As part of its ambitious bid to be your go-to streaming service for virtually everything, Plex this week announced the addition of a new, free TV feature with more than 80 channels available at launch.
Launched as Live TV, the feature actually comprises a collection of pre-programmed, continuous channels rather than the over-the-air streams of traditional live programming. But the benefit to this kind of quote-unquote live TV is that it doesn’t require a tuner and antenna to access it, as is the case with Plex’s existing live television and DVR offerings (which may also require a Plex Pass subscription).
But realistically, a lot of the content you traditionally get with cable or live TV streaming is pre-programmed as well. Unless you’re a bit of a news junkie or someone who absolutely must tune-in for live series airings, real-time broadcasts may not be as much of a priority for you.
Instead, with Plex’s channels, you’ll be able to surf free channels of pre-programmed content from Plex distribution partners, including news from Reuters and Yahoo Finance, a kids station called Toon Goggles, and sports programming from the Fubo Sports Network. Keep in mind that the offering is free, which means there will be ads. The lineup at launch looks like it could use a little work. The number of channels alone here looks pretty scrappy compared to, for example, the more than 250 offered by Pluto’s free TV service.
But Live TV isn’t necessarily the entire point here. Given the number of customizations within Plex—it’s already capable of becoming a one-stop hub for all of your personal media, plus free on-demand movies and shows, podcasts, and music—the new Live TV feature nicely rounds out an already compelling entertainment package.
Plex acknowledges as much, too—and the company claims that’s what makes its service most interesting as a kind of build-your-own Netflix or Hulu. Plex CEO Keith Valory said in a statement that by bringing together “the new Live TV service with the over-the-air TV and DVR feature, Plex offers the most comprehensive and least expensive streaming TV service in the world.”
Plex’s Live TV is available immediately for Apple TV, iOS, Roku, Amazon Fire, Android, Android TV, and desktop. The company says that support for smart TVs and consoles will be “coming shortly.”