Skip to main content

Plex launches on the new Apple TV, streams your local media

AppleTV--plex-app
Image used with permission by copyright holder
After several years of hacking different solutions into previous Apple TV set-top boxes, Plex has finally been able to launch an official app for the 4th generation Apple TV. This was made possible due to the inclusion of the App Store within the Apple TV software. While Plex has already launched on devices built by companies like Roku and Google, this is the first official client app for an Apple set-top box.

Similar to other set-top box versions of the Plex app, the Apple TV version lets users stream local video and music as well as view libraries of stored photos. This media is stored on a computer within the home that’s operating on the same Wi-Fi network and running Plex Media Server, free software that’s available for Windows, Mac, Linux and FreeBSD. The app also opens up access to Plex Channels, a section of the app that streams online content from services like TED Talks, Vimeo and Revision 3.

plex-movie-nav-apple-tv
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Within the Apple TV version of the Plex app, users will be able to view details about movies and television shows such as synopsis, actors, director, studio, the Rotten Tomato rating, film length, genre, year of release, resolution of the video file and closed captioned options. The app also loads Rotten Tomatoes review snippets of films within the video library, ideal for getting an expert’s quick take on a film.

Using a similar interface for music, users can view a description of an artist as well as the genre of an album. Plex has included shuffle controls within the app as well, ideal for skipping around on tracks within a specific mix, album or artist’s entire library of music. There’s also a handy option for someone unfamiliar with a particular artist. The “Play Popular Tracks” option will stream all well-known tracks, thus increasing the likelihood of recognition simply by listening.

plex-music-playlist-apple-tv
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The app is free for any 4th generation Apple TV owner to download and use in combination with the free Plex Media Server software. However, users also have the option to upgrade to Plex Pass, a premium version of the software that unlocks a multitude of useful features. One such feature is GraceNote’s music matching software, the same software Apple uses to match music to artists within iTunes. If you have a music library of MP3 files stored outside of iTunes, it can be useful for identifying tracks, albums names and artist names.

Other Plex Pass features enabled on the Apple TV include access to Vevo’s library of music videos, options to load movie trailers prior to the start of a film and managed accounts to restrict content based on a user’s access level, ideal for families that want to keep the R-rated movies away from the kids. Outside of the Apple TV, Plex Pass includes two great options for mobile users; a cloud syncing feature to stream content from the cloud as well as a mobile sync feature to take content offline to areas without reliable Wi-Fi.

Editors' Recommendations

Mike Flacy
By day, I'm the content and social media manager for High-Def Digest, Steve's Digicams and The CheckOut on Ben's Bargains…
What is DirecTV Stream: plans, pricing, channels, and more
DirecTV Stream app icon on Apple TV.

DirecTV Stream is the latest name for what once was AT&T’s live tv and on-demand streaming service, previously called AT&T TV, among other names. It's now jointly owned by AT&T and private equity firm TPG Inc., if you're concerned about such things. That new venture means that we no longer have insight into how many subscribers DirecTV Stream has, but it's believed to be the smallest of the live streaming services in the United States. (The last time we got numbers was at the end of 2020, when the service was at about 656,000 subscribers, or about half that of Fubo, or no bigger than 13 percent of YouTube TV's base.)

In any event, you're looking to cut the cable cord, DirecTV Stream is on more service to consider among others such as Hulu With Live TV, Sling TV, and the aforementioned YouTube TV.

Read more
Does Sling TV have local channels?
The local Fox network as seen in the Sling TV live guide.

You can get a number of Fox broadcast affiliates on Sling TV, even if you don't actually live in one of the coverage areas. Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

One of the biggest questions when it comes to getting rid of cable and switching to a streaming service is whether you can still get your local channels. With Sling TV, the answer is somewhat complicated. Yes, you can get local channels on Sling TV. But it can depend on the channel, and it can depend on where you live.

Read more
Apple (and Messi) offering a monthlong trial of MLS Season Pass
A Lionel Messi promo for MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

If you're a soccer fan who hasn't yet taken advantage of MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, now's the time. Apple — and Lionel Messi — are offering a free one-month trial to the service that gets you every MLS game this season and then some. There are no blackouts, no out-of-market messes, just every minute of every game.

The deal takes you to (and through) Messi's Instagram account, where you'll do the ol' link in bio trick. Which, conveniently, takes you to this link.

Read more