Cable boxes are quickly becoming a thing of the past, with more and more streaming options popping up. Plex is the latest company to try and sway cable cutters its way with its new service, Plex Live TV.
Plex Live TV
For anyone unfamiliar, Plex is a media service that allows users to organize media files, like music and videos, and access them from any Plex supporting devices. Last year, Plex began testing its own DVR functionality through SiliconDust's HDHomeRun antenna tuner. While the tuner was necessary to record the shows supported, once finished, recorded video could be streamed to any linked device. However, it wasn't able to stream live programming and shows had to be recorded to completion.
The launch of Plex Live TV addresses that issue and is the next logical step for the platform. With it, users can now stream live TV programming to any compatible devices. There are a few trade-offs for this new program, though one is only temporary.
The first is that it won't be free. Plex has traditionally offered a premium version of its service, called Plex Pass, that originally provided extra media tools for Plex itself. This will be necessary for anyone looking to take advantage of the new program. It would be $5 a month, $40 a year, or $120 for a lifetime pass.
The second is that, for the time being, it's only available to iOS device and Android TV users. This is due to the service launching in beta with an extended rollout to happen over the coming months. If everything pans out, Apple TV and Android devices will be ready to go by the end of June.
As part of this rollout, Plex is extending its DVR service with the launch of Plex Live TV. As mentioned above, the HDHomeRun tuner was the only device that supported Plex DVR since last fall. That has been extended now, with Plex adding five additional tuners, like the Hauppauge Digital TV for Xbox One. However, the best still appears to be the HDHomeRun, since it supports the widest breadth of devices and operating systems.
Cutting The Cord
Plex's new service just shows the continued growth and popularity of cord cutting. As it has become more popular, more services and options have emerged to fit whatever someone might desire.
The easy options are services like Hulu with Live TV and PlayStation Vue, which do offer a substantial list of premium and local channels. Two things can dissuade someone from going with these services — cost and total channels. Most of these services will usually start around $30 a month for base packages and only go up in price for premium packages. Then, in certain cases, these services may not carry every channel that someone is looking for.
On paper, Plex's requirements might seem like a big much, but it does provide some better flexibility in how people go about setting it up. A tuner and lifetime pass, on the low end, would sit around $200 up front, not to mention any additional pieces one may need. But with those being up-front costs, it does make saving on the back end easier.
Ultimately, this is another viable option for anyone looking to cut their cable cords. And while Plex may take a little setup, it looks to be worth the price.