First, I want to say thank you to Plex. For years, I banged my head against the media wall, trying desperately to get media from my computer to my television. Ive never been as savvy with computers as others who claimed they had an easy way to make it happen all it took was ten simple steps and a degree in computer science from MIT. Several years ago, I discovered Plex and all of that changed. There was finally something that made it easy for me to do exactly what I wanted. For that I will be forever grateful.
Ive seen several iterations of the Plex UI over the years. Some of them good, some of them so-so. I tend to take whatever Im given and live with it because Plex is easier than any alternative Ive ever come across. Ive subscribed, unsubscribed, subscribed again and unsubscribed again as my needs changed and when I felt it was time for me to pay a few dollars because Ive used the software so much.
When Plex changed to the current UI on Xbox One, I have to say, I wasnt thrilled with the changes. But, I figured I was just not used to the new menu system yet.
Recently, I had to bring back my old Xbox 360 for my daughter and got to use the old Plex UI from the 360 and I have to say that if we are speaking of simply the interface and the presentation of media, the older version was far superior.
I have an extensive library of media, all arranged in alphabetical folders, which now display across the top of the screen. Its not intuitive, nor as easy or as quick as the older version. I greatly prefer the old 360 interface to the current XboxOne interface.
But I think I understand why.
I realize that there are cultural differences in the world. Some cultures read left to right, some read right to left, some read top down and that this top down approach may not only appeal to some cultures but would most likely be more intuitive for them, but for me, its counter intuitive. I also imagine that if one was raised in a culture that reads right to left, both of the other approaches would be counter intuitive for them. So basically, the Plex team is then placed in a situation where some aspect of their customer base is going to be unhappy with any closed interface that Plex decides upon.
Based on the fact that these cultural differences exist and any immutable interface will be counter intuitive to some, wouldnt then the best approach be one of mutability? By focusing on UI customization at the user level, Plex could be top down, left to right, right to left, bottom to top depending on the users desires and preferences.
I honestly do not like the newer UI. The grey is ugly and gives the presentation a less professional feel, the sleek black felt more high end. The continue watching at the top hides new content as its discovered, the simple rows below no longer present movie posters in their full grandeur. The one bigger with other smaller thumbnails gave the presentation a more dynamic and grander look, while this approach makes it look like a simple and boring list.
With the old interface, when I added new media, it was presented big and bold to me, screaming here I am all shiny and new! LOOK AT ME!!!! The current interface adds it to a list that I have to scroll down to see if its even there. There is no excitement. There is no flash. Its just there, the same size as everything else. Where's the style? The art? The showmanship? You had it...but now, its gone.
Please, give us the ability to bring it back.
Lastly, Id like to discuss playlists. I don't use Plex for music. But I do use playlists for movies and television shows I own. For example, I have one long playlist with every season of Big Bang Theory, and other playlists for all the Marvel Phase One movies, another for just my top three movies of all time and another for classic sci fi movies I love or another for the best westerns. I miss being able to go straight to the playlist section in order to choose which movie I want to see. I spent an awful lot of time choosing which movies go into those playlists and which ones get relegated to just the alphabetical filing system.
Yes, I know that playlists still exist, but in order to access them, the user must first access the media that is contained within the playlist. That completely defeats the purpose of a playlist. Playlists contain media and you've made it so the media contains the playlist. Its not just counter intuitive, its completely backwards! Please return the playlists to their proper place.
All this doesn't mean I am not happy with the software, It allows me access to media that would otherwise be a pain to store and view. Both myself and my 8 year old daughter who also loves Plex thank you for all your hard work and for the literal hundreds of hours of entertainment that was made possible with your software. The reminder that the 360 provided me this weekend made me realize I should send a little constructive criticism your way.
Thank you again