Plex Adds Live TV, Expands DVR Hardware Support

Media center specialist Plex added another piece to the puzzle Thursday to become the go-to solution for cord cutters: Plex users who own a compatible TV tuner are now able stream live broadcast programming to their Plex apps on mobile and TV-connected devices. The company also extended support for its DVR feature to record over-the-air broadcast TV programming from networks like ABC, NBC, and CBS.

Live TV support initially launched for iOS mobile devices and Android TV streaming devices Thursday, with Plex chief product officer Scott Olechowski telling Variety that support will be extended to Android mobile devices and Apple TV in the next three to four weeks. Support for other devices will be rolled out soon after, Olechowski said.

The company demonstrated the new feature in a video:

The launch of live TV support is a logical extension of Plex’s DVR feature, which the company first launched last September.  With the launch of live TV, Plex is also adding support for additional TV tuners, including devices from Hauppage and Microsoft’s Xbox TV tuner.

In addition to the extended hardware support, Plex is also making the DVR easier to use. Previously, users had to access the Plex website to schedule DVR recordings. Now, they can simply browse TV listings on any supported device, and either tune in live, or decide what they want to record — just like one would expect from a DVR. The one feature that’s still missing is a traditional grid guide, but Olechowski said that the company may be adding it in the future.

Both Live TV and the previously-launched DVR functionality are only available for paying Plex Pass subscribers. A Plex pass subscription costs $5 per month, $40 per year of $120 for a lifetime plan.

Adding live programming and DVR recording capabilities is just one part of Plex’s bigger strategy to evolve from an app primarily used by users with large local media collections to something that’s also appealing to a wider user base of would-be cord cutters and others looking for a media player that works on all of their devices.

This strategy also includes adding more online content to Plex. To that end, Plex recently acquired news video curation startup Watchup, and is now in the process of adding news video feeds to its apps.

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