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Plex desktop app adds downloads, but removes critical feature

Popular media server software Plex has released a brand new desktop app for Mac and Windows and announced some major changes.

The new app, which is just called “Plex” is designed to replace the current Plex Media Player app on both platforms, with support ending at the end of January 2020.

Most noteworthy among the new features is a new Downloads mode which enables users to enjoy when not connected. It replaces and builds upon the previously titled Sync mode, but will require a Plex Pass subscription to utilise.

In a blog post announcing the new app Plex Inc. wrote: “It’s also built on a much simpler and more reliable mechanism, so downloads start quickly, and give clearer feedback along the way. It’s a bit of a sneak peek at the direction we’re headed with offline media across the board (including the mobile apps).”

Related: Plex for Android update

The new app will also ditch the TV layout because the company is halting support for the traditional HTPC set up involving connecting a PC or laptop to a TV. The firm explained it was a tough decision to make, but said the majority of users do not utilise the desktop app in this manner. It said it’s streaming apps for the Apple TV and Android TV platforms offer a better experience than hooking up to the telly manually.

Plex Inc. added: “It marks the end of an era for us, and we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t a little bittersweet. But take heart. We looked at how most people were using the app, and most of you will have an equal (if not better) experience with a streaming device and our new players.”

It went on: “Our new Apple TV and Android players support nearly all the same formats. And of course modern streaming devices don’t need as much care and feeding as desktop computers. They don’t need to sleep (much), they use a tiny amount of electricity (Al Gore made us say that) and they don’t require nearly as much effort to get up and running.”

The new app is available to download for free for Mac and PC today.

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