Plex Podcasts offers a new, subscription-free interface
Plex Podcasts debuted this week, giving users a new way to listen to their favorite shows on Roku, iOS, Android and its web platform.
Even if you’ve never listened to a podcast before, using Plex’s new interface is a great way to jump in and try it out.
You don’t need to download any episodes from another platform. And no, you don’t need to pay for any kind of subscription.
Plex is aggregating and organizing this content for you. And once you find some podcasts that you really like, you can build up a list of favorites to make them easy to find. Plex Podcasts was released in BETA on Wednesday, and it aims to be the easiest-to-use platform to find something to listen to. Plex says additional device support is coming soon, and it should be a feature you’ll want to add to your cord cutting arsenal.
Why you should add Plex Podcasts
As I’ve said before, once you ditch cable and start building your own media infrastructure, the quality of programming gets a lot better.
Plex Podcasts is another great example of what I’m talking about. You may have cut the cord because you were sick of paying $150 to $200 to the cable company every month. But you probably learned pretty quickly there’s some great new programming that wasn’t even on your radar during your cable-dependent days.
Once you open Plex Podcasts, a thumbnail-style menu comes on the screen, neatly categories like “popular”, “News & Politics”, “Society & Culture” and “Comedy”. Since this is Plex, you can customize the menu to your liking.
One unique feature that already stands out: cross-device playback. So if I’m at my desk, listening to “WTF with Marc Maron” and decide I need to get out of the house, I can pick up where I left off on my Android smartphone. Plex Podcasts can be pulled into your home screen, so you won’t have to go hunting for them on your phone or other menus.
More Features for Plex Podcasts
Plex says more features will be added in the coming weeks, including smart downloading with granular options for managing the episodes you want to keep on a per show basis. More discovery options and metadata support, detailing shows are on the way. Plex will also add “Podcasts Import & Export (OPML) support”, which will allow users to import their currently subscribed podcasts right into Plex.
This is a quick rundown of other features that may be of interest to podcast veterans.
- All your media in one place: On Deck support for Podcasts displays the latest unplayed and partially listened episodes just like other shows, sitting alongside all other media within Plex, from personal photo, music and video collections, to curated news, to live and recorded TV, and more
- Information-rich: As you have come to expect, Plex enhances podcasts with metadata, offering more info about the programs and related podcasts
- Standard podcast controls – Controls such as forward and back, variable speed playback, and mark as played give you full control over your listening experience
- Easily add personal favorites: If a podcast isn’t already in the Plex catalog you can still add it by adding the feed url and Plex will treat it just as if it were already there, including retrieving rich metadata, related podcasts, search support, and more, making it more advanced than standalone podcast offerings
- Add to My Podcasts: Allows you to automatically add items to On Deck and easily get to your favorite shows
- Multi-device support: Device support at launch includes iOS, Android, Roku, and the Plex web platform with other platforms rolling out soon
How to set up Plex Podcast
As explained in the Plex blog, setting up Plex Podcasts is pretty easy. Navigate over to your profile icon in the upper left hand corner of Plex. Select “Account” and then select “Online Media Sources”. Choose to enable “Podcasts”. You’ll find the new Podcasts (beta) section on your home screen under “Online Content”.
Similar to Plex News, you don’t need a Plex Pass subscription to use the new podcasts feature. It’s available to all Plex users.
So what do you think of the new Plex Podcasts? Is it good? Great? Not so hot? Leave a comment below, and tell me about your favorite podcast. I’m on the hunt for something decent to listen to.
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