Plex has added DVR capabilities to their server software. A Plex server can now be configured to work with compatible tuners to record shows directly. The feature requires a Plex Pass subscription, which runs $4.99 per month, $39.99 per year, or $149.99 lifetime. Plex DVR is available right now through an open beta, but comes with several limitations that will hopefully be addressed before it’s official release in a few months.
The new Plex DVR feature adds two sections to the Plex server interface: Recording Schedule and Program Guide. Unfortunately, you can’t schedule recordings using Plex’s client apps, like the one available for the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. You must use the server’s web interface. The programming guide uses Gracenote’s database and is included as part of the Plex Pass subscription.
Plex DVR is currently only available through their PC server software. It will be coming to the NVIDIA Shield TV eventually, which received the ability to run a Plex server a few months ago. Of course, you can view any of the DVR’s recordings through a Plex client, but only a PC can do the recording. The only compatible tuners right now are the HDHomeRun line of networked tuners. This means a tuner built-in or plugged-in to your PC will not work. Plex Server does work with HDHomeRun’s CableCARD tuners, in addition to their over-the-air tuners, for those of you with cable subscriptions trying to save money on cable box rental fees.
One of the biggest missing features right now is live and time-shifted viewing. This means a show/movie must finish recording before it’s available to view. Plex wants to add this ability in the future, but for now, you’ll have to switch to the HDHomeRun app to watch anything live. There is also no functionality, other than the standard fast forward, to skip commercials.
Despite the current limitation, Plex DVR is a great new feature to round out the software’s capabilities. Many people rely on dedicated devices/software, like Tablo, MythTV, or Windows Media Center, to record programming, which then gets viewed within Plex. Having one piece of software handle both the recording and viewing will simplify things.