One of the best hacks to come to the Apple TV in the last year is PlexConnect, an amazing little program that hijacked the Trailers channel on your Apple TV and connected it to the Plex home media library running on your Mac. What the hack meant was that you could stream your Mac’s entire video or media library to your Apple TV just by navigating with the remote… no AirPlay required.
It was wonderful, but Apple doesn’t like hacks. That’s why PlexConnect is now dead. (Update: It’s back!)
Dead? Dead how?
Well, remember that Apple TV update that dropped yesterday, adding channels for Vevo, Disney, Disney XD, the Weather Channel and the Smithsonian? All of those great new channels didn’t come without a cost. Apple fixed the Trailers vulnerability that allowed PlexConnect to work at the same time.
Apparently, the reason PlexConnect worked was because, uniquely on the Apple TV, the Trailers channel piped all of its video over HTTP, not HTTPS. By just adding an ‘S’ to the end of that protocol, PlexConnect was seemingly broken for good.
Of course, if you don’t update your Apple TV, PlexConnect will still work just fine. I’m going to hold off for as long as possible, since a bunch of new channels I can’t actually access without a cable subscription isn’t enough to make me want to throw away the best thing to happen to my Apple TV since AirPlay. I’d suggest you do the same.
Update: There’s now a workaround. It’s a little fiddly, and requires you to connect your Apple TV to your computer to set-up, but once that has been accomplished, PlexConnect is restored to the Apple TV even on the latest firmware. You can find the guide here!