Plex amps up its music offerings with tight integration with Tidal

plex tidal

If you’re a movie and TV junkie, we’re betting that the Plex media server platform needs no introduction. For years now, it has been the go-to choice for people who want total control over their media library, and the ability to watch that content on every conceivable device.

But lately, Plex has been getting a lot more serious about other kinds of media as well. It has added podcasts, a capable photo organizer, and even a live TV plus DVR option. Today, the company is augmenting its music chops, in a big way, by adding Tidal to its list of supported services.

At first blush, this might not seem like a big deal, after all, you can already access Tidal on plenty of devices. For Plex users, however, this marks the first integration between the media server platform and a major music service. Plus, when you look at how Plex has integrated Tidal, it’s more than just a bolt-on, which is so often the case on other devices and platforms.

In this case, Plex essentially merges your personal music collection with that of Tidal, thus enabling a host of features that you could previously only find on services like Apple Music, and Google Play Music.

plex tidal

The big win for people who simply want to listen to a certain artist or song, without trying to guess where that music lives, is a universal search. It looks a lot like Sonos’ universal search, which we believe to be the industry standard. Matching results from Tidal and your personal collection are presented as a unified list, so you can get to the music you want faster. Playlists are similarly enhanced, and can contain tracks from any collection you have access to, including Tidal.

Perhaps the cleverest upgrade is the recommendation engine, which attempts to guess what Tidal content you’ll be interested in, based on your existing collection of songs. That same background process will show you albums that you don’t already own, from artists that you like. Plex’s artist radio feature which pulls together thematically tied music from your collection, and which debuted on the company’s Plexamp player, is now embedded in all of the Plex apps, and — you guessed it — now includes tracks from Tidal.

plex tidal

Just to show how serious it is about this whole music thing, Plex is using the Tidal integration to add a few new music-player features to its app, including gapless playback, and a more intelligent cross-fade option it calls “sweet fades.”

Of course none of this is free of charge, but Plex is offering some intriguing discounts for both Plex Pass subscribers and free users alike.

In addition to a 30-day free Tidal trial, you can choose two different plans: $10/month Tidal Premium, or the $20/month Tidal Hi-Fi.

These are the same prices for the same plans that Tidal charges directly, but buying them through Plex comes with some great benefits. With Tidal Premium, you get access to Plex’s premium music features — some of which are described above —  that are not part of the free Plex experience. With Tidal Hi-Fi, you get a full monthly Plex Pass, which would cost $5/month on its own.

Existing Plex Pass subscribers get a $1/month discount on both plans, but savvy Plex Pass monthly subscribers will no doubt wonder why they should keep paying even $4/month if they can get their service for free with Tidal Hi-Fi. Plex is aware that some folks may indeed cancel and re-subscribe to do this, but it’s a risk it’s willing to take.

There’s just one, tiny catch: Tidal’s Hi-Fi plan not only provides lossless, CD-like streaming, it also offers a selection of tracks at better-than-CD quality 24-bit high-resolution, via the MQA codec. Trouble is, Plex does not support MQA on any of its apps yet, so listening to Tidal via Plex will not give you high-res audio. As a Hi-Fi subscriber, you still get access to these MQA tracks, but you’ll need to use the Tidal app on a high-res compatible device in order to get the full range MQA offers.

Here’s hoping that Tidal is just the first of many streaming music services offered through Plex, as the platform continues to evolve.

Product Review

Meet Z6, the breakout star in Nikon's new mirrorless lineup

The Nikon Z6 is the sibling to the new mirrorless Z7 -- but for some photographers, the cheaper Z6 may be the better option. Read where the $2,000 camera beats the $3,400 one (and where it doesn’t) in our Nikon Z6 review.
Deals

Today’s best Amazon deals: Facebook, Nikon, and NVidia

Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be over, but for retail giants like Amazon, the savings are only getting started. We've scoured the depths of Amazon to find you the very best deals going on right now.
Music

Spotify is the best streaming service, but its competitors aren’t far behind

It can be hard to decide which music streaming service is for you, so we've picked out the individual strengths of the most popular services, aiming to make your decision a little easier.
Music

Jam out in style with the 25 best playlists on Spotify

Music is the world's most potent drug, and the best playlists on Spotify will make you catch feelings. We've scoured the service for its top collections, and brought them together in one place -- for you.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.
Home Theater

Streaming services blast past networks for the most scripted TV shows in 2018

For the first time in history, streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, produced more original scripted series than broadcast or cable channels, setting a new record for the number of TV shows on the air.
Home Theater

These awesome A/V receivers will swarm you with surround sound at any budget

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to shopping for a receiver, so we assembled our favorites for 2018, at multiple price points and all loaded with features, from Dolby Atmos to 4K HDR, and much more.
Movies & TV

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of ‘The X-Files’ with the show’s 10 best episodes

The X-Files premiered 25 years ago, so here are the 10 best episodes of the award-winning sci-fi series. From alien-abduction drama to hilarious satires, these are the best episodes from all 11 seasons of the hit series.
Movies & TV

Can't get enough lightsaber action? Here's how to get your Star Wars fix online

Few of us want to deal with DVDs or Blu-ray discs anymore. Unfortunately, the Star Wars movies are few and far between when it comes to streaming. If you want to watch Star Wars online, check out our guide on where to find the films online.
Home Theater

Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Battle of the streaming giants

Trying to figure out which subscription streaming service to use while sticking to a frugal entertainment budget? Check out our updated comparison of the big three: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.
Home Theater

How to master your equalizer settings for the perfect sound

You may know what an EQ is, but do you know how to adjust equalizer settings for the best possible sound? We go through the basics of the modern EQ and lay out some guidelines for how to achieve tip-top sound from your system.
Home Theater

Confused about LED vs. LCD TVs? Here's everything you need to know

Our LED vs. LCD TV buying guide explains why these two common types of displays are fundamentally connected, how they differ, what to look for in buying an LED TV, and what's on the horizon for TVs.
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.