Right now, all Plex users are eligible to receive three months of free, live TV streaming while they wait out COVID-19. This is a pretty sweet upgrade for free users, since live TV is normally locked behind the premium Plex Pass. But there are a few catches.
Editor’s Note: Plex is currently unavailable in Australia, but users may be able to access its content through the use of a VPN.
Plex’s live TV service uses OTA (over the air) antenna signals rather than internet-based streaming like SlingTV or YouTube TV, which means you’ll need extra equipment and will only receive the HD antenna channels available where you live. The DVR feature is not included in the upgrade, so users who want to record a show and save it for later will still need to upgrade to a Plex Pass account.
That said, the comped three-month service includes TV listing data so you can see what’s coming up next over the next 48 hours in Plex’s TV interface, and you’ll be able to watch on any device connected to your Plex server.
How to watch OTA TV on Plex
There are a few things you’ll need to set up before you can stream live TV through Plex. Let us run you through the process:
A Plex account (free to sign up).
A Plex media server. This can be on your PC, an external NAS drive or another compatible device (such as an Nvidia Shield). Setting one up is free and the software runs on a myriad of devices. Our Plex server guide will help you find the best choice for your setup if you don’t already have one.
An HD antenna and TV tuner. This is potentially the only money you’ll need to spend to complete the setup, but decent HD antennas are inexpensive. Plex has a full list of supported antennas and tuners on its support page. (We also cover Plex antenna and tuner basics here and in our Plex server guide linked above.)
A device to watch on. Some devices can load up content directly from a connected media server, but others will need to install the Plex app (which is separate from the Plex media server software) in order to stream.
The Plex app is available on:
Once you’ve got all the necessary components, head over to Plex’s official “setup wizard,” which includes helpful visual guides for getting everything connected. Plex’s live TV page also has additional guides and troubleshooting tips if you need further assistance.
For those who don’t care for live TV or don’t want to go through the process of setting it up through Plex, the service still has plenty of free content, including live “web shows” and tons of on-demand movies and TV episodes.