Well we have had a bit of a glitch lately. I realize that being a cord cutter things don’t necessarily go smoothly all the time. Instead of one provider you basically have several and, of course, they don’t really coordinate with each other. They are all independent companies after all.
I had heard that Roku was requiring their app providers to update their apps to use the new Roku API’s. They were soon going to phase out the old API’s and the only choice for providers was to update their app or have it removed from the Roku channel store. For some providers that would result in a complete rewrite. I get it. I was a software developer before I retired. I understand that API’s evolve and that can force you to update and sometimes rewrite your app. It’s painful but unavoidable since you don’t have any control over the API provider. This is just some background for the below description of the pain we went through when PLEX recently updated their app for the Roku player.
Back around mid December I started our Roku and opened the PLEX app. I immediately noticed that the app had been updated. I had heard that a new app was rolling out but I had not yet seen it. Like it or not, now we had it. I went to Live TV and selected our favorite channel and after a few minutes boom an error page popped up. I tried to go back to the channel but I couldn’t get it to load. I exited the app and opened it back up and was able to get back to the channel. Then after a few minutes, sometimes maybe as long as an hour, boom another error screen. This was making watching Live TV a very frustrating experience.
At least the recordings were working and they would play back fine. Because of the problems, most of our Live TV watching went back to the Tablo. We just had to put up with the garble on NBC and CBS. (Those two local channels worked OK on PLEX, until the update that is, when no channel worked right.)
I went to our PLEX server and did some checking and noticed that there was a new update waiting to be applied. I updated the server thinking that it would go just fine and maybe it might help the app work better. I’ve not had any problems applying server updates in the last year we have been using PLEX. Then a day or so after the update, I went to the PLEX app to view a recording and there were problems with the recording. Not just the one recording, but many other recordings that were supposed to be made. I immediately went to the server to see if it was just a PLEX app bug or if it was a server problem. Unfortunately, it was a server problem. This just wouldn’t do. I got online and found out how to roll back an update. Once that was done, I checked the PLEX app and the recording problems were fixed.
I logged in to the PLEX Forums and posted a message about the problems we were having hoping to get a response from someone (hopefully from the PLEX Team) on how to get all this fixed. Maybe I could even find out how to roll back the PLEX app update. I found out that I was not the only one having these problems. At least my misery was shared. I kept checking back each day, and then someone posted about going back to use the PLEX Beta app. It was working for them, no Live TV playback issues. This was fantastic news, I figured out how and installed the Beta app on my Roku. Sure enough, no more playback problems.
In the meantime, PLEX pushed out a new PLEX Media Server update. I crossed my fingers and applied the update. This time there were no problems. At least I didn’t have to wait long for them to fix the server.
I kept going back and checking the forum for updates and someone on the PLEX Team said that they had updated the Preview app and that we should try that. I installed the Preview app a few days ago and have had no problems with playback and also got the long wished for TV Grid for selecting shows. I thanked the PLEX Team for listening and working on the bug. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer and the release version of the app will get updated.
I really like PLEX and want to continue using it. The 5 dollars a month for a PLEX Pass is well worth the value returned. Hopefully for the next update they will do a bit more beta testing before they unleash it on the rest of us again.
Until the production PLEX app is finally fixed, we will continue to use the Preview version. Now everything is back to normal and our TV viewing has become routine again.