Apple TV owners just got one more option to watch and record live television with the streaming device of their choice: Media center app maker Plex expanded its live TV feature to Apple TV devices Wednesday, which means that Apple TV can now essentially double as a DVR of sorts.
Plex also expanded live TV viewing and recording to Android mobile devices, and the company finally bridged the gap between live and recorded TV programming with the introduction of simple time shifting features to pause, rewind and fast forward while watching live TV.
Plex’s Live TV and DVR features do require a compatible TV tuner to work, and users also need to run Plex’s server software to run on a PC, network-attached-storage device or something similar. However, there’s one small quirk: At launch, recordings can’t actually get scheduled from Apple TV’s interface. Users still have to fire up a browser on their computer, or launch the Plex mobile app, to do so.
Finally, Plex users who do want to make use of its live TV functionality need to pay for a Plex Pass subscription, which costs $5 per month, or $120 for a life-time subscription. Once all of this is in place, Apple TV and Android users are able to access over-the-air programming from networks like ABC, CBS and Fox in real-time, as well as record shows for later use.
Plex isn’t the first startup to bring this kind of live TV functionality to Apple TV. DVR maker Tablo launched an app for Apple TV a little over a year ago.
Both companies rely on the availability of free over-the-air content to reinvent the DVR for the streaming age. It’s an idea that seems to resonate especially well with cord cutters, but that alone doesn’t seem to guarantee success: DVR startup Simple TV announced this past weekend that it was shutting down its service by August 4.
Update: 10:00 a.m.: This post was updated to clarify that Apple TV can’t currently be used to schedule Plex DVR recordings.