A perPLEXing problem

A couple of nights ago we were getting ready to watch SNL and had left the tech bubble of my living room for the tech bubble of my bedroom. Living room’s got a Roku, Chromecast and an NVidia Shield.

Bedroom’s got a Vizio smart display. My current setup is I watch TV via an HDHomeRun and antenna that sits on a Plex server that’s not in my house. We’ll cover why that’s done later.

The Roku and the shield downstairs I use Plex on. I switch quite often because the Roku will fail to connect to my Plex server, or occasionally it will decide it’s going to play exactly two seconds of streaming HDHomeRun video and stop. Usually it will bomb out with the titles of movies and shows but just not load the rest.

In those times I switch to the Shield, which has been pretty freaking stable. I don’t think I have a complaint with the shield.

But Saturday was watch some SNL in bed night.

I knew that this wasn’t going to be a good night immediately because the Vizio wouldn’t turn on. I tried both remotes I have and nope it was hard locked to the point I pulled the plug and plugged it back in.

It had locked up during an update… when it came back on it told me about all the new features it could do with Alexa… I didn’t pay much attention as I just wanted to open Plex and start watching SNL, I didn’t have it in mind I was going to be dealing with yet another problem.

There were a lot of new options showing on the SmartCast input, and Plex was way further over than it used to be. Opened it up, noticed immediately it did not look right. It looked like Plex looked before the One UI, and unfortunately it also behaved like that. Live TV was nowhere to be found. It was just gone.

A Plex I’d been using and liked had been rolled back to the version that doesn’t do remote live TV streaming, and as it’s in the SmartCast ecoverse there’s no way to push an update. You still can’t stream live TV from the app to the built-in Chromecast on the Vizio. And as such my night with SNL was replaced with a night of going to bed early.

The next morning we watched the recording the Plex server had made. It handled it fine, but the Roku version of Plex had picked up a new glitch where if I chose to fast forward through commercials the show started over.

I switched to the Shield version of Plex, noted that I could fast forward without restarting the show however no preview windows of what I was at in the show appeared. I just had to guess where I was going.

For a while, about two months ago it was perfect on all my platforms. The loss of fast forward, show images on Roku, dropping remote TV support on the SmartCast version, and continued inability to cast, sure are making it difficult to use it as my exclusive cord-cutting app.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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