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What is the point of an app setting "Auto-play ... 'Up Next'..." = checked if...

PegasusRiderPegasusRider Posts: 19Members ✭✭

It doesn't seem to work?

Maybe I misunderstand the purpose, but in my mind it means...

if I'm playing a shuffled mix of all my movies... it will finish one, start the next in the random list it made... automagically, without waiting for me to tap play on the up-next screen.
if I'm playing a series of a show... it will finish an episode, and then play the next unwatched episode... again automagically, without my having to tap play on the up-next screen.

There was a time it worked like this, consistently, on android... now sometimes it works (for movies) but with an arbitrarily set wait time (something else I'm not really fond of) but sometimes it doesn't. And I've yet to have it work with a series. The only thing it does seem to work with is user-defined playlists (qualifier: it's been a couple android updates since I checked with playlists), which while nice that it works in this case, is not really practical in a large library of series and defeats the purpose of tracking watched vs unwatched to boot. (a playlist for each series? really?) Nor is it practical for playing random movies from the library, which I like to do often since I don't always know what I'm in the mood to watch and am willing to at least give a random offer a chance rather than have to seek through everything by hand to see what strikes my fancy at the moment.

My smart TV's (2 different brands) work this way (thank goodness) as do my windows computers (at least last I checked, though honestly I don't watch on my computers until I'm out of other options). Shouldn't behavior be consistent (as much as possible) across player platforms? This doesn't seem a hardware dependent issue to me, but again, perhaps I'm mistaken.

If I misunderstand the intent of the setting, I'd sure appreciate an accurate interpretation. If, however, I've got it right, is this going to get corrected... and if so is there an ETA?

Thanks!

Best Answer

Answers

  • MovieFan.PlexMovieFan.Plex Posts: 16,036Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Employee

    Can you describe your exact steps? I'm not able to reproduce. Here's what I did.

    • Enter a movie library
    • Hit the shuffle button
    • After movie starts playing, jump to the end
    • Movie finishes, I'm shown the post-play screen with the next movie and a play button waiting for me to hit it

    Your comment earlier about using a playlist is actually the opposite. Using a playlist will bypass the post-play screen and play every item in the list without stopping.

  • PegasusRiderPegasusRider Posts: 19Members ✭✭

    If I could skip the Post-Play screen entirely, that would suit me fine. When I'm auto-playing I don't care what I just saw or what's coming next, so having a screen to tell me isn't of any use... TO ME. It's a preference for which there is no setting to set, its not directly allowed for. I understand. I could get around it with a playlist when it's that important. But generally, it is not that important as the overall inconvenience of that many playlists and/or creating them would outweigh the benefit of going that route.

    Most often, auto-play is an adequate replacement... but not on android in mobile mode.

    I run android 5.0 on an Asus Tablet.

    From the Plex/Settings/Experience Screen: Play theme music, Show background art, and Auto Play are all checked.

    For shuffled movies, the actual rate of auto-playing the "next" movie is nearer to 75% of the time (with the 10 second delay on the post play screen). It will play 3 to 4 movies and then stop auto-playing, requiring me to tap play to begin the cycle again... though it is as likely to be 2-3 movies as 3-4 until I have to do this again.

    With TV shows, I actually did get 1 auto-play between episodes after 3 seasons (22- 26 episodes per season) of show (after I posted above). And about 1 auto-play per season after that. Otherwise, I must tap the play button to continue for each episode.

    My server is up to date on a fairly fast Windows 10 machine (even when transcoding to more than one device I see less than a 20% cpu utilization hit). My Internet connection exceeds 10Mbits/1Mbit and I have only 4 devices on the radio portion of the router for the local network with never more than 2 devices (1 wired, 1 wireless) using the services of the Plex server locally at once (no plex-pass, so internet serving is not possible).

    Basically, what you describe above is what I'm seeing as well. My confusion, I suppose, is why is it "auto-play" if it does not auto-play. Getting a post play screen with a play button you must tap is not auto-play next, it is display next up with an explicit choice to continue or back out. To me "auto-play next" is an advanced implied choice to play WHATEVER is next without further interaction. Currently it only randomly works like this. Plex player TV apps have no confusing behavior in this matter, if you have it set to auto-play next it does... every time until you back out of it manually or run out of episodes. I suppose if I had a remote for my tablet, I could set the android app to TV mode; but I don't, and I don't believe I should have to even if I did. I've not used my Surface in over a year for Plex playing, but it behaved like a Plex player TV app does when last I checked. My iPod and Windows 8 Phone also behaved this way last I checked... but again, months gone by. I have the player app for just about everything but in the last year or so have had less need for numerous devices so I just don't use them.

    Truly, I hope that makes sense. I'm not doing anything unusual. I select a movie library and tap shuffle, or I select a TV show and tap play on the Series Screen (not one of the season sub-screens), and then tap first unwatched. When I do this on any TV device, auto-play works as I expect it to... whether I like the post play screen or not isn't the issue, having to interact on the post-play screen is the issue. On TV apps, it proceeds without me having to interact; on the tablet sometimes it proceeds without input, more often it waits for input. It's not consistent behavior within this specific app or across app platforms.

    Ironic timing, but earlier this afternoon, I decided to try something different...
    On the Plex/Settings/Experience Screen: I unchecked Play theme music and Show background art. Auto-play is still checked.
    Results? I still see the background art for TV shows, I don't get the theme music (but I didn't before either) between episodes BUT! Now it fails to automatically proceed to the next episode on my tablet about the same as movies in a shuffle. (I've only had to actually tap the screen once to play the next episode over 5 episodes.) This is closer to the behavior I expect from auto-play, but the other settings should not be impacting THAT setting in the first place. it still says to me something is just a touch off, but less so than before.

    While I'm less "personally" bothered, because the behavior I expect is more often demonstrated, it still isn't as consistent as on other app platforms and the setting's descriptions don't help in setting the app up to exhibit the desired behavior.

  • PegasusRiderPegasusRider Posts: 19Members ✭✭

    I see, now.

    Oddly, I recall having read that before, and yet my experience with Plex player TV apps has ruined my memory. Maybe TV's don't have the resources to implement this functionality when it is my belief they are the devices that would benefit most from it (I went through 12 episodes (41-44 minutes each) while I slept today via the TV and not once did I have to touch the remote control). No I don't personally find this a problem with TV's but I'm sure many others would. When I want to SEE something, I call it up explicitly and WATCH it. When I just want "noise" I put on something I know I generally like enough to have on that won't actively draw my attention and let it run. This is how I would almost always PREFER to use Plex, even on my portable devices. But, it's not something I would want to force on anyone else. Still, I forgot about what you kindly pointed out. My apologies.

    Nevertheless, I still don't always see the times quoted in actual practice (skipping to the end of episodes or movies bypasses the realization of that) and hope that will be addressed. That those realized times vary even more based on unrelated settings further complicates this issue. Not easy to diagnose and correct since sitting around waiting for it to "fail" can take so long. I expect it's not going to be a priority, soon.

    All that said, I suppose this as much falls into the category of "feature request" since it already mostly works as intended (aside from the quirks). Here would be the features requested:

    1) Improve the text for the Setting's Description(s) to include the behavior one should expect to see in the app if the option is chosen. Including the fact that auto-play will auto-pause when certain conditions are met, and what those conditions are. So you don't have to look up basic feature expectations on the web site where even that description implies that different app platforms perform differently without identify which is which. This could easily be addressed in specific within each app by platform. It's just an additional "minor" task to update this information, if needed, as Plex evolves. I understand it's inconvenient because it's a non-critical step for the app and easily forgotten, but it isn't unimportant. QoL improvements are not unimportant.

    2) Add an option to override the auto-pause conditions (and/or change them) when using auto-play. Certainly, leave it defaulted (as now) on installation, but allow the end-user more control of their player(s) if they want it and it's possible on a given platform. It could even be buried in the settings under "Advanced" and/or with a unique screen, intuitively indicating there may be reason not to change it if you don't understand why you're changing it.

    3) (which you already indicated you will be looking into) Unrelated settings should not have an effect on one another. (eg My auto-play functionality should not work "better" or "worse" because I change background art settings.)

    Finally, thank you. Thank you very much for the time you have and will spend on this, to whatever extent. I understand that design and/or maintenance considerations may preclude much (perhaps all) of what I personally would like to see implemented. Regardless, I appreciate the consideration and truly hope that somehow my input helps Plex, as a whole, be a better product capable of successfully serving not only a broader market but also a more sophisticated one.

    You've answered my question quite well. Regardless of how things progress from here, I'll not re-visit this anytime soon. No promises for down the road, but for now... I'm satisfied within realistic limitations. I also apologize for being so "wordy". Thanks again, for your help and your tolerance!

  • MovieFan.PlexMovieFan.Plex Posts: 16,036Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Employee

    If you were able to play 12 episodes without hitting a button, that would be a bug. Unless the feature was implemented different. What TV do you have?

    Your 3 requests are sound. There have been requests by others to do basically what you've asked for, so this is not new.

  • PegasusRiderPegasusRider Posts: 19Members ✭✭

    A Samsung and a Vizio. Both behave similarly.

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