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Emby Devs & Users learn from the Plex Debacle.

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#1 One2Go OFFLINE  

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Posted 19 December 2018 - 11:01 PM

Glad to see many of the Plex Expats posting here and in the various Plex forums venting their emotions. Since I have lifetime subs to both products I frequent the Emby forums daily but very infrequent the Plex forum since I believe from the selected posts in a 1800+ post thread complaining about the Roku app and its UI, Emby is definitely the superior product. However some of the quoted posts I selected are of interest on how the Emby Devs can endear users and avoid the downward spiral the Plex team has chosen. The path Plex has chosen resulted in an explosive and spirited discussion that opened the eyes to many included yours truly.

 

 

Here is the difference between 2 competing companies

Plex put out an update that just about broke everything. Nothing has been done about it

I installed the new Emby server and found a problem with the latest update
I was able to discuss it with the management and application writers of Emby

After just 3 days they are issuing a new beta test Roku app for me to try

Sorry Plex, I used to swear by you but now just swearing at you.



Elan (Plex's CTO and Co-Founder) or anyone else interested…

This thread has thousands of messages. There is NO way I can read them all and at this point, I’m not sure I care. I may have missed all sorts of information because there is so much here.

I’m a LONG time user of Plex. I don’t use the forums, so this is a rare post. I don’t read them at all, with the exception of the Roku debacle.

I have about 20 remote users with whom I’ve shared out my Plex. One in particular wrote me and said, “Did somebody hack your Plex, or did you do that?” Most of them have complained. They’ll get over it. The term “share” is relative. I setup Plex as a way for ME to display my own content in my own home. Sharing all this was never my intention, but as folks would stop by, they were impressed and eventually one thing led to another.

Plex has always improved. Some of the UI changes were subtle, but nothing major. Until last week. Need I say more…

I am considering if I should remain a Plex user. I have absolutely NO desire to abandon what Plex has done for me and what I’ve been able to do with Plex. All I can tell you is that after reading a few things here, I went ahead and installed Emby just to take a look. I’m not planning on jumping ship, but I’m certainly going to see what the competition has to offer. I have both packages running on the same box and they both seem to play well together.

But, the one thing I want to comment upon is that Emby seems to have the ability for the user to do some customization of the UI. I really liked the old Roku look. Obviously, all the folks I’ve shared my system with liked it too since I have been getting hammered with complaints.

I’m not here to threaten to leave or tout Emby as the best thing since sliced bread. I LOVE Plex. It’s been rock solid for me for ages...


From Cayars to Elan (CTO and Co-Founder)

 

 

        You don’t see how it makes sense for a server owner to control how they share what they share?

        What you’re saying is that the server admins don’t have a clue how to carefully curate content, and shouldn’t be able to carefully curate content with shared users?


No, you’re misunderstanding what I’m saying. Server admins are clearly the masters of content curation, and they should clearly continue to have full control over that. But If a user you’ve shared with wants access to Podcasts via Plex (which come from the Internet), why should you have any say in that? What if the user has access to two shared servers, and both feel differently about whether the user should have access to Podcasts?

 


This is what is not CLEAR to you. I’ll try and explain it on a very simple basis which I’m sure you will STILL disagree with and THIS is the heart of the matter and what determines the way you design/program.

These “users” aren’t YOUR users. These are MY/OUR users. These users belong to the ADMIN not to Plex. How you tell/the simple test. If said ADMIN switches backend software to say Emby does USER stay with Plex or load Emby client and use that?

99.9% (I’m guessing what I think is low) will ditch Plex/remove it or ignore it, load the Emby client and go on enjoying the ADMIN’s content with the different client (Emby).

That/This is the purest/simple test there is to show who’s user this is and who controls what client is used. As many people have been moving to Emby due to choices Plex has given them, their users will switch clients as well. They are ONLY using the client to access the CONTENT the ADMIN is providing.

If “Server admins are clearly the masters of content curation” then I the ADMIN would be able to delegate who can play live TV or setup DVR recordings on my system. If “Server admins are clearly the masters of content curation” then they can determine what CONTENT (local or Internet/Plex) is available to THEIR users via the client app (regardless of vendor).

Now relaxing this stance a bit. I know you are TRYING to provide useful content on top of what the ADMIN can provide but if FEELS TO US ADMINS that you are fighting us on this. We “Server admins are clearly the masters of content curation” NOT when it comes to Web Shows, Podcasts, News, Tidal or any other new content PUSHED to the users without the consent of the ADMIN.

You assume it’s YOUR USER so you can provide this content, but as I’ve already shown it’s not YOUR USER but MY/OUR user and when you leave us no use we have one sure fire way to circumvent this and that’s to switch to other software that puts us back in control. That may seem harsh, but Plex, Inc has left us NO CHOICE and this is the only LOGICAL CHOICE we have, like it or not. I don’t like it, but I’m forced to play the cards I’m holding.

It doesn’t need to be this way!!! And it never needed to be this way!!!

...Emby takes a different stance on ACCESS then Plex. Emby allows the ADMIN to control access to everything. On Emby I can control who has access to my live tv, who can schedule recordings, who can sync, who can download, who has access to specific plugins, ect. That puts the control back in the hands of the ADMIN where it belongs. There is no “home” requirement as ALL USERS are mine and under my control.

Until you guys grasp this concept you will continue to bleed users. You need to realize the users are NOT YOURS but belong to the ADMIN. Along those same lines, you also need to stop spamming USER email accounts with Plex offers. I don’t like it and neither do my users. They don’t need Plex Pass nor do they want emails about it. I’m tired of answering users email about this. With Emby this is not a concern as Emby doesn’t know my user exists. They already realize it’s NOT their user but mine.

Regarding the above, with Emby as an example I can have a user download the client without giving any information to Emby. They can install the clients on devices they own. They don’t need an Emby account. All account info is right on MY SERVER. I control their username/password and all access privs they have. That’s the way I WANT IT and the way MY USERS WANT IT. These same users can also signup for Emby Connect if they want which gives them single signon to multiple Emby Servers IF & WHEN the ADMIN associates the EMBY CONNECT username with their Emby account.

I did not touch on UI specific improvements or client improvements beyond the design criteria because non of that matters if you can’t/won’t put the control back in the ADMIN’S HANDS.

 


What a mess this has turned out to be over there. I am exited about the new 3.6 server release with the built in EPG data which gets me one step closer to phase out Plex.

 


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#2 Luke OFFLINE  

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Posted 19 December 2018 - 11:04 PM

Thanks for the feedback! We remain focused solely on being the best personal media server that we can possibly be.


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#3 Doofus OFFLINE  

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 01:46 PM

I like @cayars rant :) Some good points in there. Long live Emby!
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#4 rene.teniere OFFLINE  

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 02:34 PM

I agree completely. I am, however, not surprised by Plex's actions. Became too big for their britches as they say. Other companies have folded for less in the past. Always listen to your client base, even if you don't agree with it or it hurts your feelings. As a web developer, I have had to put my tail between my legs on multiple occasions and deal with the criticism. The fact that they didn't listen to the user comments for the past few years and insisted on fast tracking the product to multiple platforms is why I abandoned Plex. Why would I want to support a company that could care less about what I have to say and still does what it wants?

 

I chose Emby because it was available on multiple platforms including my 4 Roku 2XSs, it was a seamless transition (folders were already set up for Plex), and the UI is super fast on my Roku devices. I love that I can keep hitting the OK button and going into sub-folders without the pictures having to load. In plex, to get to a show you had to wait until everything loaded before you could mine deeper into the folder contents. I do not or did not care for the extra crap Plex added like News, Podcasts, Tidal? what is that anyway? I don't care. I am not looking for another service provider to start demanding $13 a month from me just so I can watch my own content but have access to garbage I don't want. My user base are my children, and they really notice things. Daddy, Plex is slow, it won't load, it's not working. So far with Emby, I have heard nothing from the kids. Plex is no longer in their vocabulary.

 

Emby, please make note of what is happening with Plex. Have a team meeting and discuss  :) This is a golden opportunity to market yourselves as the company that cares about its users and their experience. Unfortunately, I did not even know what Emby was until the whole Roku UI debacle. It is a shame, because If I had known about you I would have switched earlier. Keep listening and making a collaborative product!


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#5 rene.teniere OFFLINE  

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 03:21 PM

FYI, from elan's post:

 

40.png gene0915:
 
I know that’s what Plex said but I’m really curious to see if they follow through with it. They know that nearly everyone hates the Roku update. I’m betting that they will not push this to the Apple TV. My money is on them re-working the Roku UI and then pushing THAT new UI to the Apple TV.

 

Smart bet.


Edited by rene.teniere, 21 December 2018 - 03:24 PM.


#6 BAlGaInTl ONLINE  

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 03:57 PM

I like @cayars rant :) Some good points in there. Long live Emby!

 
Yup.  I especially liked this portion:

You need to realize the users are NOT YOURS but belong to the ADMIN. Along those same lines, you also need to stop spamming USER email accounts with Plex offers. I don’t like it and neither do my users. They don’t need Plex Pass nor do they want emails about it. I’m tired of answering users email about this. With Emby this is not a concern as Emby doesn’t know my user exists. They already realize it’s NOT their user but mine.


One of my favorite reasons for using Emby.
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#7 chyron8472 OFFLINE  

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 04:35 PM

FYI, from elan's post:

 

40.png gene0915:
 
I know that’s what Plex said but I’m really curious to see if they follow through with it. They know that nearly everyone hates the Roku update. I’m betting that they will not push this to the Apple TV. My money is on them re-working the Roku UI and then pushing THAT new UI to the Apple TV.

 

Smart bet.

 

 

It doesn't matter, though. Making the AppleTV app not-as-bad is different from actually learning their lesson and starting to listen to the userbase. They don't listen to their users, and they haven't been listening. There's no guarantee that they won't go back to doing whatever-the-hell-they-want after the shock from this has worn off.

 

They've been accused for years of almost completely ignoring their Feature Request subforum. One can't assume that this incident will change their minds.


Edited by chyron8472, 21 December 2018 - 04:37 PM.


#8 Q-Droid OFFLINE  

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 05:16 PM

Doofus, on 21 Dec 2018 - 12:46 PM, said:snapback.png

I like @cayars rant  :) Some good points in there. Long live Emby!

 
Yup.  I especially liked this portion:
 

cayars said

You need to realize the users are NOT YOURS but belong to the ADMIN. Along those same lines, you also need to stop spamming USER email accounts with Plex offers. I don’t like it and neither do my users. They don’t need Plex Pass nor do they want emails about it. I’m tired of answering users email about this. With Emby this is not a concern as Emby doesn’t know my user exists. They already realize it’s NOT their user but mine.

One of my favorite reasons for using Emby. 

 

It is exactly why I tried Plex then stopped and made the extra effort to get Live TV working in Emby with unsupported tuner hardware. I want full control of my server and not a third party managing my users.



#9 rene.teniere OFFLINE  

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 06:09 PM

They are just dealing with the $h1t storm right now. I agree, they can’t be trusted to do the right thing in the future. That’s why I left and won’t look back...

#10 Perplexed OFFLINE  

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 06:12 PM

FYI, from elan's post:

 

40.png gene0915:
 
I know that’s what Plex said but I’m really curious to see if they follow through with it. They know that nearly everyone hates the Roku update. I’m betting that they will not push this to the Apple TV. My money is on them re-working the Roku UI and then pushing THAT new UI to the Apple TV.

 

Smart bet.

 

I have watched elan's feedback. He is quick to cherry pick comments and at the same time ignore what people are REALLY saying. I don't believe for a second that they will backtrack on the issue basically everyone is unanimous about.

First, people want the ability to pick a server over content... and second, people want to pick their own libraries over the generic "Movies/TV/Music" categories that are now shoved down their throat.

 

Well, he promised an update soon and a few surprises along with it... we'll just have to see if they have learned anything at all. My guess is they will just put their head down and keep plowing, but I'm still hoping to be wrong (yes, I still care about Plex).


Edited by Perplexed, 21 December 2018 - 06:13 PM.


#11 jlr19 OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 December 2018 - 05:41 AM

I have watched elan's feedback. He is quick to cherry pick comments and at the same time ignore what people are REALLY saying. I don't believe for a second that they will backtrack on the issue basically everyone is unanimous about.

First, people want the ability to pick a server over content... and second, people want to pick their own libraries over the generic "Movies/TV/Music" categories that are now shoved down their throat.

 

Well, he promised an update soon and a few surprises along with it... we'll just have to see if they have learned anything at all. My guess is they will just put their head down and keep plowing, but I'm still hoping to be wrong (yes, I still care about Plex).

I just want to point out you chose a very astute nickname!



#12 Perplexed OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 December 2018 - 10:20 AM

Lol! It had more to do with my website (techperplexed.ga), but yeah, when it comes to Plex's decisions, it probably descibes my frame of mind rather accurately! :D

#13 Perplexed OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 December 2018 - 10:42 AM

This is what I have observed in Plex the past year or so.

Plex: let's introduce this new UI on obscure platform A.

Customers: We hate it!

Plex: Oh wait there is some backlash, but this is such an obscure platform. Let's introduce the new UI to still obscure platform B.

Customers: We still hate it!

Plex: Meh, that means nothing. You just can't handle change. We'll put the new UI on platform C, that is slightly more known.

Customers: Ugh, we really hate it!!

Plex: You are just a vocal minority, stop picking on me. Here, it's now on platform D.

Customers: When will it sink in that WE REALLY HATE IT?!

Plex: You keep saying that, but that's not specific enough. But ok, here is a thread where you can post your grievances. Plus here is a beta for platform E.

Customers: Ok, this is what we don't like, and that, and here are a few more examples. The beta has the same problems and it's buggy on top.

Plex: We're happy to announce this new UI, including bugs, on platform E, right before the holidays for maximum inconvenience. Enjoy!

And that is how the Roku thread received a thousand posts almost overnight...
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#14 rene.teniere OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 December 2018 - 10:51 AM

This is what I have observed in Plex the past year or so.

Plex: let's introduce this new UI on obscure platform A.

Customers: We hate it!

Plex: Oh wait there is some backlash, but this is such an obscure platform. Let's introduce the new UI to still obscure platform B.

Customers: We still hate it!

Plex: Meh, that means nothing. You just can't handle change. We'll put the new UI on platform C, that is slightly more known.

Customers: Ugh, we really hate it!!

Plex: You are just a vocal minority, stop picking on me. Here, it's now on platform D.

Customers: When will it sink in that WE REALLY HATE IT?!

Plex: You keep saying that, but that's not specific enough. But ok, here is a thread where you can post your grievances. Plus here is a beta for platform E.

Customers: Ok, this is what we don't like, and that, and here are a few more examples. The beta has the same problems and it's buggy on top.

Plex: We're happy to announce this new UI, including bugs, on platform E, right before the holidays for maximum inconvenience. Enjoy!

And that is how the Roku thread received a thousand posts almost overnight...

 

Oh thank you sooo much for my Christmas eve chuckle! We need to meme that up! AND post it on their FB site  :D


Edited by rene.teniere, 24 December 2018 - 10:53 AM.

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#15 chyron8472 OFFLINE  

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 04:17 PM

https://forums.plex....-plex/351577/75

 

I just want to distinguish between a tactical blunder (yeah, the new UI needs work, and we’re committed to it) vs an actual strategic shift. I’ve pointed this out elsewhere, but we’ve made massive strides this year for local media, including the new video player stack for iOS/tvOS and the new cross-platform audio player. You can’t get more local/core than that :smile:


Respectfully, I feel like you can’t see the forest for the trees here, @Elan. Also, the new UI is not a tactical blunder—it’s a strategic mistake. The big picture your company is strategizing for itself, and the priorities that it has, leaves long-time loyal users feeling left in the dust. On top of consistently heading in a direction many (most?) users (and especially admins) disagree with, the company also is very dismissive, arrogant and even silent when it comes to support issues or feature requests it feels are not in its interest to respectively address or implement.

Also, replying to users who are critical of your company’s policies and practices with “yeah, but…” comes across like you (and by extension the company) really don’t have the humble, contemplative introspection that is required to fix this mess rather than make it worse.

And it doesn’t help that the primary reason you yourself are in on this discussion feels like damage control instead of a wake-up call. Like, we were telling you to put the gun down—please, put the gun down please—but you went ahead and shot yourself in the foot anyway. And now, as this self-inflicted gunshot wound is more serious than the last few, you’ve decided to staunch the bleeding rather than ignoring it and hoping it will go away on its own. It doesn’t mean you realize that shooting yourself, not the bleeding, is the actual problem. To call it a tactical blunder is to suggest that you simply shot yourself in the wrong place or from an inconvenient angle.

 


Edited by chyron8472, 26 December 2018 - 04:20 PM.


#16 One2Go OFFLINE  

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 05:02 PM

The whole Plex project/development/setup will be obsolete once Emby server 3.6 is stable and released. Any emotional or mental energy spent on trying to change the Plex powers to be is a total waste of precious time. Life is too short to drink bad coffee, bad wine and futz around with arrogant dicks/morons.


Edited by One2Go, 26 December 2018 - 05:03 PM.


#17 BAlGaInTl ONLINE  

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 05:03 PM

https://forums.plex....-plex/351577/75


Seems from that thread that they are backpeddling to some extent? But is it enough?

I haven't used Plex for years now though, so I'm not up on all of it.

#18 gene0915 OFFLINE  

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Posted 06 January 2019 - 04:44 PM

Welcome my fellow, ex-Plex server admins! Welcome one and all!

 

Don't be discouraged by any pitfalls or stumbling blocks you might run into as you migrate to Emby! Emby continues to get better and better and doesn't have some over-engineered cluster f*ck of a client interface! If you spot a problem, post it up. Luke and the devs are more than happy to help you and take corrective actions when a server or client issue is discovered!

 

I've been slowly migrating my 30+ users over to Emby and while some took right to it, others needed a tiny bit of hand holding. Once they are all moved over, PMS will be removed from my system and all of my users will be on Emby!

 

I love how Plex management thinks that people will keep the Plex client installed after us server admins point everyone to our Emby servers. Plex Inc. thinks they are going to have some captive audience they can sell Tidal subscriptions to on a monthly basis to get mo' money, mo' money! I'll enjoy watching them go out of business as their user base keeps shrinking. Their CEO exudes arrogance, as do all their devs.

 

Reading the reviews on Glassdoor sheds a LOT of light on what's happening inside Plex and is about what I expected. Top heavy, dumb decisions and lots of ego maniacs there. I really think there is a concerted effort to distance themselves from us filthy server admins so they can look pretty to media companies and become a media portal so they can start charging monthly fees to anyone with the Plex client installed. They don't understand that without us server admins sharing our libraries, there is absolutely NO REASON for an end user to keep that client installed when us server admins move to Emby. Well, unless there is some people that want to pay for Tidal and pod casts (circa 2004) and other nonsense??!?!?

 

What Roku is to TV boxes, offering channels for virtually every service...... Plex wants to do the same by having Amazon, HBO, Hulu, etc all flow through THEIR client...... so they can charge monthly for it.

 

Luke, did you notice a spike in people buying Emby premiere service or a sharp increase in client installs over the past few months? I wonder how big the wound is at Plex?



#19 Luke OFFLINE  

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Posted 06 January 2019 - 04:53 PM

Thanks for the feedback and kind words! Yes we have noticed an increase in installs over the last few months.


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#20 BAlGaInTl ONLINE  

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 12:32 PM

Luke, did you notice a spike in people buying Emby premiere service or a sharp increase in client installs over the past few months? I wonder how big the wound is at Plex?


I don't speak for @Luke or other admins/devs here. But as a user, I've noticed a significant increase in Forum traffic over the past few months which is probably indicitave of at least some shift.

I'm a long time Plex defector myself. Going on 2 years now, and I've been consistently happy with the progress of Emby.
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