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7 Important Plex Settings All Users Need to Know About

If you have an extensive collection of locally-saved media, you’ve probably heard of Plex. Along with Kodi, it’s one of the best apps for managing, watching, casting, and exploring all of your content.

The Plex app can support video, music, and pictures, and works with a dizzying array of formats within each category. It also lets you access your media remotely, even on the free tier.

However, unlike Kodi, Plex is easy to set up and use. While customizing Kodi is a minefield of add-ons, repos, and settings, Plex works straight out of the box. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some options you should tweak.

Here are the most important Plex settings you need to know about if you want to stream media in the best way possible.

1. Organize Your Plex Agents

plex agents

Plex can automatically pull in metadata for your content. Although you need to format your Plex media files in a very precise way for it to work, it’s well worth doing.

Of course, Plex can add movie posters and TV episode names, but the metadata goes much deeper. It will know which actors were in a show, which TV channel the program aired on, who directed each movie, and what the various critics on the big-name review sites thought of the content. Once the metadata is added, you can even use it to find related shows, other movies certain actors starred in, and so on.

But none of this will work if you don’t set up your agents correctly. You need to make sure Local Media Assets is set below other metadata sources. Failure to do so will result in Plex using existing local metadata on the file as its primary source. In many cases, this metadata will be incorrect.

To change the order, go to Settings > Settings > Agents. Using the tabs at the top of the screen, head to Movies > The Movie Database. Drag Local Media Assets (Movies) below The Movie Database. Then go to Programmes > TheTVDB and move Local Media Assets (TV) below TheTVDB.

2. Restrict the Upload Speed

plex upload speed

One of the best features of Plex is its ability to stream content outside of your network. It has two primary uses: Letting you watch your Plex videos when you’re away from home, and giving server access to friends and family so they can enjoy your library.

Setting up remote access itself is easy. Just head to Settings > Settings > Remote Access and click Enable Remote Access.

However, you might also want to adjust the upload speed. This is especially true if you don’t have a fast upload speed from your ISP, or several people are going to be streaming content at the same time. Restricting the speed will prevent your home network from slowing to a crawl when remote users are tuning in.

Go back to Settings > Settings > Remote Access and scroll down until you get to Internet upload speed. You can set your internet’s maximum speed by populating the next box. Underneath, you can set how much of the maximum capacity Plex is allowed to use. Expand the drop-down menu to make your choice.

3. Manage Plex Transcoding

Plex can transcode your videos so that they are playable on other devices. For example, desktop PCs and laptops normally have powerful processors that can handle most file formats, codecs, resolutions, and subtitles. However, mobile devices and set-top streaming devices may struggle. Therefore, Plex can alter your videos on-the-fly to ensure they are compatible with other gadgets.

The drawback of transcoding is that it’s very CPU-intensive. If your Plex server is running on a non-dedicated computer, you probably don’t want all your CPU’s power to be eaten up. Even if you’ve got a dedicated server, you’ll eventually reach its limits if many items are transcoding at the same time.

The solution is to tweak your transcoder’s settings (Settings > Settings > Transcoder). There are three values you need to know about (click on Show Advanced to see them all):

  • Transcoder Quality: You can determine the quality of the transcodes using the drop-down menu. The higher the quality, the slower the transcode will be.
  • Background Transcoding x264 Preset: This setting determines the speed of background transcoding, for example when you’re using Mobile Sync, Cloud Sync, or the Media Optimizer. The slower the transcode, the smaller the file size, and the higher the quality, but the slower the time.
  • Maximum number of simultaneous transcode sessions: This is the most important setting for the majority of users. Logic dictates that the more simultaneous transcodes you allow, the bigger the strain on your CPU. Consider the power of your CPU, whether it’s a dedicated server, and how many people will be streaming at the same time, and set a number accordingly. It might require some trial and error on your part.

4. Optimize Your Plex Videos

optimise plex

The Optimize feature is best thought of as a “pre-transcoder.” It lets you select certain videos and convert them to another format.

For example, if you know you want to watch Toy Story, Beauty and the Beast, and Batman on your iPad while you’re traveling next week, you can optimize the video files in advance. It means they’ll be instantly ready to play on your chosen device. No further transcoding will be necessary.

Media optimization is also useful if you know lots of people will be watching a video remotely at the same time, as it will ease the pressure on your CPU.

You can optimize an individual show, a series, or even your entire library. To get started, navigate to the content you want to adjust, click on the three horizontal dots, and choose Optimize.

In the new window, you can select whether you want to optimize a certain number of videos or just the unwatched videos. More importantly, you can set the quality of the optimization. You can choose from Optimize for Mobile, Optimize for TV, Original Quality, or Custom. The Custom setting lets you specify a specific device, the resolution, and the bitrate.

If you set up a long list of items to optimize, you can manage the queue by heading to Settings > Status > Conversion. You can manage your already-optimized files in Settings > Manage > Optimized Versions.

5. Set Your Streaming Quality

Each Plex app has its own streaming quality settings. As such, you can choose different setups for your computers, mobile devices, streaming boxes, and so on.

The settings you choose determine the quality and resolution of any video played on the device. The lower the setting, the lower the video quality. However, it will load faster and use less bandwidth. Therefore, it’s worth taking the time to adjust these settings on every Plex client you use.

You have three settings to adjust: Local Quality, Remote Quality, and Online Quality.

  • Local Quality: Affects any videos watch over your local area network.
  • Remote Quality: Affects videos you stream from your server when you’re outside your LAN.
  • Online Quality: Affects the quality of video streamed from online channels and private Plex channels.

Mobile users can also adjust remote network streaming and remote Wi-Fi streaming individually.

6. Optimize the Plex Database

plex optimise database

Confusingly, Plex offers two forms of optimization. In addition to optimizing specific titles as discussed earlier, you can also optimize the entire database.

These two processes are not the same thing. By optimizing the Plex database, you can force Plex to clean up unused and fragmented data. It’s important to run the tool every time you make mass edits or change entire libraries—doing so will help the Plex server to run much more smoothly.

You can optimize the Plex database by heading to Settings > Manage > Troubleshooting > Optimize Database. Click the button to begin, and you’ll see an on-screen confirmation once the process is complete.

7. Delete Old Artwork

Downloading artwork is an important part of fine-tuning your Plex experience. Having all of the correct movie posters and series covers makes it much easier to find what you’re looking for.

Plex can download artwork automatically. If you later decide to change the artwork (perhaps because the studio released a new version or because Plex downloaded the wrong one), the old artwork will remain on your server, taking up space.

To get rid of old, unused artwork, head to Settings > Manage > Troubleshooting > Clean Bundles.

More Plex Settings to Tweak

We’ve introduced you to some of the most important Plex settings to adjust if you want to enjoy a smooth Plex experience, as well as offering some case studies for when it’s appropriate to change each setting.

For more help optimizing Plex, check out our list of hidden Plex settings you should be using.

Read the full article: 7 Important Plex Settings All Users Need to Know About

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How to Group Watch Plex Together With Friends Online

The growth of movie downloading paired with the crippling consequences of 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic means fewer people than ever are watching movies with their friends. People just don’t go to theaters any more.

That’s had a knock-on effect on the social aspect of movie watching. Going to see a brand new movie in a packed cinema can be an exhilarating experience. You don’t get that experience sat on your sofa.

Thankfully, it’s possible to watch Plex together with your friends. The functionality is available from directly within the app using Watch Together, or from a third-party tool called SyncLounge.

Plex’s Watch Together Feature

First, let’s take a look at the native Plex tool for watching videos with friends. Called Watch Together, it’s officially still in the experimental stage. However, the feature appears to work flawlessly and the interface is easy to use. It definitely gets the MakeUseOf stamp of approval.

Who Can Use Plex’s Watch Together?

plex watch together users

While Plex’s Watch Together feature remains in beta, it’s free to use for all Plex users. However, this may change when it’s launched officially. Plex’s own documentation appears to suggest that Watch Together will remain free if you only want to stream content from Plex’s free, in-house, ad-supported streaming service. However, if you want to stream content from your own library, it seems likely that you’ll need to subscribe to Plex Pass.

At the time of writing, you’ll need to have an Android, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, or Roku device to be able to use Watch Together. You cannot use Watch Together from the web app.

How Many People Can Tune In Using Watch Together?

plex watch together lobby

Officially, Plex hasn’t named a limit of the number of users (although we’re sure one exists).

In practice, however, the amount who can sync content together will depend on the Plex Media Server’s hardware, your network connection, your disk speed, and the video quality.

Confused? Here’s how Plex describes the user limit:

“If your Plex Media Server and network could not handle that number of users streaming things individually all at the same time, then it would also not be able to support them for Watch Together.”

Beware, trying to add too many users will lead to playback issues and the video will be unwatchable.

How to Use Watch Together on Plex

plex watch together episode

Assuming you’re using one of the supported devices, you’ll need to hit the More button (three horizontal dots) on a video’s pre-play screen, then select Watch Together from the list of options.

Next, you need to add people to your Watch Together session. You can only invite Plex users who you are “Friends” with. When you’re ready, click on the names of the friends you want to add and hit Done. To add a new friend, go to Settings > Users and Sharing > Share Libraries and enter the username or email address of the person you want to connect with.

(NB: If you just added a new friend and don’t see them in the list, you will need to restart your app to refresh the screen.)

If you’re being invited to someone else’s Plex Watch Together session, you’ll see a Watch Together row appear at the top of your app’s home screen, along with the video that’s been loaded by the host.

As users accept invitations, they’ll all appear together in a lobby. Once everyone has arrived, the host can begin playback. Only the host can control play/pause functionality once the video has started. Hosts also have sole control over different audio streams and subtitle tracks.

SyncLounge

synclounge plex

Formerly called Plex Together, SyncLounge is another great way to watch Plex together with friends.

Like Plex’s official Watch Together tool, SyncLounge will sync up your individual Plex apps so that you’re all watching the same footage at the same time.

SyncLounge Features

SyncLounge has some features that are not yet available in the official tool. For example, you can hide your Plex username when you sign into a room, you can rejoin recent rooms, and you can automatically play the next episodes when you’re binge-watching TV with friends.

We also really like the app’s user status indicators. Each user has a colored ring around their profile picture to denote sync distance, and you can even see the type of Plex client they are using if you hover over their name.

How to Use SyncLounge for Plex

synclounge sign in plex

To begin, click the Get Started link on the Sync Lounge website and enter your Plex login details. If you don’t fancy handing over your credentials, you can download the app from GitHub and run it directly on your own server.

Hosts will need to create a room and invite other people to join them. Invitees just need to accept the invite when it arrives.

Like Watch Together, only hosts can play and pause the video, change the subtitles, and change the audio.

Signing Out of SyncLounge

Don’t worry, SyncLounge isn’t the type of app that requires you to revoke access if you ever stop using it; your Plex user details are not held on the developer’s servers.

Plex’s Watch Together vs. SyncLounge

SyncLounge has some benefits over Plex’s official Watch Together tool.

Firstly, you don’t need to be “Plex buddies” to sync your content. Secondly, the Plex servers of every person connected to the room are available, thus creating a super-repo of content.

The danger, of course, is that Plex might pull the plug on the backend API that makes a third-party app possible, especially once its own Watch Together feature comes out of beta.

Longterm, we’d assume Plex’s backing of its in-house tool will help to establish it as the better product, but for now, it’s easy to make the case for SyncLounge instead.

How to Watch Other Video Apps Together With Friends

Plex isn’t the only app that lets you watch content in sync with your friends far away. Netflix subscribers should check out how to use the Netflix Party Chrome extension, and there are also plenty of ways to watch YouTube with far-away friends.

Read the full article: How to Group Watch Plex Together With Friends Online

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How to Organize Your Plex Library Using Collections

If your media collection is growing out of control, it may be time to organize your Plex library.

Content collections are a criminally underused part of the Plex app. Not only do they have massive organizational benefits, but you can also use them to customize the way your libraries look by using artwork and other metadata.

However, before you can use Plex collections, you need to understand how to enable them on your libraries, how to view them, and how to edit them. And some of the settings aren’t too easy to find.

Here’s how to organize your Plex library using collections…

How to Enable Plex Collections

plex enable collections

Before you can organize your Plex library, you need to enable Plex collections for each individual library on your Plex server. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Open the Plex Media Server app (you cannot enable collections from a Plex Media Player app).
  2. Locate the list of your Plex libraries on the left-hand side of the window.
  3. Find the library on which you want to enable collections.
  4. Hover over the library name and click the three vertical dots that appear on the right.
  5. Using the popup menu, navigate to Manage Library > Edit.
  6. Select Advanced in the left-hand panel.
  7. Scroll down to Collections.
  8. Set the option to either Hide items which are in collections or Show collections and their items.
  9. Hit Save Changes.

There’s an important difference between Hide items which are in collections and Show collections and their items.

The first option will prevent items that you’ve added to collections from showing in the main library; only the collection itself will show as a single item. The second option will show both the collection and each individual item within the collection in your library.

How to Create a New Collection

Once you’ve enabled collections in your library, it’s time to make a new collection and start adding content.

To make a new collection, navigate to the preplay screen of the first movie, TV series, or episode you want to add, then click on the Edit button.

plex edit

On the Edit screen, click on Tags in the left-hand panel, then scroll down to Collections.

In the text-entry field, type the name you want to call your new collection and click Add [collection name] in the popup box below the field. When you’re ready, hit Save Changes.

plex create collection

(NB: Collections are locked to the library on which you created them. You cannot add content from two different libraries to the same collection.)

How to Add More Videos to a Collection

Once you’ve created a collection, it’s time to start adding more videos to it.

Two methods are available. You can either repeat the steps above to add content on a case-by-case basis, or you can use multi-select to add videos to your collection in bulk. For most people, multi-select will be the way to go as it’s a lot faster.

To get started, highlight all of the videos in your collection that you want to add, then click on the Edit button in the upper-right corner of the Plex app.

plex multi-edit

In the Edit window, go to Tags > Collections and start to type the collection’s name. The field should auto-populate. You can add a video/series to more than one collection within the same library.

How to Browse Plex Collections

plex library view

As long as you’ve enabled collections in the way we outlined at the beginning of the article, you’ll see them appear in-line in your library. However, even if you left that setting on Disabled, you can still see your collections for a given library by clicking on the drop-down tab at the top of the Plex window.

The tab has three viewing options—Recommended, Library, and Collections. Needless to say, you need to choose the latter.

When you click on a collection, you will be able to see all of the content that’s held within it.

How to Customize a Plex Collection

edit collection plex

Now it’s time to customize your Plex collection. All of the same metadata fields are available that you’d find if you were editing the data of a standalone TV series or movie.

To start customizing, click on the collection’s name to open the pre-play screen, then hit the Edit icon. The four options in the left-hand panel that you need to pay attention to are General, Poster, Background, and Advanced.

  • General: Change the sort title of your collection and add a text summary of its contents.
  • Poster: With a bit of planning, you can make your collection posters look uber-slick. For example, why not use standardized fonts or iconography so that they all have the same style on your TV screen? If you don’t change the poster, it will default to the first item in your collection.
  • Background: You can set a background image to appear on the pre-play and buffering screens.
  • Advanced: This lets you override the default library settings for collection visibility and choose the order in which content appears within the collection.

Collections can also be shared with other users on a case-by-case basis, even if the library they are a part of is not shared.

Collections vs. Libraries

collection custom art plex

Finally, a quick note on when to use a collection versus when to use a library.

It’s perhaps easiest to think of collections as sub-libraries. For example, you wouldn’t want to group your TV shows and movies into a single library; there’s a clear delineation and it would play havoc with Plex’s automatic metadata import tool.

However, it wouldn’t make sense to spin out Brad Pitt movies into their own library; you’d want them to be part of your wider film library. In these cases, a collection makes sense.

The area that most often falls under the microscope in the library versus collections debate is kids’ content. There’s no right answer, but keep in mind that you can restrict access to videos based on content rating, as long as you’ve taken the time to set it up correctly on each video (Edit > General > Content Rating).

Learn More About Using Plex

Only a small fraction of Plex users make use of the app’s full range of features. Remember, you can now use Plex to watch live TV for free and use Watch Together to host Plex viewing parties.

And to learn more about customizing Plex, check out our list of hidden Plex settings you should be using.

Read the full article: How to Organize Your Plex Library Using Collections

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Plex Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows and Mac

If you have a large collection of locally-saved media, you need to be using Plex. It is the best way to keep your digital movies and TV shows organized.

Plex is available on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and all the major streaming platforms. You can use it to import artwork and other metadata, display subtitles, play multiple audio tracks, automatically organize your content into collections, and more. The app even has support for live TV, DVR, and personalized news.

Each version of the Plex app operates slightly differently. Today, we want to focus on the desktop app for Windows and Mac. Specifically, we’re going to introduce you to some of the most useful Plex keyboard shortcuts. After all, no one wants to be fiddling around with a mouse just to change the volume in the middle of a movie.

The shortcuts are split into three sections: Navigation, Playback, and Troubleshooting. Some shortcuts use the same hotkeys, depending on which mode you’re in.

(Note: Replace Control with Cmd if you’re using a macOS machine.)

FREE DOWNLOAD: This cheat sheet is available as a downloadable PDF from our distribution partner, TradePub. You will have to complete a short form to access it for the first time only. Download Plex Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows and Mac.

Plex Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows and Mac

ShortcutAction
App Navigation
Left ArrowNavigate left
Right ArrowNavigate right
Up ArrowNavigate up
Down ArrowNavigate down
EnterSelect
SpaceSelect
EscBack
BackspaceBack
DeleteBack
PStart playback off highlighted item
WToggle played/unplayed status
Shift + F11Enter/exit fullscreen mode (Windows)
Cmd + Control + FEnter/exit fullscreen mode (Mac)
Win + Down ArrowMinimize Plex (Windows)
Cmd + MMinimize Plex (Mac)
Alt + F4Quit app
Control + QQuit app
Playback
EnterAccess menu
+Volume up
-Volume down
PPause/play
Right ArrowSkip back 10 seconds
Left ArrowJump forward 10 seconds
Up ArrowJump forward 10 minutes
Down arrowSkip back 10 minutes
XCancel playback
BBack
HStop playback and return to home screen
HomePlay previous item in queue
EndPlay next item in queue
ZCycle though aspect ratios
ASwitch to next audio stream
Control + AReturn to previous audio stream
LSwitch to next subtitles
Control + LSwitch to previous subtitles
SToggle subtitles on/off
Alt + AIncrease audio delay
Alt + Shift + ADecrease audio delay
Alt + SIncrease subtitle delay
Alt + Shift + SDecrease subtitle delay
Troubleshooting
Control + Shift + RReload app
Control + Shift + DShow debug information

How to Do More With Plex

If you’re still not sure about the benefits of using Plex, check out some of our other content, like how to watch live TV on Plex and the best Plex clients.

Read the full article: Plex Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows and Mac

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Plex Launches Its Own Live TV Service With More Than 80 Free Channels

Plex has just launched its own live TV service with more than 80 free channels. Here is everything you need to know about this.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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Plex Launches Free Live TV Channels for Everyone

Plex has launched free Live TV in all 220+ countries that it currently serves. These Live TV channels will be available to watch anytime, anywhere. There are 80 channels available at launch, with Plex promising to add even more in the coming months.

What Free Live TV Channels Are Available on Plex?

As detailed in a post on The Plex Blog, the free Live TV channels on Plex are linear, pre-programmed channels. Which means you can channel hop until you find something you want to watch. And once you find something, the content plays out live from beginning to end.

This gives you a very different experience than streaming on-demand from the likes of Netflix and Disney+ (is Disney+ worth the money?). But in a good way for anyone nostalgic for the bygone age of television.

The 80 free Live TV channels on Plex include news offerings from Reuters and Yahoo Finance, kids’ programming on Toon Goggles, food and travel shows on Tastemade, sports programming courtesy of the fubo Sports Network, gaming content via IGN TV, and movies from The Film Detective and Midnight Pulp.

Some of the more out-there channels include The Bob Ross Channel (for Bob Ross fans), Love Destination (for romantic types), KMTV (for all things K-pop), The Pet Collective (for pet lovers), Surf Now TV (for surfers), and Unidentified (for fans of UFOs and the supernatural).

How to Watch Free Live TV on Plex

All of these Live TV channels are available to watch on Plex for free, as long as you’re willing to sit through the ads. Most of them are available globally, with a handful restricted to the US and Canada. The channels are easily accessible via the Plex app, which is available on most devices you can think of.

The free Live TV offering is distinct from Plex’s existing over-the-air TV and DVR offering, which requires a digital antenna and tuner. You can watch these channels on the Plex app, without any additional hardware. Still, the OTA option gives you access to major networks such as NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, CW, and PBS, so it’s worth setting up.

Don’t Forget About The Roku Channel…

Plex isn’t alone in offering free live TV channels to those willing to sit through ads. Since June 2020, The Roku Channel boasts over 100 channels in the US, which includes some of the same channels you can now watch on Plex. Still, we’re not complaining, as they’re all free, and perfect for those moments when you just want to sit back and channel surf.

Read the full article: Plex Launches Free Live TV Channels for Everyone

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Roku Premiere Streams Netflix, Disney+ and More in HD, 4K, & HDR for Under $50

Our verdict of the Roku Premiere:
Slick, smooth, and speedy --- the Roku Premiere is an incredible device for such a low price. While it has minor niggles, with such a large choice of apps in such a compact package, this is an amazing media streamer with 4K capabilities at an unmissable price.
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The media streamer market is at saturation point, with multiple devices available from all the big names. There’s Apple TV, Amazon Fire sticks and boxes, Android TV units, and Google Chromecast.

And then there’s Roku. With a couple of devices to choose from, their budget Roku Premiere is particularly interesting. It costs under $50, streams 4K video, and seems to have an app for every service you can think of, and quite a few you can’t.

But does the Roku Premiere deliver on the performance promised on the box?

We’ve teamed up with Plex to offer a fantastic giveaway bundle to one lucky reader, consisting of a Roku Premiere, HD HomeRun Connect Duo TV-tuner, indoor antenna, and LIFETIME Plex Pass! You’ll find the entry widget at the end of this review, and the bonus code in the video. Good luck!

Unboxing the Roku Premiere

In the box, you’ll find the Roku Premiere (3920 model), USB cable, power adapter, and a surprisingly short HDMI cable. Also in the box is an IR remote control (Wi-Fi fans can use the mobile app), featuring pre-set channel shortcut buttons (including Netflix) and two AAA batteries. Along with a brief set-up guide, an adhesive strip is also included.

Roku Premiere and remote

All of this is wrapped up in an orange box that promises much: “4K & HDR streaming made easy” and a bunch of free and subscription services. If you have 4K content, a suitable internet connection, and a TV with the requisite HDCP 2.2 compliant HDMI port, you’ll get 4K. Otherwise, the Roku Premiere is perfect for standard 1080p content, too.

Roku Premiere Specification

Roku Premiere | HD/4K/HDR Streaming Media Player, Simple Remote and Premium HDMI Cable Roku Premiere | HD/4K/HDR Streaming Media Player, Simple Remote and Premium HDMI Cable Buy Now On Amazon $31.99

On the face of it, the Roku Premiere is incredibly unimpressive. It’s a small plastic slab, measuring 3.30 x 1.40 x 0.70 inches and weighing just 1.28 ounces. On the back is a single micro-USB power port and a single HDMI port. You’ll also find a small reset button, accessed using a pin.

For connecting the Roku Premiere to your network, there’s an 802.11bgn single-band wireless chip.

At the heart of the Roku is a quad-core ARM Cortex A53 CPU with 1GB of RAM and 512MB channel storage. There is no microSD card slot with the Roku Premiere.

The device can handle 4K UHD up to 2160p at 60fps, and supports HDR10 and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma). Audiophiles can enjoy DTS Digital Surround and Dolby Audio, with Dolby ATMOS pass through over HDMI, and Digital stereo over HDMI.

Can you connect Roku to your TV? Well, if you have an HDTV or greater, you should be fine. The box can stream to standard HDTVs with 1080p, as well as upscaling 720p.

For 4K UHD TVs, the Roku streams up to 2160p at 60fps (3840×2160) with up-scaling from 720p and 1080p. For this, the 4K TV should have an HDMI input that supports HDCP 2.2. The Roku Premiere can also stream at HDR10 to 4K UHD HDR TVs, using the same HDCP 2.2 HDMI input.

Note: as most people own a 1080p HDTV, we’ve reviewed the Roku Premiere on such a device.

Setting Up the Roku Premiere

While easy to set up and install, the Roku Premiere comes with a couple of positional challenges.

  • How should you power it?
  • Where should you place it?

Both are straightforward. The device ships with its own USB power adapter, so if there is a mains electric connection nearby, use this. However, this isn’t always the case. Fortunately, most modern TVs offer a 5V USB power outlet which is ideal for the Roku Premiere.

Mount Roku Premiere on your TV

With the power sorted out, positioning is the next challenge. The Roku Premiere is compact and light enough to be mounted on your TV. It comes with a double-sided adhesive strip to attach the device to the top or bottom of your television. If there is a consistent surface for the adhesive, the Roku Premiere can be reliably attached. Given the length of the HDMI cable, it makes sense to keep the device close to your TV.

Hooking up the Roku Premiere to Wi-Fi is straightforward, as is the entire set up process. You’ll need to set up your Roku account on a PC or tablet, however, in order to activate the device. This is a straightforward process that helps you initialize the Roku for your territory and download the relevant selection of apps. Once this is done you can switch back to the Roku Premiere itself to add channel apps, log in or create new accounts, and prepare for viewing.

Set up Roku Premiere

It’s fair to say that everything about this unit, from the compact size and ergonomic remote control to the simplicity of the user interface, makes it suitable even for the most tech-averse person you know.

Another example: the fabric tab on the remote’s battery compartment. No more struggling with your remote’s battery cover—it literally pulls off to let you quickly change the batteries. The remote itself is light, easy to use, and sits nicely in your hand. The lack of volume control is a surprise, but a minor disappointment.

Everything about Roku is designed with usability in mind. It’s a wonderful philosophy that gets a big thumbs up.

Finding and Installing Apps on Roku Premiere

The Roku Premiere features a vast selection of channels that can be installed or removed like apps. Among these are big names such as Netflix, Google Play TV, and Apple TV. The selection depends on where you live, so some apps don’t appear or won’t work in particular territories.

Thousands of channels are available overall. You’ll even find things like Plex and HD Homerun for streaming video and TV from your own networked devices.

Other channel apps include Disney+, Prime, Apple TV, Now TV, and YouTube. Channels are divided by category, and the platform even supports basic games.

Managing apps on the Roku Premiere is easy, too.

You can and delete as necessary, and the settings screen opens a whole host of options. You can change the theme, the screensaver, enable network access for mobile apps, factory reset, system update, change the language, and even initiate a guest mode. This lets visitors to your home input their own credentials for a specific app. A useful option for borrowing Disney+ to catch the latest addition to the service with friends and family.

As noted, the Roku has 512MB of channel storage. I spent around 30 minutes finding and installing apps without running out of space, so unless you’re really indecisive you probably won’t hit that limit.

Missing Channels? Use Mirroring

Incredibly, despite having 100s of channels, the Roku Premiere might not feature a channel app you want to use. For example, in the UK there is no Britbox app (although the US version is listed). Similarly, there is no Kodi app for Roku.

So, what is the solution? Fortunately, Roku supports screen mirroring. All you need to do is open Settings > System > Screen Mirroring, then choose whether to allow all connections or issue a prompt.

On the device you’re mirroring from, use the mirroring option. So, on Android, use a mirroring app rather than Chromecast. We tried it out on Windows, Android, and iOS—the mobile devices worked whereas Windows 10 did not. Connection was made, but no streaming was established, despite several attempts and reboots.

Setting Up Roku Premiere with HD Homerun DUO and Plex

This review is all about the Roku Premiere, but thanks to Plex, our incredible prize bundle also includes an HD Homerun DUO, HDTV indoor UHF antenna, and a Lifetime Plex Pass.

Roku Premiere

But how well do these systems play together?

Well, we think you’ll be impressed. While the HD Homerun DUO requires a strong, consistent terrestrial HDTV signal, it’s easy to add to your network. Just plug it into your router using Ethernet, hook up the antenna (internal or external), and over the air TV can be viewed on any compatible device. The Roku Premiere features an HD Homerun app, so any TV you’re missing can be enjoyed that way.

Plex has expanded in recent years, now offering content only available with a Plex Pass along with your own media hosted on a network drive. The Plex app on Roku easily connects to your existing Plex server, giving access to every media file you need.

Roku: The Perfect Plex Partner

Over the years I’ve used several media streamers, from Apple TV and Chromecast to Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast Ultra. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, but none are as easy to use and slick as Roku.

Roku Premiere | HD/4K/HDR Streaming Media Player, Simple Remote and Premium HDMI Cable Roku Premiere | HD/4K/HDR Streaming Media Player, Simple Remote and Premium HDMI Cable Buy Now On Amazon $31.99

Of course, the Roku Premiere has some shortcomings. HDMI-CEC—the system that allows your TV remote to control a media streamer or vice versa—seems inconsistent. There is also a lack of volume control. Screen mirroring from Windows 10, meanwhile, appears fraught with pitfalls and is possibly best avoided. The lack of Kodi might be a deal-breaker, too.

However, these are minor. Overall, this is a great media streamer, at a surprisingly low price for 4K and HDR. It’s easy to set up, surprisingly simple to use, and you probably won’t use your standard TV decoder for days after installing the Roku Premiere.

Enter the Competition!

Roku Premiere, HD Homerun Duo, and Plex Bundle

Read the full article: Roku Premiere Streams Netflix, Disney+ and More in HD, 4K, & HDR for Under $50

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You Can Now Watch Together on Plex

Plex has launched Watch Together, a new feature which lets you watch movies and TV shows together with friends far away. So, whether you want to watch on-demand content or something from your own library, you can now do so with the people you care about.

An Alternative to Yet Another Quiz Night

The COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent lockdowns around the world to stop it spreading, have changed everything. Shops, bars, restaurants, and movie theaters have all closed their doors, leaving many of us at a loss for what to do for fun and relaxation.

Some people have turned to hosting quiz nights on Zoom or Houseparty. However, if that sounds too much like hard work for you, perhaps you would prefer to watch your favorite movie with friends. Which is where Plex’s new Watch Together feature comes in.

How to Watch Together With Friends on Plex

As announced in a post on the Plex Blog, Plex has launched Watch Together. As the name suggests, this lets you watch content on Plex with your family and friends. However, crucially in these troubled times, they don’t have to be in the same room as you.

Watch Together lets you watch content together with family and friends online. Whether it’s a free, on-demand movie or TV show, or content from your personal media library. And Plex will keep the content in sync for everyone, allowing you to sit back and relax.

To use Watch Together on Plex, just find the movie or TV show you want to watch, click the three-dot More menu, and select Watch Together. Then, just invite your friends and click Start. The content will play on everyone’s devices at the same time.

Everyone watching together can control playback, which means you need to be careful who you invite. Watch Together is supported on Android, iOS, tvOS, Fire TV, NVIDIA SHIELD, and Roku. Just update to the latest release to ensure compatibility.

Other Ways to Watch Together With Friends

Plex is keen to point out that this is currently only an experimental feature. So beware that there could be bugs and frustrations involved. Still, the company is actively seeking feedback, so why not give Watch Together a go and let Plex know what needs changing?

Plex isn’t the only platform to offer its users a way to watch content together with friends online. So, for those who are bored while stuck at home, here’s how to watch Netflix with friends far away and how to watch YouTube videos with people online.

Read the full article: You Can Now Watch Together on Plex

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Hulu And Plex Are Making It Easier To Watch Streaming Video With Friends

Hulu and Plex are making it easier to watch streaming video with friends. Here's what you need to know.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

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Plex Adds Crackle Content to Its Free Streaming Service

Plex has added Crackle content to its free streaming service. Which is the ad-supported Plex Free Movies and TV. This means that Plex users in the US suddenly have access to thousands more TV shows, movies, and documentaries for free.

In December 2019, Plex launched its own free streaming service. This is full of movies, TV shows, and documentaries, all of which are free to watch. However, Plex has partnered with Crackle to bring thousands more free titles to viewers in the US.

How to Watch Crackle Content on Plex

It should be noted that most of Crackle’s catalog is older movies and TV shows you’ve probably already seen. However, there are some big names, with movies including Captain Phillips and The Illusionist, and TV shows including Hell’s Kitchen and Roseanne.

As is the fashion these days, Crackle has already produced its own original content. This includes On Point, a docuseries following high school basketball players, and Yelawolf: A Slumerican Life, which takes you on tour with the hip-hop pioneer.

Plex claims that as a result of its partnership with Crackle, “Plex users in the US will now be able to stream more individual movies than you can stream on Netflix.” Which is a bold claim but an intriguing one for those who don’t mind watching ads.

To watch Crackle content on Plex, just open the Movies & TV section of the Plex app. There you’ll find all of the movies and TV shows offered by Crackle, organized in various different ways. Just click on a title and tap Play to start streaming it for free.

The Best TV Shows to Watch on Crackle

While Plex is only offering Crackle content in the US, the company claims to be “working on new partnerships to deliver even more free streaming content to all our friends around the world in the coming weeks.” Or you could just use a VPN instead.

This is a great deal for Plex users, who can now watch even more content for free just for putting up with the occasional commercial break. And if you’re new to Crackle and unsure where to start, we have listed the best free TV shows to watch on Crackle.

Read the full article: Plex Adds Crackle Content to Its Free Streaming Service