Plex has launched Live TV. It allows paying Plex users to connect an antenna and stream live channels to TVs and mobile devices. The company’s DVR function has also learned new tricks.
Plex Live TV
If you are not familiar with Plex, think of it as an app that gives you easy access to your movies, TV shows, music, and photos stored on the home network on any screen. Plex is now adding live TV to the mix and at the same time expanding the suite of DVR features.
With Plex Live TV you can watch free channels in the US (free over-the-air channels) and in Europe (DVB-T/T2 and DVB-C). Only unencrypted channels are supported at this time, the company said.
At launch, you can watch live TV and schedule recordings in the Plex app on Android TV (Sony, Philips & Nvidia Shield) and iPhone/iPad. Later this month, support will be rolled out for Apple TV4 and mobile Android. Within a couple of months, it will also be possible to timeshift (pause/rewind live TV). Recorded TV programs can be watched from any Plex app.
With the launch, Plex is continuing down a path become a one-stop for all your content consumption needs. Media files stored on your home network are now shown side-by-side with live TV and recording in a user-friendly and very graphical user interface.
As Plex ventures further along this path, it will have to compete with mastodons such as Amazon, Apple and Google who are also trying to aggregate content from a variety of sources and present it in a unified way on its respective TV operating systems FireOS, tvOS and Android TV.
How to get started with Plex
To get started with Plex you first need to set up a Plex server on which all content is stored and consequently beamed to your devices. This can be an always-on PC or NAS, or more recently Nvidia Shield that can also store recordings.
To get started with Plex Live TV you need a compatible TV tuner. With the launch of Plex Live TV, the company has expanded support from HDHomeRun to Hauppauge and AVerMedia in the US, and Hauppauge and DVBLogic in Europe (see the list of compatible tuners). In addition you need to subscribe to Plex Pass, which costs $5/month, $40/year or $120/lifetime.
The company added that it has also improved the DVR engine to making it capable of handling “overlapping recordings on the same channel as well as the ability to watch live and record simultaneously”.
Plex Live TV and DVR are in beta and now available to users in the US and Europe. You can learn more on plex.tv.