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Popular media streaming client Plex is coming to the new Apple TV

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 18.31.29

Apple announced the new Apple TV with a good selection of app demos and announcements for the launch and now that the SDK has been released many others are jumping onto the bandwagon. ITWorld asked Plex about whether it would be bringing its media server app to tvOS. The answers was a resounding yes.

I reached out to Plex via email and Scott Olechowski, the co-founder of Plex replied, saying, “We are very excited to have a crack at bringing our users Apple TV. It’s been a long requested platform and we’re excited to work on it. We want it, our users want it…and we’re anxiously awaiting the tvOS developer beta info, so we can finally dig in.”

With the current Apple TV, Plex users do not have native access to a Plex client on their television without jailbreaking. Instead, users have had to resort to streaming their content from another Plex app to the set top box over AirPlay. However, this will change with the addition of an app SDK and accompanying App Store with the new Apple TV.

Although Plex confirmed they are bringing the app to the new TV product, they were cagey on specifics or timeframes. Olechowski, Plex co-founder, thanked Apple for using the same API frameworks as with the iPhone and iPad which reduces the amount of work needed to port the app from iOS to tvOS.

Olechowski said there is no doubt that the Apple TV is a top platform for them but it sounded like a release would be at least a few months away. The new Apple TV is set to ship in late October.

When I asked Olechowski if there is anything that’s restricting Plex now, he said,  “Nope!!! If you can wrangle us a few more hours in each day between now and the end of the year, I can promise we would get to where we are going a bit faster!”

In the meantime, users can obviously continue AirPlaying content from their devices or use an alternative media server. Despite some controversy online, we can confirm the new Apple TV does support Home Sharing so users will be able to stream content directly from iTunes on computers connected to the network.

The new Apple TV costs $149 for a 32 GB model and $199 for a 64 GB model. It’s still unclear how you should decide between the two sizes — apps are limited by the system to a maximum size of 200 MB binary bundles which would suggest that 32 GB is plentiful. No doubt more details will surface as we get closer to launch.


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  1. Michael (@PatientGeek) - 8 years ago

    once Plex app is available the new Apple TV is a no-brainer! I use Roku 3 (instead of my ATV3) only because of the Roku Plex app.

    I just hope a new Plex app integrates with the same video universal search that Apple demoed at the recent Apple event.

    • Rolf Haug (@rolfhaug) - 8 years ago

      Agreed! I’m so, so excited for this. Avid user of Plex on iPhone and iPad, love the new interface on the iOS app, and honestly I’ve been happy just AirPlaying the content to the AppleTV; very smooth and rarely an issue. But it will be nice to have a native client, and if it interfaces with Siri universal search………. EPIC

  2. Lef (@ICouldUseAShot) - 8 years ago

    Article is a little misleading. While I’m sure they’ll ultimately be able to create an AppleTV solution, the app is by no means “coming” yet. I also don’t think “Plex confirmed they are bringing the app to the new TV product” as much as they confirmed they are interested. As such, I don’t think they can be cagey on specifics or timeframes because none could possibly exist.

    Additionally, only the initial download size of app bundles is limited to 200MB. Apps can download up to 2GB of additional resources upon install.

  3. dingo (@CPVideoMaker) - 8 years ago

    You don’t need a jailbreak to run Plex natively on the ATV :) You just need a bit of DNS trickery from the program PlexConnext

  4. gi1game5h (@gi1game5h) - 8 years ago

    PlexConnect had provided a full Plex experience on the ATV for more than a couple of years now without the need for a jailbreak.

  5. focher - 8 years ago

    The article is not accurate about using Plex on the current version of the Apple TV. Jailbreaking is not required. Instead, it requires running an application on a host computer to intercept DNS calls then installing a custom generated certificate on the ATV. The user can then use the WSJ Live, Trailers, or iMovie app on the ATV to access their Plex Server. A hack, for sure, but not a jailbreak.

    • Evan - 8 years ago


      • Graham J - 8 years ago

        It’s not semantics, it’s an accurate description of the situation.

  6. Evan - 8 years ago

    “we can confirm the new Apple TV does support Home Sharing”

    That’s a HUGE relief as most of my movies and shows are not downloaded from iTunes, but just curious where you saw that info?

  7. iSRS - 8 years ago

    Maybe I’m missing something, but what does this offer me that iTunes doesn’t? If I could have a drive connected to my network and not computer up and running? Yeah, I could see that. Otherwise, eh.

  8. slowawake - 8 years ago

    I assume this means that we should expect any DLNA media players to be allowed on this platform?

  9. Chris (@cvohara) - 8 years ago

    any hope for a Vudu app or amazon instant video app?

    • Inaba-kun (@Inaba_kun) - 8 years ago

      I’d be surprised if Amazon didn’t create an ATV app. They’re all over the iOS app store on the iPhone and iPad, and have generally been platform agnostic. (except perhaps when it comes to Roku, where their support is very limited and unambitious)

  10. Chris (@cvohara) - 8 years ago

    it would be nice to have a way to play back ultraviolet content on the apple tv without airplay which never seems to work.

  11. Dale Solomon - 8 years ago

    Fiercer maker of the popular Apple TV jailbreak apple tv black and Infuse app is also working on a new for the ATV and says there is nothing in developer restrictions accessing NAS services to stream to new ATV.

  12. Alex Vecchio - 8 years ago

    i would rather be able to install KODI than plex. plus plex will probably be stuck behind a monthly pay wall, like every other device (other than 360 and one other) just to use it.

    i have plex on my amazon fire tv and my ps4 and i can’t use it because its behind a fucken pay wall.

  13. Graham J - 8 years ago

    Great news. I guess it remains to be seen whether this ends up being a better experience than AirPlaying from a mobile device but the Plex team do great UX so I’m excited to see what they come up with.

  14. macnificentseven48 - 8 years ago

    That’s what I was hoping for. I will certainly get AppleTV now that they intend to support PLEX which I currently use on my Roku 3. Apple finally has gotten with the times when it comes to streaming boxes.

    • Inaba-kun (@Inaba_kun) - 8 years ago

      It’s not that Apple is supporting Plex, they’re just finally opening the walled Apple TV garden to all.

      Presumably other services once excluded will show up too, such as Amazon.

  15. Inaba-kun (@Inaba_kun) - 8 years ago

    From a UK perspective hopefully we’ll finally see some UK services on the Apple TV. BBC iPlayer obviously, but also Amazon, MUBI, 4OD, Demand 5, ITV Player, Aniplex, Viewster, and Blinkbox too.

    It’s time for the Apple TV to stop being a box exclusively for Americans.

  16. If Synology is allowed to release DS Music and DS Video for tvOS, that alone will be reason enough to go for the ATV4. It almost sounds too good to be(come) true, however.

    I bought the ATV3 hoping that it would get jailbroken, so that I could throw XBMC in. Unfortunately, this never happened, so I was stuck with it (and used it for Airplay and the occasional radio broadcast).

  17. Todd Northrop - 8 years ago

    This will be really great… if Plex can directly stream (or DirectPlay) from the Plex Media Server. The last thing I’d want is to deal with high-quality BluRays that are re-encoded before streaming to the Apple TV. If that’s the case I will stick with Plex Home Theater.

    I don’t hold out a lot of hope, as Apple normally has pretty restrictive policies on what codecs and container formats it will play.


Avatar for Benjamin Mayo Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.