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Plex media server comes to non-jailbroken Apple TVs with new hack

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks to an innovative hack, owners of the Apple TV set-top box can now get access to the popular media server software Plex without having to "jailbreak" their devices.



Dubbed PlexConnect, the hack was developed by Plex users Baa, roidy, and f00b4r. It involves running a program that pretends to be Apple's Trailers app on a computer connected to the Apple TV and changing a network setting on the Apple TV. Those two acts combined essentially fool the Apple TV into accepting Plex content without having to "jailbreak," or hack the device to run unauthorized code.

The workaround gives tech savvy Apple TV owners a way to have access to yet another media service. Plex allows users to organize their videos, photos, and music, but the software has until now been unavailable on non-jailbroken Apple TVs.

Jailbreaking an Apple TV or any iOS device can be a risky affair, as users will at the very least void the warranty, and at worst could render their device non-functional. Jailbreaking iOS-powered devices like the Apple TV and iPhone allows users to run code not approved by Apple, opening up new features and capabilities.

As it is a workaround it is possible that future Apple TV firmware updates could disable PlexConnect. Given that the Plex community developed the hack, though, any such feature loss would likely result in a quick adaptation of code to reenable PlexConnect.

A version of Plex for the iPhone and iPad is available in the iTunes App Store. It allows users to stream and navigate content from their and their friends' Plex servers over Wi-Fi or a cellular connection.
post #2 of 23
There goes the demand for after market 2nd gen Apple TV's.
post #3 of 23
Clever!

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #4 of 23
Hmmmm, they must have copied some code Beamer app was using....... Still good to see that more apps are breaking loose from Apple's chains.
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Clever!

How hard would it be for Apple to fix the 'hole' in an update?
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #6 of 23
Every time jailbreaking is mentioned in an article on this site, the statement is made that this voids the warranty. Apple has never made such a claim. They are always careful to say it "may" void the warranty because there are a lot of legal and regulatory restrictions under what conditions warranty coverage can be denied. Unless Apple can demonstrate that the jailbreaking actually caused the problem which the warranty coverage is being requested, it cannot deny coverage. This is settled law and not open to anyone's opinion that it should be otherwise.
Edited by focher - 6/5/13 at 8:02am
post #7 of 23

Plex is a very smart program.  I'm sure Apple will find a way to "fix" this.

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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post #8 of 23
I use the AirVideo app on my iPhone and iPad, together with AirPlay to achieve the same effect far more conveniently and without hacking. If you want to run things directly from your laptop you could use AirParrot instead.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

Plex is a very smart program.  I'm sure Apple will find a way to "fix" this.

 

I doubt it.  Unless Apple support starts getting a bunch of calls related to this, I can't see why Apple would bother.  The percentage of AppleTV owners who will learn about this is probably in the single digits and a tiny fraction of them will try it out.  If this were an iPhone or iPad hack, Apple would be all over it, but not AppleTV.

 

On the other hand... if this clues Apple in to a more generic "exploitable" issue with iOS in general, then yeah they will fix it.  But then it really would be a fix and not a quote-unquote "fix."

post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

How hard would it be for Apple to fix the 'hole' in an update?

I'd guess it would be pretty simple.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by focher View Post

Every time jailbreaking is mentioned in an article on this site, the statement is made that this voids the warranty. Apple has never made such a claim. They are always careful to say it "may" void the warranty because there are a lot of legal and regulatory restrictions under what conditions warranty coverage can be denied. Unless Apple can demonstrate that the jailbreaking actually caused the problem which the warranty coverage is being requested, it cannot deny coverage. This is settled law and not open to anyone's opinion that it should be otherwise.

quite..

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3743?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


How hard would it be for Apple to fix the 'hole' in an update?

 

Or they could introduce an Apple TV app store instead of blocking it.

post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by focher View Post

Every time jailbreaking is mentioned in an article on this site, the statement is made that this voids the warranty. Apple has never made such a claim. They are always careful to say it "may" void the warranty because there are a lot of legal and regulatory restrictions under what conditions warranty coverage can be denied. Unless Apple can demonstrate that the jailbreaking actually caused the problem which the warranty coverage is being requested, it cannot deny coverage. This is settled law and not open to anyone's opinion that it should be otherwise.

 

The only problem with jailbreaking is you cant service the device if its jailbreak. You need to put back the original solftware before. The problem is some users are unable to do it and they are left with a broken product.

post #14 of 23

I tried Plex media server and it seemed to take over my iMac.  It was a chore to uninstall it!   With iTunes I can stream videos to any Apple TV in my house, or any iPad, or iPhone.  Apple has Netflix and Hulu, etc.  I can also purchase a great deal of content from the iTunes store.  I just don't feel that Plex is worth it.
 

post #15 of 23

I tried Plex for a while with my MacMini and TV, but it somehow just didn't gel well. Apple then re-released the Apple TV in India and I went for it. Guess I am Apple's target market - make it simple enough!!

post #16 of 23

I can stream directly from my network storage to my Samsung TV.  There's no need to have a PC running itunes or plex.  I use the Apple TV mostly for Netflix and the occasional rental from itunes.  I've yet to find a nice way to stream from TV websites though.  Most seem to use flash so airplay won't work. 

post #17 of 23
Let's hope Apple disables this hack the right way: By allowing third party apps on the AppleTV. I will be watching WWDC and keeping my fingers crossed.
post #18 of 23

Hmmmm, they must have copied some code Beamer app was using....... Still good to see that more apps are breaking loose from Apple's chains.



Why would you say something like this? This doesn't use Airplay, which is what Beamer uses (nothing against Beamer, but it's an Airplay video player with transcoding built-in, not different from the Plex client for iOS, for example, when sending video to an ATV).
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by focher View Post

Unless Apple can demonstrate that the jailbreaking actually caused the problem which the warranty coverage is being requested, it cannot deny coverage.

If Apple is presented with a problematic, jailbroken device, I believe the burden of proof will reside on the consumer, not Apple, to show that the jailbreak isn't responsible.

post #20 of 23

I hope apple puts a plex player app on the apple tv themselves, that would be awesome!!!.

post #21 of 23

Why in the world would Plex be allowed on the Apple TV? It's an iTunes replacement. Apple isn't about to let people manage their files with anything but iTunes.

 

And who the heck wants to navigate freaking folder trees in the first place? I've never understood Plex and all those others; it's such a horrible solution.

 

The content viewable THROUGH Plex could certainly receive their own Channels on the Apple TV, but Plex itself I don't see.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Why in the world would Plex be allowed on the Apple TV? It's an iTunes replacement. Apple isn't about to let people manage their files with anything but iTunes.

 

 

It's available on other iOS devices.

JLL

95% percent of the boat is owned by Microsoft, but the 5% Apple controls happens to be the rudder!
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JLL

95% percent of the boat is owned by Microsoft, but the 5% Apple controls happens to be the rudder!
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post #23 of 23
Originally Posted by JLL View Post
It's available on other iOS devices.

 

Other iOS devices ≠ Apple TV.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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