Plex is now available for the Apple TV

By , Nov 2, 2015

Plex Apple TV

Plex, the popular media organizer, streaming solution, and media player, is now available on the Apple TV. The app, which is available as a free download from the App Store, helps users organize videos, music, TV shows, photo collections, and is able to stream content to the television connected to an Apple TV.

In addition, users can take advantage of special channels for access to even more content like Twitch, Comedy Central, BBC, and more. Plex can stream content stored directly on a local computer with the Plex Media Server installed, or a NAS setup for a media streaming solution that’s a bit more robust. Needless to say, Plex has been highly anticipated for new Apple TV users since day one, and it’s finally here.

Plex ATV

Once Plex is installed on your Apple TV, it’s just a matter of setting up the Media Server on the machine that you plan on using to host your media. The nice thing about Plex is that it’s able to transcode a variety of different filetypes, so chances are, the movies that you have on your computer or NAS will be recognized and ultimately playable on the big screen.

The app features an in-app subscription purchase that allows you to add the Plex Pass—a solution to access extra benefits like parental controls, automatic movie trailers and extras, upgraded music experience with high definition music videos, and more. The Plex Pass isn’t a requirement to stream content from your devices, but it results in a more feature-filled experience that fleshes out movie organization and playback.

Plex Apple TV 4

At its heart, Plex is all about movie organization, sorting, and playback. Remember, it’s based on a forked version of XBMC/Kodi, which itself was and still is all about movie management, organization, and playback. If you’re looking to be able to host and play back all of your movies from a central server or PC, then Plex is a valuable component that you should definitely investigate. If you’re someone who rips all of your DVDs and Blu-rays for archival purposes, then Plex is simply a no-brainer.

Again, Plex is available for free, and is a universal app. That means that it’s available on both iOS (iPhone and iPad) and tvOS. It’s also already optimized for the upcoming iPad Pro, which is rumored to launch next Wednesday.

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  • That_Fruitarian

    Yes!!! Guess I’ll go grab that right now. 🙂

    Anyone check out Anandtech’s iPhone 6s review? Even if you don’t read the review, check out the comment section. Lol

    • Martynet

      nice reading. lol

  • socrates

    I’m a Plex user, but I use a Chromecast in order to play on the big screen.

    What are some advantages of using the TV, over using Plex with an iPhone and Chromecast?

    • DOOManiac

      With a Chromecast, you have to control it via an app on your smartphone, correct? With the Apple TV app you just use the TV remote already in your hand.

      • socrates

        With Chromecast, apps on Windows, OS X, Android, iOS, and ChromeOS, (even web apps), can take advantage of the cast API and allow the user to cast media.

        With Plex, I launch the server on my desktop, and use my iPhone as the remote. My question was more so asking about features of the TV in general vs. Chromecast.

    • Al

      I have a Chromecast as well. I just like the added benefits of using Siri with Plex… such as rewinding or forward back to a certain time.

      And I believe Plex will get even better as  open up Siri API to it.

      • socrates

        That makes sense. I often wonder if an TV would be right for me, but like many other Apple products, I can’t justify the cost at the moment.

        I own an iPhone 6s, iPad Air 2, and the Watch. I refuse to buy a Mac computer because I can build a PC with equal, (or better) hardware at lesser cost. I just run OS X on it. This is why I believe I might do well with TV.

    • George

      Nothing, works great with my Chromecast.

  • ready1take1

    Welp, this just caused me to buy the new AppleTV. When will we see VLC’s app released?

    • zabrawn

      Infuse 3 is way better than VLC, try it

      • ready1take1

        Ok

  • yader

    What ever happened to that iphone 6s giveaway.

  • jalexcarter

    I definitely need this but I cant figure out how the damn thing works. I have about 2TB of mp4 movies and tv shows on an external hard drive in FAT32 but dont know what media server thing to download. its kinda frustrating cause i know this would be the best way to easily view all my video files rather than having to add them to itunes and airplay them every time. id like to think im pretty good with technology but plex freaking escapes me. wish they had like people who could come set it up for you or something, blah

    • How? FAT32 only support partitions less than 64GB, and files less than 4GB each.

  • J M

    You guys should review AirVideo HD, it’s a great alternative to Plex!

    • Al

      I’ve got it for iPhone/iPad… They made iOS app universal, was hoping that it would carry over to tvOS.

      I thought about purchasing it.. but I’m fine with Plex.

  • Mark S

    Wished this program could work other than by streaming. Streaming just isn’t good enough quality.

    • ready1take1

      You’d be surprised how reliable streaming is. I did it a lot on a Jailbroken AppleTV2 and it worked great. It’s all about the settings of your files. A 10 GB file may have a hard time playing and not be that smooth, but the right codec and filetype will look great.

    • Simon Moorhouse

      I have my Plex server and Apple TV both connected via Ethernet. I have some direct Blu ray rips that are 40~ GB and play great on ATV with Plex.

      • ready1take1

        wow that’s amazing and great to hear. Can’t wait for it to get here. With that news I might as well go ahead and upgrade my HD.

      • Simon Moorhouse

        It can buffer quite a bit over wifi but if everything is cabled in it works great. The best thing is that if I’m out, away from my home network, Plex will downgrade the quality so it can play smoothly over the Internet.

  • Rupinder

    I seriously don’t understand the advantages of this. Don’t you still have to download your own media and stuff?

    • That_Fruitarian

      Most of already have terabytes of video on our computers that we can stream already.

      • Simon Moorhouse

        I have a 12GB NAS that is nearly full of media lol…

      • ready1take1

        since I’m in the market for one now, might i ask the one you have or recommend?

      • You’d be surprised how affordable it can be to build your own. Easy to get lost and overspend on your build though. I bought a used 3U 15bay server on eBay that is a bit dated but is plenty fast enough for what it does. I run freenas and have owncloud in a jail but put my PMS on a separate server with a better processor (transcoding is CPU intensive). I spent under $300 (including shipping) and have 3*2TB drives (4TB usable) with plenty of room for expansion.

        It’s LOUD though… server chassis with server fans is not designed for the living room. You can definitely build something similar in desktop for that will be quieter but actually can end up more expensive.

      • Simon Moorhouse

        I have a Buffallo NAS (can’t remember model number) it works great. It’s got a 12 TB overall capacity but it’s set up as RAID so there’s 6TB usable. I actually bought it because the hdd in my Mac died and I lost all my photos. Now if a drive fails I just pop it out and replace and my files are safe – don’t even have to turn it off!

      • I’m just going to assume you meant TB 🙂

      • Simon Moorhouse

        Oops well spotted 🙂

  • Blip dude

    Waiting until Black Friday, hopefully VLC will be out by then. Anybody know when Vudu will be released?? Once I can actually watch Ultraviolet movies on this thing, I won’t need multiple streaming boxes, I can give up the Roku 3, and the cable cutting process will be complete for me.

    EDIT – on the subject of Plex, I know people already have terabytes of media on their computers. But if I really wanted to keep my laptop always on, I wouldn’t see the point of getting a streaming box, just plug laptop to TV and I’m set. I’ll stick to iTunes/Ultraviolet instead on this one. For those Anime movies, I’ll wait for VLC.

    • J M

      The benefit is for those of us that want to access our media remotely. Sure if you only use it at your house, you might as well just connect the computer to the TV. I don’t use Plex, but AirVideoHD (similar program to Plex, in my opinion, better). My server is at another house, and I can stream where ever I am. I can also stream to my iPad or phone if I’m not near a TV, or while I’m traveling without bringing my desktop server, external hard drives and everything else with me.

  • Kenneth Delgado

    Any news about the Remote App being updated?

    • James G

      Nothing. Hoping for this week!

    • The general discussion has been that Apple intentionally did not update the app to try and encourage interaction with Siri. I hope it does get updated but I doubt it will happen until maybe late spring 2016.

      • Kenneth Delgado

        Well that sucks, because I have CP and I don’t think that I could use the Siri Remote.

      • Well admittedly I don’t know what CP is but from my understanding the MFI bluetooth gamepads will control the ATV4 as well. You can also pair a bluetooth keyboard. Perhaps these options might work for you?

  • Quang

    A stupid question: Can I watch CNN with Plex on AppleTV without cable TV plan?

    • Not a stupid question. Plex supports many “channels” as they’re called including CNN. However, the CNN channel is pretty broken at the moment. I believe you used to be able to watch the live broadcast without a cable subscription but currently I cannot at least.

      EDIT: For clarity, there is no configuration options to log in with a cable provider either. The channel is simply broken.

  • James G

    I’ve been using Plex for about the last 6 weeks and I have to say, it is way better than the native media experience using iTunes and Apple TV’s. I’m not sure tvOS has changed much in the way of navigating and discovering a massive media library of 500+ movies and hundreds of TV episodes, but Plex is fantastic and I’m happy to be Plex Pass Subscriber. I can even put my 4K videos into Plex and stream them to a 4K TV directly (no Apple TV required).

    Glad to know that Plex is on the new Apple TV so quickly.

  • Tommy

    So . . . If we have media on our Time Capsule in a folder, can Plex pull from that, or does it have to be in an iTunes library?

    • Kaptivator

      Does not have to be in an iTunes library. Pulling from time capsule…I’m not sure.

    • klabanus

      You will need a Plex Media Server running somewhere, e.g. NAS or desktop. Pulling content directly from a TC will not work afaik.

    • -= J$@ =-

      I’m waiting for Infuse app from the guys @ Firecore. Infuse can pull media straight from a Time Capsule or any NAS for that matter

      • klabanus

        You can use Infuse 3 on your iPhone and then airplay to ATV4, right? I’m also patiently waiting for the tvOS app.

      • -= J$@ =-

        Yes. However, you should be able to do this with any app that is airplay compatible.
        I prefer Infuse because I don’t have a dedicated media server & I just have a hdd attached to my airport extreme…this works well for me.

    • Jose Antonio Gomez

      You can’t stream content from your time capaule to the Plex App, for that you need “Infuse”, maybe it will be in december on the ATV4, but in the mean time, you can try it on your iOS.

    • There are some misconceptions here. Plex doesn’t care where the media lives as long as it can access it. So your PMS (Plex Media Server) needs to be on a computer that has the drive mounted (for example over AFP will work fine). If you can access the media from your computer over the network so can Plex. You just need to ensure you connect to the time capsule drive at login by dragging it to your startup items if you’re running PMS on your Mac. If you’re using linux for your PMS it is still possible but I won’t go into details here unless someone asks.

  • PatientlyWaiting

    Can I get this on older generation apple TV or only newest one?

    • klabanus

      Only on jailbroken ATV1 & ATV2.

    • You don’t need to jailbreak to get Plex to work on your older ATV though. This app will not work but there is another way called PlexConnect. I use it daily as my primary means of consuming media.

      • PatientlyWaiting

        Care to elaborate?

  • Kurtiz

    Hey Jeff, could you make a video review of the app, please?

  • Furrnace

    So the Plex app can be downloaded for 3rd generation Apple TVs without a jailbreak?

  • I still think it’s a bad idea to format large hard drive to FAT32 since it doesn’t support journaling which could lead to data loss on plugging. Also, it gets fragmented easily. I suggest NTFS if mainly used with Windows, or HFS+J if mainly used with Mac/AirPort.

  • jalexcarter

    well i guess im just not very smart when it comes to plex. all my media is on a external hard drive but when i download the NAS media server i cant run it cause im pretty sure it only runs on Windows and i have a Mac.

    • Simon Moorhouse

      I also have a Mac. You don’t need the NAS server software, if you click download at the top of plex homepage you’ll get the option of downloading Computer or NAS. Click computer and it will give you the Mac download link. Even if your media is stored on a NAS like mine is, my Mac is the server so it’s the Mac software you need. Once your server software is installed you’ll get an icon next to your clock at the top of your screen. A click on that will set things up for you. Once your server is up and running, all other Plex apps such as the Apple TV and iOS apps act as clients and connect to it. Setting the server up initially can be the time consuming bit, but once it’s up and running everything else is easy

      • jalexcarter

        hmm ok ill try it out thanks for the help