Streaming app Plex will begin showing paid and free streaming services on one screen.
Two major updates to Plex were announced on Tuesday that will add the feature.
The updates are designed to cut down on the time it takes to find a movie or TV show to watch. Plex users will be able to launch a series or movie directly from its menu.
An image released on Tuesday shows the new Plex menu working with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Apple TV+.
As of this morning, the Plex app on my Roku TV showed 167 streaming apps were supported. (Plex says in this morning’s press release that the number of supported apps are based on region.)
Plex has been known as a Swiss Army Knife among streaming apps. It already offers 50,000 free, ad-supported movies and shows along with live streaming TV channels.
It serves as a platform for over-the-air TV and a DVR for compatible TV tuners.
Plex started as a way for users to access movies, music, pictures and video files stored on an external hard drive or PC.
The new menu promises to meld all its features into a single app. As part of the update, Plex users will be able to maintain a universal watchlist from various streaming apps.
“We have been saying for years that our goal was to create a one-stop-shop for all the entertainment that matters to you, and today we put a massive piece of that puzzle in place,” said Keith Valory, CEO of Plex.
“With new streaming services, movies, and shows constantly coming available, it’s time to tame the media chaos and that’s what we aim to do with these new features,” Valory added in a statement on Tuesday. “In short, we know it’s painful to find what to watch. We just want to get you there as quickly as possible.”
A universal search function across paid and free streaming apps isn’t new.
Apps such as JustWatch and Reelgood also aggregate movies and TV shows from subscription and free streaming apps chosen by its customers.
Google TV, the software behind Google Chromecast and Smart TVs, also supports aggregating across streaming apps such as Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max.
Plex has the distinction of having added features that cater to cord-cutters, especially those who use TV antennas, home movie collections and streaming services.
In my review of the best streaming devices, I noted that aggregation and ease of use is becoming more important for TV viewers.
Plex cited in Tuesday’s announcement a recent Horowitz Research Report that says 49% of people find it hard to know what shows are on which streaming services.
The report also says 44% of TV viewers often have a hard time finding something to watch at all. Many essentially give up altogether.
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