Plex is bringing its live TV streaming service to the U.S.’s most popular media player platform, with today’s announcement of its arrival on Roku. Launched earlier this year, Plex’s software offers cord cutters a low-cost way to set up more of a DIY live TV service as an alternative to Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, or any of the other now numerous subscription-based options for those ditching traditional cable or satellite television.
Plex’s service already works on the web, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Android TV and Amazon’s Fire TV, but Roku was a glaring hole in its lineup until now.
Live TV and the accompanying DVR functionality are offered as a part of Plex’s own subscription, Plex Pass, which is only $4.99 per month — far less than the starting price for many of the live TV subscriptions, which start at around $20 per month (for Sling TV, e.g.) and go up from there as you add channel packs and upgraded features.
But unlike the live TV streaming services, Plex only covers what you can get from your digital antenna.
The difference is that it takes that content and organizes it into an easy-to-use TV guide, and it allows you to take advantage of other features, like the ability to record programs and movies, or pause, rewind and fast-forward through live TV.
With its launch on Roku, the live TV service is still missing the ability to schedule recordings via the Roku app itself — that’s something that will arrive in time. But users will be able to watch their recordings started from other devices, including mobile, web or other streaming players, like Android TV or Apple TV.
While originally a software platform for organizing home media collections, the company more recently has been investing in TV streaming as the market for cord cutting has heated up. Plex’s software makes sense for those who primarily watch network TV — the same channels you could get over an antenna for free.
But Plex’s angle on the market is improving the experience for antenna users — not only by offering a guide, but other features cable TV once offered, like pausing and recording shows to a DVR. It has also been augmenting its service with other features cord cutters may miss, like news programming. The company this year acquired streaming news startup Watchup and last month integrated a personalized news service into its TV platform.
Roku support is being rolled out starting today to Plex Pass subscribers, and the company expects that it will reach all customers in about a week’s time.