If you want to use your Mac as a media center, there’s no better app for accomplishing that objective than Plex ( ). This modern media center application features a gorgeous interface, automated and intelligent metadata-fetching capabilities, support for a vast variety of formats, the ability to play full 1080p high definition videos smoothly, an extensible plug-in architecture, and a host of more advanced, powerful features.
As with many other applications, Apple’s release of Snow Leopard left Plex playing catch-up and though there has been an update or two over the past couple of months to improve compatibility with the latest big cat, Plex’s relationship with Snow Leopard has remained strained at best.
That’s all over, however, because Plex 0.8.3 is out and it brings a whole bunch of important bug fixes to the table, putting the software right back where it was before Snow Leopard came prowling. The most important fix involves the installation of a Candelair driver for the Apple Remote that makes it once again work smoothly with Plex (without also triggering Front Row and controlling iTunes in the background).
And that isn’t all. The fine folks at Plex have finally put in a feature that addresses a longstanding complaint of Plex users around the world—myself included. It’s called dynamic range compression and it boosts the volume of downmixed 5.1 audio. To enable it, go to Preferences -> System -> Audio and change the Mixdown Volume Boost setting from Disabled to Normal.
You’ll also need to change the Digital Output Support setting to Force Digital and then disable the Dolby Digital (AC3) Capable Receiver and DTS Capable Receiver settings. Once all that is done, go back and play a movie with 5.1 channel audio. And turn down the volume, please.
The update weighs in at 104MB and is worth every iota of bandwidth you spend downloading it. And did I mention that Plex is a free application? Well, it is, so go ahead and give it a shot.