In its ongoing bid to be the most inclusive media platform on the planet, Plex has announced the addition of more than 80 free, ad-supported livestreaming TV channels that cover categories such as news, sports, entertainment, lifestyle, and kids.
The live TV channels can be accessed through the regular Plex interface under the label “Live TV” on all of Plex’s many client apps, including Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and gaming consoles, as well as on the web via www.plex.tv. No Plex account is needed to watch the live TV service.
The lineup of channels includes content providers such as Reuters, Yahoo Finance, Toon Goggles, Tastemade, fubo Sports Network, IGN1, The Bob Ross Channel, Comedy Dynamics, and entertainment and news LGBTQ+ channels from Revry. Among the selection are also 19 channels dedicated to different genres of music videos, like Hot R&B, Latin x Pop, and Only ’90s Kids Will Understand.
Most of the channels are available globally, but some, like Tastemade and fubo Sports Network, are U.S.-only.
Each channel will appear in a new on-screen guide, which looks much like other electronic program guides — a grid that features a vertical scrolling list of channels, paired with a 3-hour window featuring the currently playing and upcoming shows.
You can customize the guide to suit your tastes by selecting which channels appear, and how those channels are ordered in the guide.
The addition of Live TV to Plex makes the media platform more interesting in terms of the sheer amount of content available, but at least in the short term, it could also make it harder to navigate.
Plex already has a feature called Live TV + DVR, which lets folks who receive free over-the-air HD channels via an antenna watch and record those channels from within Plex.
There is also a feature called Plex Movies + TV, a free collection of ad-supported video-on-demand titles. All three features will now be present in the main Plex interface, but for now, they will remain separate entities.
For the moment, the free live TV channels will not be indexed by Plex’s built-in search feature, so you’ll have to browse the EPG to find something to watch.
In the future, Plex plans to integrate its new ad-supported live TV channels with the electronic program guide used by the Live TV + DVR feature, however, the ability to record programs will be limited to the channels that people receive over-the-air from their local broadcasters.
The Plex platform can also be used to organize and view private collections of photos, video, and music, as well as listen to podcasts, and it can integrate with streaming music services such as Tidal, for a one-stop media shop.
Recently, the company introduced a “watch together” feature that lets two or more Plex users select a movie or TV show from a private library and watch it, fully synced, regardless of where the users are located.
Earlier in 2020, there were rumors that Plex would be dipping its toes into subscription-based video content, much as other platforms like Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV have done, but so far the company hasn’t shared any plans to do so.
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