What Is Plex TV?

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What is Plex TV?

Plex TV is an easy-to-use tool, helping you access all your media files in one place. After you download the Plex TV app and set up a Plex server, it then scans your files and provides all the details for you—like title, genre, file description, tags and even cover art.

But Plex TV is not simply a glorified multimedia player. It also lets you watch and listen to on-demand movies and shows, live TV, podcasts, web shows and music. From time to time, your viewing experience will be disrupted by commercial breaks. It even has a built-in live DVR function for watching and recording live channels.

You can even stream your content to your friends and family. This is possible because Plex lets you access all your server files at home and on the go.

For a complete list of devices compatible with Plex, see the list below:

  • Browsers: Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox and Safari
  • Mobile Devices and Tablets: Android and iOS
  • Desktop and Laptops: macOS and Windows
  • Smart TVs: LG, Samsung, Hisense, VIZIO and Roku TV
  • Gaming Consoles: PlayStation and Xbox
  • Streaming Devices:
    • Amazon Alexa
    • Amazon Fire TV
    • Android TV
    • Apple TV
    • Chromecast
    • Portal from Facebook
    • Roku
    • Sonos

Note: Desktop and laptop users can enjoy Plex TV through its dedicated app or a browser.

Is Plex TV Legal?

Yes, Plex TV is legal to download and use. However, Plex TV is not free from being used for illegal purposes.

For instance, someone can illegally download content online. Once Plex scans the pirated file on the server, this person can stream it on the software and any device.

Additionally, since Plex allows anyone to share their library with others, all illegal material in it will be immediately available to all users of the server. Not only can anyone use pirated material because of this, but they can also distribute these to as many people as they like. Sadly, this can be easily abused.

Regardless, Plex TV is a legal streaming tool everyone can use.

Is Plex TV Free?

The basic utilities of Plex are completely free. You can watch any media on your server, stream on-demand and live content, podcasts and more without spending a single cent.

Free functions include:

  • The download and use of the Plex TV app on a compatible device
  • Plex Media Server and Plex Web App
  • Plex “Movies & TV” streaming service (ad-supported)
  • Live TV streaming (ad-supported)
  • Local live TV broadcasts (compatible tuner and antenna required)
  • Podcasts and Web Shows
  • 30-second previews of songs from TIDAL

Unfortunately, casting your media files from your device to your mobile app requires a one-time in-app purchase or a subscription to Plex Pass. Otherwise, you are limited to one minute of playback. After the one-minute trial, the content immediately stops and returns you to the library.

What Does Plex Premium Give You?

If you want to access Plex TV’s other features, you will have to subscribe to Plex Pass for $4.99 a month or the discounted yearly plan of $39.99.

Subscribing to Plex Pass gives you:

  • Device-to-Mobile syncing and casting
  • Over-the-Air broadcasts (with a home tuner and antenna)
  • DVR Recording
  • Music lyrics through LyricFind
  • Account switching by allowing you to invite Plex accounts to be a part of your Plex Home
  • Intro skipping in your library
  • Early preview access of new apps and features
  • Access to Plex Pass Perks

With Plex Pass Perks, you can get discounts and deals, early looks and VIP access from Plex partners.

How Much is a Lifetime Plex Pass?

The Lifetime Plex Pass costs $119. Like the name suggests, subscribing to this tier gives you access to all the premium features for only a single purchase with no timed restrictions.

Throughout the year, Plex offers Lifetime Plex Pass discounts. Cyber Monday of November last year, saw the lifetime subscription go from $119 down to $70.

Can I Watch Plex on my TV?

Plex TV is available on numerous devices—including Smart TVs.

You can even use Plex on older or unsupported Smart TV models through streaming dongles like Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, Roku and more. These are cheap and easy to navigate and give users another option to enjoy their files.

What Channels are on Plex Live TV?

In terms of live channels, Plex offers more than 80 networks. This includes Newsy, Newsmax TV, Outdoor America, AMC Presents and more. Unlike Plex’s over-the-air broadcasts of local networks, you can watch Plex’s live TV offering without any additional hardware.

However, you will need to subscribe to Plex Pass to watch local broadcasts with a tuner and antenna. We recommend setting these up otherwise you be able to access major networks like NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, CW, PBS and more through Plex’s free tier. To help you with this issue, check out our articles on local networks and TV antennas here.

Note: All Plex live channels are not free from advertisements. Even if you get Plex Pass, you will still need to sit through ad breaks.

How do I Add Channels to Plex?

One way you could add channels to Plex is by installing plugins. These are extensions where users could get content channels like Twitch, BBC iPlayer and Vimeo.

Unfortunately, Plex is slowly removing plugin support for both first and third-party plugins as newer versions of the software releases. Nevertheless, you might still be able to manually install them by following a guide from the Plex Unsupported Appstore forums.

Plex is actively expanding its collection to give users a broader selection of channels, so we expect Plex’s live TV lineup will grow over time.

What Shows are on Plex?

Plex is not like Netflix or Hulu, which provide a long list of original content. However, it is not far behind the two in terms of on-demand streaming.

At the time of writing, you can watch these shows on Plex for free:

  • The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
  • Jungle Book (1942)
  • The House I Live In (2012)
  • Almost Friends (2016)
  • Flash Gordon (1996)
  • Missing 411 (2016)
  • The Pill (2011)

In terms of web shows, Plex has plenty from Bloomberg, Epic Meal Time, Krazy Kat, Reelz, Pac-12 Conference and more.

How do I Connect my Plex to my TV?

After downloading the Plex app from your device’s app store, set up your account by following the instructions below:

  1. Open the app and sign in to your Plex account when prompted
  2. If you do not have a Plex account, select the “sign-up” option on your screen to create one
  3. After receiving a four-digit code, go to the Plex TV website indicated on your screen and type in the code
  4. Return to your TV and enjoy everything Plex has to offer

Can You Install Plex on a Smart TV?

Plex TV is compatible with most Smart TVs like LG, Samsung Smart TV and more.

The process varies from one Smart TV to another, but they all essentially require you to go to your respective device’s app store (LG Content Store, Samsung Smart Hub, Google Play Store and more) and install the Plex app from there.

Once the app has finished downloading, it will then be available for use from the main menu or with your other channel applications.

Can You Buy Movies on Plex?

You cannot buy movies on Plex. However, you can purchase and add digital copies or movies to your Plex Media Server.

Since Plex is, first and foremost, a media server, you will need to provide your content outside of its live TV and on-demand offerings—especially if the movie or show you want to watch is not readily available on Plex’s streaming library.

Often, Plex users rip the DVDs they own to create their media libraries. DVDs and Blu-rays are encrypted discs, and the act of ripping is considered illegal and redistributing these materials to other users even more so.

Regardless, digitizing a movie or show for personal use—may it be to create backup copies or simply for convenience—will likely not get you in legal trouble.

Can You Watch Netflix on Plex?

You cannot watch Netflix on Plex. Plex once offered a Netflix plugin to their Plex Media Server. This plugin allowed users to add Netflix shows to their libraries even if Netflix decided to remove a show. This gave you the ability to continue watching Netflix shows as long as you had it downloaded on your server.

However, most Plex plugins that worked before do not work on the newer version of the app now. This is completely understandable since downloading content and then sharing it with others outside your household through Plex can be considered “redistribution of copyrighted material.”

Can Plex Work Without Internet?

In order to enjoy the full capabilities of Flex, you need an internet connection. The Plex Media Server—your content library—always assumes you are connected to the internet.

Without an internet connection, Plex is reduced to a multimedia player you can use to view photos, listen to music and watch videos. However, as evidenced above, Plex TV is so much more.

The list of some functions which require an internet connection include:

  • On-demand and live TV streaming
  • Web shows, podcasts and TIDAL streaming
  • Premium content only available through Plex Pass
  • Fast User Switching
  • Adding content to your library
  • Adding details to the movies and shows in your library
  • Mobile Syncing
  • Remote Access
  • Server Sharing


While Plex TV cannot be a complete replacement to cable TV and other famous streaming services, the multipurpose tool offers users versatility and accessibility.

Plex not only acts as a great multimedia player for your media files, but it also gives you access to thousands of hours of on-demand and live TV content—and that’s without purchasing the Plex Pass.

The premium subscription only expands existing features. For instance, it gives you DVR, local TV viewing, remote access and more. Subscribing to the premium option is entirely optional, but it does help support the developers.

If you are looking for a way to access all your content in a central hub, Plex TV does this with much more.

Lloyd Rano Opalec

Do you use Plex TV? If you do, would you recommend it to others? If you do not, does its features and content offer enough to download and install on your device? Let us know in the comments below.

Additional Resources

We love the streaming options in the table below. We have either used them in the past or continue to use them now.

Amazon Prime VideoApple TVAT&T TVCuriosity StreamDisney+ESPN+Fubo TVHBO MaxHulu+Live TVKlowdTVNetflixParamount+
PeacockPhiloPluto TVRokuShowtimeSling TVStarzTubiTVisionVidgoYouTube TV
A Few Popular Streaming Platforms & Networks

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