I have attempted to point out various feature enhancements and I give my opinion on what I think is useful. Once I get my hands on the FCSvr 1.5 DVD, I'll post a more detail and screen by screen comparison of FCSvr 1.1.1 vs 1.5.
Note: Most of the information for this article was provided by what's Apple has publicly announced on apple.com/finalcutserver/.
Active Directory support
Final Cut Server 1.5 now supports the authentication and authorization of users against Microsoft’s Active Directory (AD). This feature is huge; it didn’t exist in Final Cut Server 1.1.1, and was a huge hurdle for Final Cut Server being adopted in many enterprises and as well education organizations that had large AD deployments. Now AD users can now log in using their same username and passwords that they used for logging into their Macs (if bounded to AD) and/or their Microsoft Exchange email accounts.
Offline editing with ProRes 422 (Proxy)
Final Cut Server 1.5 now supports a new flavor of Edit Proxies ProRes 422 (Proxy). This new ProRes codec fixes many issues that existed with the flavor of the Apple Pro Res Edit Proxies codec that shipped with FCSvr 1.1.1.
Selectable proxy format creation
Final Cut Server 1.5 now supports the ability to catalogue your media using distinct Clip Proxy transcode settings. Previously in Final Cut Server 1.1.1 a user was only allowed to use 1 specify type of Clip Proxy for all assets in Final Cut Server. This didn’t allow very much flexibility when you needed to catalogue for example SD 4:3 footage and 16:9 HD footage, because depending on the Clip Proxy transcode setting you selected your footage would be either squished or stretched.
Final Cut Server 1.5 now has more robust and useful integration of image sequences. You can now view image sequences as entire asset. Before in Final Cut Server 1.1.1 or earlier, Final Cut Server would only create an asset bundle assets of image sequences. Now when cataloguing an image sequence, FCSvr allows to you create an “image sequence asset”.
Cataloguing the asset using the “Create an image sequence option” will both preserve the image sequence as a bundle, but now also create a video clip proxy, and a ProRess 422 (Proxy) if enabled, that will allow you to use this image sequence directly in Final Cut Pro (FCP) for editing.
Final Cut Server 1.5 now supports production hierarchies, which essentially allow you to store productions within productions. This will also offer administrators the ability via a new set of Permission Sets to have more granular control over which productions or sub productions a user or group has access to.
Final Cut Server 1.5 now allows users to save Smart Searches Globally. In Final Cut Server 1.1.1 Smart Searches could only be saved and be reused by the user creating the smart search, which was an administrative pain. Now users have ability to save their smart searches saved and made available for use to all Final Cut Server users.
Improved search performance
Although I haven't experienced Final Cut Server 1.5, my assumption is that Apple has configured further optimization of the Postgres implementation of Final Cut Server as well.
Support for metadata in audio files
Final Cut Server 1.5 now parses and displays metadata from AIFF, WAV, CAF, M4A, SDII, and AAC files. Previously in Final Cut Server 1.1.1 this embedded metadata was not searchable and/or viewable in the Final Cut Server DB. I personally had to write a script that parsed this information out of the file and sync it with Final Cut Server. For Final Cut Server 1.1.1 users, I will post the script and implementation instruction shortly.