Plex… techno-racist against Android Phones ?

Plex is a hell of an application. As a home, multi-home, or organizational media and content server, it is outstanding. The free integration apps for Roku’s, Firesticks, and similar devices, as well as the ability to use pretty much any modern web-browser as a client, makes it an extremely well integrated app. As of this writing, the only part of it that isn’t free (as in beer) is the phone-apps. You may have to look and hunt, but free ‘everything’ is out there – free server app, client apps, etc. Even the Roku app is free (as is Firestick). But not phones… ok, fine. No sweat. Well, mid February 2018, that phone app suddenly took a massive header off a cliff. Android devices across the world started experiencing issues – seemingly as a result of some auto-update feature, and the tweaks that went along with it.

The Plex phone client would attempt play a video and then choke.

You’d be greeted with the error message “Please try restarting both the Plex media server and this app.”

Don’t – it won’t work. And you’ll just waste time. The problem is in the phone client.

Forum users over on the Plex side identified it as early as February 9th (2018), and had this to post…

@Motlem said: If you go into the app and turn the setting for “Play Smaller Video” on, it will make this issue stop. I believe it is an error that needs to be resolved in an update.


In short, that is the work-around. Go to your settings, click on advanced player settings, and below where you are given the option to choke down your video speed (KBPS), there’s a tab for “play smaller videos as the smaller size” (in effect, don’t transcode). Turn it on – problem goes away.

Because the phone app is a “pay” product, I can actually say this — “Dear Plex, FIX IT!”

In all seriousness though, Plex is truly the best of the best when it comes to streaming content servers. A modest (50 MBPS bi-directional) server can easily feed a dozen clients simultaneously at the 720P setting. Sadly, speed control is on the client side, not the server side, so if you have lazy or uncaring users, they can choke that pipe up pretty quickly.

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