trailers request and passes everything else to your real DNS (the default is to pass it to the Google DNS. 8.8.8.8). It will redirect the Trailer request to the Plex Media Server instead.

The only setting you do in the Apple TV is set the DNS to point to your server. Therefore, it can work on an un-jailbroken ATV2 or 3.

Some of the problems I encounter were:

  1. I needed to change my Apache Web Server to listen to anything other than Port 80. PlexConnect needed Port 80.
  2. Subtiles for m4v video files do not work as they are played direct without transcoding. The work around is to force transcoding for the subtitles to work. This maybe a Plex limitation though and not PlexConnect.
  3. The script runs via command line but I found a post that describes how I can run PlexConnect as a service in Ubuntu

Otherwise – it is sweet – almost worked as advertised off the shelf.

30-June-2013

There are some lessons learned here. I upgraded to the latest PlexConnect for my Ubuntu Server. Using instructions from the net, it can be started as a service. I also deleted the Plex apps running on my jailbroken ATV2 and just redirected the Trailer app to Plex. However, I got an error saying my current ATV2 version is not supported by PlexConnect – so I tried upgrading ATV2 to the latest one supported by sn0wbreeze. Confident that it will work, I did not bother backing up my SHSH with TinyUmbrella.

This is where I learned that Apple signs the firmware versions and if they are no longer signed – you can not jailbreak. The currently signed ATV2 version is 5.3, the jailbreak version to date is 5.2. My recourse would have been to downgrade to my previous version which I don’t have, or to upgrade via iTunes to 5.3 and wait for the jailbreak version to come out. Bummer. Now I’ve lost my beloved XBMC which can not be installed until jailbroken – even then, I would still wait for XBMC to be supported also in 5.3.

This Firecore post will probably be visited regularly by until these happens – http://forum.firecore.com/topic/3418

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