The number of free video-on-demand (VOD) providers has grown exponentially in the last few years. Names like Pluto TV and Tubi TV continue to thrive, but there’s also been a glut of newcomers into the space.
One of those newcomers is home media giant, Plex. The company’s VOD service went only live in December 2019, however, and has quickly become one of the best free streaming services out there.
But what exactly is Plex VOD? How can you use it and what shows are available? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.
Where Is the Plex VOD Library Available?
The Plex VOD library is globally available; there are no country restrictions (thought the list of available content may vary between regions.
How Much Does Plex VOD Cost?
Plex’s VOD library is completely free to use; you do not need to buy a Plex Pass in order to use the service. Indeed, unless you’re planning to watch over-the-air channels through Plex by using a tuner, most people won’t need a Plex Pass at all.
A word of warning though—the Plex VOD service is ad-supported. That means you’ll need to watch some ads at the start of your show, and there will be occasional interruptions for ad breaks mid-content. Even having a Plex Pass will not remove ads from the VOD service.
Given the amount of content available, however, we think it’s a small price to pay. Plex does try to assure its users by saying “you can expect a notably lower ad-to-content ratio than you’d experience with typical broadcast television.”
The availability of Plex VOD does not affect your ability to add and manage locally-saved content.
What Content is Available on Plex Video-on-Demand?
Both movies and TV series are available through Plex’s free streaming service, though the list of titles is much more heavily geared towards movie lovers.
The ad-supported model means Plex has been able to land partnerships with some of the leading studios in the industry, including Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, and more.
Some of the most popular content on the platform at the time of writing includes Secretary, The Return of the Living Dead, and The Jungle Book. Other well-known content includes The Good Doctor, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Hell Kitchen, and The Cable Guy.
Make sure you dig deep into the categories to fully learn about all the content that’s available. Some of the top categories worth checking out include Plex Picks, The Dojo (a collection of martial arts films), Cult Faves, and Indie Gems.
Plex VOD also has a documentary section. The selection of titles spans everything from a close-up look at Justin Bieber’s life through to a gritty investigation into the War on Drugs.
Like any streaming service, the list of titles available on Plex will change over time. Make sure you keep an eye on the Recently Added category to stay abreast of the newest content on the platform.
How to Access Plex VOD Content
You don’t need to do anything to sign up for Plex’s free VOD streaming service. It is automatically available within your Plex app.
In the Plex user interface, the VOD service is referred to as Movies & TV. You will find it in the Plex section of your list of libraries, rather than in your personal library. It lives with Plex’s other free streaming services such as Live TV, Web Shows, and News.
On the desktop version, you will find the Plex content in the panel on the left-hand side of your screen. Mobile and smart TV apps will vary.
If you find yourself using the service a lot, you can pin it to your Plex homepage by tapping on the three vertical dots alongside the menu item and selecting Pin from the list of options.
Any Other Noteworthy Features?
Plex’s VOD library doesn’t live in a bubble, there are a couple of features that make the streaming library easier to use.
The watchlist feature works much as you would expect—you can add any content you’d like to view later and scan through all your saved shows in a single list.
Integration With Plex Ecosystem
You can add items from the Plex VOD library to your queue, or can force it to play next, thus intermingling the VOD content with shows and movies from your personal collection.
One of Plex’s key strengths is the apps comprehensive support for metadata.
On your own content, you can see plotlines, directors, key actors and actresses, the availability of subtitles, similar titles, and more.
All the metadata features are replicated in the VOD library. It means you can quickly see what other content is in the library that includes your favorite stars or producers.
Subtitles and alternative audio tracks are available for some content. Check out the metadata to see what’s available for the show you want to watch.
And remember, Plex makes it easy to add subtitles to your locally-saved media.
We spoke to a Plex rep who confirmed more features will continue to land in the streaming service over the coming months, with some major announcements planned in 2021.
Plex Is a Major Player in the Streaming Wars
Plex might not be the first name that springs to mind when you think of streaming services—historically, the app has focused on providing an interface for your locally-saved movies and TV shows.
However, since 2017, the company has been steadily growing its list of streaming features; the VOD library forms just one part of it.
In addition to the VOD library, Plex can also streaming live TV over the web and can also integrate with an antenna for over-the-air TV channels in your area. The over-the-air feature even has a DVR service built-in.
Note: If you want OTA channels, you’ll need a purchase a TV tuner and a TV antenna separately. Check out our article to learn more about what you can watch for free with OTA channels.
Try Plex Video-on-Demand Today
Plex’s free service isn’t extensive enough to replace the big-name paid streaming providers like Netflix and Prime Video.
But that’s not what the service is trying to do. More free content is always a bonus, and Plex’s key selling point is placing that free content directly inside your Plex library, alongside all your other content. You don’t need to jump between apps to find what you’re looking for.
Here are the best Plex apps that will make Plex even better once they’re installed.
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