(Pocket-lint) - We've always been of the mind that Plex is one of the best home media streaming services out there, if not the best, but we've never been that fond of the iOS application experience.
While it gave access to your library of films and TV shows, both at home and remotely, it looked old and basic - something at odds with the content rich, beautifully presented players on other devices, such as the Xbox One and Roku set-top-boxes.
Now, after many years, the app has been given a complete overhaul, with more than a simple update becoming available to iPhone, iPod touch and iPad owners. It has been rebuilt from the ground up especially with those devices in mind, and Plex has added a swathe of new features to boot.
So, along with a much prettier aesthetic, here are the new features you can expect to find on the new version of the Plex app for iOS.
It is now free
The previous Plex app cost money but some functionality of the new version can be used without paying a single penny. It can be used as a remote control for a separate Plex player, or can fling photos stored on an iOS device in Chromecast style.
Full functionality can be purchased in-app, as can a Plex Pass subscription. And everybody who bought the original Plex iOS app will instantly get the full featureset.
Media discovery has improved
The same sort of search and media discovery tools found in other Plex apps are now available on the iOS version. That includes filtering or browsing by director, actor or similar genres. Recommendations for what to watch are now available too.
It can also browse photos and music through a Plex server or on the device itself.
THe scores given to movies on Rotten Tomatoes are now displayed on content pages. The display of full reviews is planned for the future too.
Not only will the new Plex app jump between existing chapter information for easy skipping through films, it is capable of pulling chapter information from the internet for videos that haven't been encoded with that in mind.
Plex Sync has been redesigned
Downloading videos for offline viewing through the Plex app has been a long and laborious process in the past. However, a new version of Plex Sync has been incorporated in the new version
Plex Sync 2.0 supports playlist syncing and can be hundreds of times faster when dragging content onto the device. It is much faster for incremental syncs, for example, and supports partial syncs so if you need to leave before the process is finished, you will still be able to access the files that were successfully downloaded in time.
It now also runs through a mobile version of the Plex media server, so still offers all the discovery and filtering services as a server running on a PC or NAS.
The app will be available as an upgrade or on the App Store for newcomers imminently.