You can now watch and record live TV through Plex media servers

plex launches live tv watching and recording header
Updated: Added clearer specifics on how to setup HDTV streaming on a Plex media server.

On Thursday, Plex joined the numerous other apps and services that offer live streaming TV without a cable subscription — albeit with a slightly different configuration than what you get with, say, YouTube TV, SlingTV, among others. Live TV on Plex will first be available on Android TV and iOS devices. Further devices will be supported in the future.

Unlike the aforementioned over-the-top (OTT) live-TV services, Plex does not have any channel packages or on-demand content. In fact, no live-TV content is supported by the app itself. Much like how Plex acts as a solution for streaming your own videos, music, and pictures from one device on another, Plex’s live-TV feature needs to access an outside TV source — in this case either HDTV signals through an antenna and USB tuner, or a cable card-enabled tuner. The digital antenna plugs directly into the USB tuner connected to your Plex media server, and after configuring your signal through the Plex media server app, you will then be able to watch live TV through any supported device (currently only iOS and Android TV) from anywhere. Live TV can also be watched directly on Android TV devices being used by a media server, such as the Nvidia Shield.

For those who need antenna recommendations, check out our list of the best digital antennas. As for USB tuners, Plex has a list of supported devices on its website.

You also need a Plex Pass, which is Plex’s premium service that provides a number of handy features for your media server, including DVR, which was launched on the service last year. Plex Pass is available at three different price points, $5 for one month, $40 for one year, or $120 for a lifetime pass.

Using Plex to watch live, over-the-air HDTV will have its benefits over simply watching through an antenna alone.

As with other content stored on your Plex media device, the app will scrape metadata like art and episode information from the internet for whatever programming is coming through your antenna. Plex will use that info to adorn the TV guide while browsing what is on. The guide also features search functionality, voice command support, and will utilize your entire Plex content library to suggest programming you may enjoy.

Furthermore, you will be able to record live TV through Plex’s DVR feature. Simultaneous streams and multiple recordings will also be supported but will be dependent on the USB TV tuner you use. Plus, you will be able to watch your TV from any device connected to your Plex media server.

Time-shifting — fast forward, rewind, etc. — will be included in the service but will not be available until a further update later in June.

While Plex’s TV streaming looks and functions differently than the dedicated streaming services out there, it is also a vastly cheaper solution to cutting the cord without completely ditching TV, and it avoids the confusion or bloat often found with those services.

Home Theater

Make the most out of your new Apple TV with these must-have apps

If you're looking to turn your fourth-generation Apple TV or Apple TV 4K into an all-in-one entertainment powerhouse, we can help you get started with this list of the best Apple TV apps you can download.
Home Theater

What is Hulu with Live TV? Here’s everything you need to know

Hulu with Live TV is a different take on a live TV streaming service, directly integrating live TV into the Hulu app you already know and perhaps love. We've put together a guide with everything you need to know about the service.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Home Theater

Need to get rid of an unused Netflix profile? Just follow these simple steps

Need to delete an unwanted profile from your Netflix account? It's easy to do, no matter what kind of equipment you've got. Check out our handy how-to guide for step-by-step instructions.
Music

These drool-worthy albums are among the most expensive vinyl records of all time

From rare Beatles originals to one-off test pressings, these are some of the most expensive vinyl records on Earth — the kind of discs that make plaid-clad record collectors and average listeners alike green with envy.
Home Theater

Google Play Movies & TV users’ 4K libraries are about to grow on their own

If you’ve been using Google Play Movies & TV for a while, you’re about to get a major upgrade, as the service is now upgrading any movies you already own to 4K, regardless of whether you originally bought them in HD or SD.
Home Theater

Learn to set up a Chromecast and turn any TV into the ultimate streaming machine

Google's Chromecast is one of the most economical streaming devices, allowing you to stream content to any modern TV, and we've got all the info you need to get started. Here's how to set up a Chromecast.
Home Theater

Become a master caster with these Google Chromecast tips and tricks

Google's Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra are the ultimate budget-friendly streaming devices for cord cutters. We've put together a list of our favorite tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your Chromecast.
Home Theater

What is Terrarium TV? Here’s everything you need to know

Terrarium TV offered a way to watch movies & TV for free, but now after a troubled existence, the app's developer has shut it down, and offered an ominous message to users on his way out.
Home Theater

ATSC 3.0: The next major broadcast standard explained

ATSC 3.0 is the next major update to the broadcast standard we use today. Will this be the second coming of free, over-the-air TV? We're here to explain everything about the new standard.
Home Theater

Apple AirPlay 2.0 explained: Here’s everything you need to know

Apple's most recent update to its AirPlay protocol is called Airplay 2, and it's available on select devices now. We're here to explain what AirPlay 2 is, how it's different from the first AirPlay, and how you can take advantage of it.
Home Theater

Rock out, dance, or just nod along with the best Bluetooth speakers

The market is saturated with wireless audio solutions fit for any and all circumstances. Check out our picks for the best Bluetooth speakers available, whether you'll be listening in the kitchen or on a mountaintop.
Home Theater

Banish the buffer screen with these tips for silky-smooth streaming video

If you’ve been having troubles with streaming Internet videos from Netflix and other services in HD, the problem may be your network. Here’s how to make sure your streaming video experience goes smoothly.