Plex is removing the paywall from its Xbox One and PlayStation 4 apps, so users can stream their local files to either console for free.
Previously, both apps required a Plex Pass subscription, which costs $5 per month, $40 per year, or $150 for lifetime access. Plex Pass also adds some premium features, including parental controls, trailers, extras, and Vevo music video integration.
But for basic streaming of videos, music, and photos from another PC or NAS drive, the free version of Plex should be good enough. With Plex, users install the media server software on the device where their files are stored, and then use client apps (such as those for Xbox One and PlayStation 4) to access that content. That way, you don’t have to deal with storing files locally on the console itself, or shuffling files around.
Plex first released its Xbox One and PlayStation 4 apps in late 2014, but the former was missing major features like music playback until last summer, and the latter wasn’t available in North and South America until last January. The company has been making lots of improvements to its various apps lately, and has been focusing on giving them all a consistent look and feel.
Why this matters: In the past, Plex has charged $5 for each of its apps, and required a Plex Pass on platforms where an in-app purchase wasn’t available. But lately, the company has been shifting away from this model, at least on TV devices, and making a bigger push to sell Plex Pass subscriptions. That means more people can see what Plex is about before deciding to make a bigger investment.