Plex, the much loved media player app available on nearly ever platform, including all Fire TV models, has expanded their free content offering with the addition of 80 free live linear channels. Much like the library of free on-demand movies and TV shows, added by Plex late last year, these live channels are ad-supported and are avialable globaly to everion, without the need to create an account or sign into the app.
Unlike the Fire TV’s built-in channel guide, which lists all channels, regardless of source, into a single guide, Plex has chosen to separate these new free channels into their own “Live TV” menu item in the app’s side navigation bar. What you see in the image above are all the content categories available by default in Plex, without signing in to the app or running your own Plex server for local media. If you have your own antenna or cable channels being fed into Plex from an HDHomeRun network tuner, those channels will be listed separately in their own “Live TV & DVR” menu item.
Selecting the new Live TV menu item jumps you right into a familiar vertical-scrolling program guide of all the channels. The 3 channels you watched most recently will be listed at the top of the channel guide, but that feature can be disabled if you’d like. You can also choose to hide specific channels and rearrange them in any order that you’d like, but there is no option to filter or sort channels.
Selecting a live program jumps right into the live stream. Backing out of the channel to return to the channel guide will keep the video of the channel you were just watching playing in the upper right corner of the channel guide screen. If you scroll to the right in the channel guide, you can see what programming will air in the future, but, whether you have Plex’s DVR functionality or not, you cannot schedule a recording for any of these free channels, nor can you pause or time-shift the live feed. The only options available under playback settings are a sleep timer and display zoom/stretch options.
The new Live TV channels also make an appearance on the Home screen of the Plex app. Scrolling down a bit reveals a new “Featured Channels” row that lists channel icons, with the title of what is currently airing underneath, as well as how much time is left in the program. It does not appear that the content in the new live channels is integrated into Plex’s search function yet, so the only way to discover specific content is to find it in the channel guide.