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Finally! Plex app for Roku gets a much-needed makeover

We at Digital Trends are unabashed fans of Roku set-top boxes; we’re also proud proponents of the Plex media app. Unfortunately, it’s been tough to be as enthusiastic about Plex on Roku devices because, frankly, the app had grown more than just a little long in the tooth. That all begins to change today, though, as Plex has announced a completely overhauled app is on its way to Roku device users — there’s just a couple of catches.

Announced in Plex’s typically jocular style, co-founder Elan Feingold pens a blog post that starts out with a grin-inducing joke, then gets to the good stuff.  Eventually, we learn that the new version of Plex’s Roku app features a shining new user experience that’s much faster and more focussed on easy content discovery. The new app also folds in rich art, trailers, and behind-the-scenes clips to help bring the experience on par with the version recently released for Xbox and Playstation consoles.

We mentioned a couple catches: Initially, the new app will only be available to Plex Pass subscribers as a private preview channel. Historically, that means unpaid users will get access within a couple of months. Also, the new app doesn’t yet support photos, playlists or channels — those are also “coming soon” — but the app will support video and music playback along with the aforementioned discovery interface and trailers, plus Plex Companion (remote control) and Plex Home.

Related: Plex comes to PS3 and PS4 consoles

The new Plex App was apparently born from a fork of the Roku app that was developed by an enthusiastic user in Plex’s community. Feingold jokingly explains: “Naturally, our first inclination was to hire him so we could crush his creativity and can-do spirit. But after that urge passed, we let him loose on the amazing next-generation Plex for Roku app.”

Over the past few months, Plex has piled on new features for its paid subscribers, which may serve as partial explanation for why the organization felt the need to jack up the price of its subscription fee — mo’ features means mo’ money. Still, Plex offers an incredibly rich experience for non-subscribers, and this new overhaul should make the app just that much more appealing.