As you may know, I’m not really a fan of jailbreaking my iPhone 4S or my iPad 4th generation with retina display. Therefore, I’m always looking for some hacks without the need of a jailbrake. For example, I reported about getting Whatsapp running on an iPad without jailbreaking it. Recently, three Plex enthusiasts (Baa, roidy and f00b4r) were able to bring the media center solution Plex to the Apple TV, and their clever hack doesn’t even require users to jailbreak their device! PlexConnect is running on Mac OS X 10.8.4 Mountain Lion and on Windows 8 Pro on an Apple TV 2 or Apple TV 3 with the Apple TV software 5.2.
The hack, called PlexConnect, uses Apple’s own movie trailers app as a kind of trojan horse to bring Plex to the Apple TV. Users simply have to fiddle with their Apple TV’s network settings to route traffic through a computer running a python script that swaps Apple’s movie trailer data with data from a Plex media server. A detailed ‘How-To’ for Mac OS X, Windows (XP, Vista, 7 and 8) and Ubuntu is already on github. Installing PlexConnect on Mac OS X 10.8.4 on my MacBook Pro Mid 2012 works as described on github. However, you should take care on the following important hints to get PlexConnect running on Windows 8 (Pro):
- Download Plex for Windows, named ‘Windows XP SP3 or later. Version 0.9.7.28.33′ from the Get Plex! site. This is the free version. There is a Windows 8 store one for $2.99, too (but I was not willing to spend the money… ;-)). It is very important to download it first, save it on your windows 8 PC and run the installation as administrator!
- Download Python from here and take care to install the 2.7.5 version because PlexConnect will not run with a 3.X version.
- Download PlexConnect: For Windows only, you have to edit ‘Settings.py‘ with a text editor (e.g. Notepad) as follows: Look for ‘ip_dnsmaster‘ and substitute the following ‘220.127.116.11‘ by the fixed (!) IP-address of your Windows PC. Safe it, start Plex Media Server, then PlexConnect and then it should work. For Mac: Do not change anything as it is describe for OS X!
- If you start PlexConnect.py via double click, no AirPlay apps like AirServer should be running.
- Restart your windows 8 PC.
The result is a working version of Plex that serves up all kinds of local content through the Apple TV. I tested it on my Acer Aspire 1810T running on Windows 8 Pro with Windows Media Center installed, MacBook Pro Mid 2012 running with Mac OS X 10.8.4 and a Apple TV 3 and it works perfectly!