TiVo is rounding out its app lineup with Plex, which lets users stream their videos, music, and photos from a networked computer.
As Dave Zatz reports, the Plex app will arrive on TiVo DVR boxes no later than June 8. With Plex, users can set up a media server on their computers—or on certain networked storage drives—and stream the files to Plex’s apps on phones, tablets, computers, and televisions. It’s basically a way to access your personal media files without having to store them on every device. (While the most obvious use cases involved pirated videos and ripped DVDs, Plex has more legitimate uses as well.)
Unfortunately, Plex won’t be a native app, like the ones TiVo offers for Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu Plus. Instead, it uses the Opera SDK, which means it won’t support features like universal search and bookmarking. Zatz claims, however, that the Plex app will have a dedicated shortcut on TiVo’s "Music & Photos" screen, instead of only being available through the Opera app store.
Once you launch the Plex app, it should behave similarly to Plex’s existing apps for smart TVs. It may be limited to 720p video playback at first, but it will get 1080p support at a later date.
The story behind the story: The timing may not be a coincidence as TiVo seeks to boost its appeal to people who’ve ditched their pay-TV subscriptions. The DVR maker now offers a cheaper version of its hardware just for recording over-the-air antenna broadcasts, and it has hinted at launching a legal version of Aereo, the broadcast streaming service that was undone by a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year. Plex tends to be a popular tool among the cord-cutting crowd, and it could turn TiVo into the complete package (provided you can live with the DVR’s $15 per month subscription fee).
This article has been updated to note that Plex will be available through the Music & Photos screen on TiVo's main menu, and uses the Opera SDK.