Apple TV, Android mobile devices get Plex Live TV support
Plex debuted new features today that allows users to rewind, pause and fast forward live over-the-air (OTA) television.
The company also announced in a blog post on Wednesday that Apple TV and Android mobile devices gained support for streaming live OTA television.
Plex is a software hub that centralizes collections of a movies, TV shows and music saved on a computer or external hard drive.
In recent months, Plex has been gaining traction with cord cutters as more features roll out for OTA television.
The Live TV and DVR features are offered to Plex Pass subscribers. It’s a $5 per month subscription that has a suite of features geared towards organizing a variety of media — from movie collections burned to a computer to family photos and videos.
Aside from Plex Pass and a couple pieces of equipment, watching TV is otherwise free of cost for life.
You only need a TV antenna, a HDHomerun or Hauppauge TV tuner and storage space like a computer hard drive to set up a personal media server. Plex Live TV operates on Android TV devices like NVIDIA Shield TV, iOS, Android mobile and now Apple TV.
For now, Apple TV only has Live TV support. Android mobile devices have Live TV and DVR support.
OTA television: the new frontier for hardware and software companies
Plex’s entry into the space of OTA television comes at a time when hardware companies are racing to create products that stream channels pulled in from a television antenna.
Next week, Antennas Direct will release a new digital tuner called Clearstream TV that can wirelessly stream OTA broadcasts to an app. ClearStream TV will work with Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and other popular streaming devices. ClearStream TV goes on sale on Aug. 7 for $99.99.
And AirTV Player, a 4K media streamer, is integrating OTA channels and bundled premium channels from a Sling TV subscription into a single menu.
With its typical dash of humor, Plex noted in today’s blog post that it’s already working from a huge footprint of existing hardware that’s already in circulation around the globe. The addition of Apple TV and Android device support only made it bigger.
“Not that we’re counting, but that makes over 2 billion devices more worldwide you can enjoy this with — join our community of (dare we say: smart and good-looking) cord-cutters and take Plex DVR and Live TV for a spin!” the post said.
How does Plex Live TV work?
Plex Live TV and DVR works with seven kinds of TV tuners, including all HDHomeRun models and five models of Hauppauge.
HDHomeRun tuners have the ability to stream live TV across a home WiFi network on their own. HDHomeRun’s manufacturer, SiliconDust, already has its own app and subscription-based DVR service.
But Plex recently partnered with SiliconDust while developing Plex’s DVR and Live TV features. Hauppauge builds tuners geared to stream OTA TV to computers. With Plex’s OTA features, the WinTV-dualHD model can be used to set up a NVIDIA Shield TV as a Plex Media Server. HDHomeRun tuners can be used for the same purpose.
Apple TV users will need version 1.14 of software to utilize the new Plex Pass features. Android mobile users will need to have at least version 6.3 of its software.
Today’s announcement marked another milestone for Plex. The Live TV/DVR service is now officially out of beta testing – it’s a fully realized product – nearly two months after its testing period.
“With all the hard work we’ve put into what we believe is clearly the best DVR on the planet, we’re ready to take the training wheels off and call this officially out of beta,” today’s post read. “There’s lots more great stuff in the pipeline too, don’t worry!”
MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE
Founder and Editor of The Cord Cutting Report. Before launching the site in 2016, he worked for more than two decades as a staff writer or correspondent for a number of daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe. His enthusiasm for tech began with the Atari 2600. Follow @james_kimble