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Plex Announces Live TV Grid View Coming Soon to tvOS and iOS Apps

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Media hub company Plex this week revealed a new way for its customers to navigate Plex's Live TV service, through a more traditional grid-based user interface. Launching first in Plex's web browser, the new grid view organizes live TV programs by channels and the time of day, much like classic cable TV guides.


While the program guide is only available on the web for now, Plex confirmed in a support article that the guide will launch for Apple TV and iOS apps in the near future. The article also shows off other features of the guide, like the ability to record shows on the list, filter the schedule by day of the week, only view HD channels, and more.
While we think that searching and our Discover view (see below) are often a faster way to access DVR-related content for users, many users are familiar with a traditional "TV grid" style schedule and may wish to use that. Displayed in a scrollable timeline format, the Channels view of the Guide gives you an overview of what's on every channel you receive. From here, you can see program details, schedule a recording, filter the timeline view to only show a certain day, and also scroll forward and backward in time.
To access the program guide users will need a Plex Pass, which includes live TV and DVR features. Other apps soon to get the guide include Plex for Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, and Xbox One. According to Plex, the update came after it received numerous requests from its users asking for a grid view. Hulu with Live TV also recently updated its apps with a traditional guide interface for users.

Plex originally rolled out live TV support for its Apple TV app last August, two months after it did the same for iOS devices. With live TV, Plex Pass subscribers can watch live HD content on channels available over-the-air, including major US networks like ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and CW, as well as local programming, news, and sports. For apps that support DVR, Plex also brought the feature out of beta around the same time.

Article Link: Plex Announces Live TV Grid View Coming Soon to tvOS and iOS Apps
 
Very nice.

The grid approach seems to be a "just works" approach, refined over a couple of decades by all of the traditional players. Even the most non-techie in a home generally has some level of familiarity using a channel grid to find what they want to watch. Hopefully PLEX's incarnation is a good one (that screenshot looks good).

I use the Channels app myself and it leans heavily on a grid interface for live television. It seamlessly merges local over the air with cable channels (via cablecard) so that all of the live programming is in a single app. Channels is smart enough to make it easy to hide channels I never want to watch and put the channels in whatever order I personally like. Hopefully PLEX does this at least as good.

Some might look at this and think it's too cable-like but I view it as "if it ain't broke"... especially since it's only another option in terms of how to get at live content. Personally, I don't think the "hop app to app" (and sometimes box-to-box) approach is actually "the future of television."
 
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TheAnimal

macrumors member
Feb 1, 2010
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I was going to write a post saying pretty much all of this. Thanks for saving me the time!

Very nice.

The grid approach seems to be a "just works" approach, refined over a couple of decades by all of the traditional players. Even the most non-techie in a home generally has some level of familiarity using a channel grid to find what they want to watch. Hopefully PLEX's incarnation is a good one (that screenshot looks good).

I use the Channels app myself and it leans heavily on a grid interface for live television. It seamlessly merges local over the air with cable channels (via cablecard) so that all of the live programming is in a single app. Channels is smart enough to make it easy to hide channels I never want to watch and put the channels in whatever order I personally like. Hopefully PLEX does this at least as good.

Some might look at this and think it's too cable-like but I view it as "if it ain't broke"... especially since it's only another option in terms of how to get at live content. Personally, I don't think the "hop app to app" (and sometimes box-to-box) approach is actually "the future of television."
 
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duervo

macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2011
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If you're a PlexPass member, sure. I've been watching remote local TV for a while now.

A PlexPass lifetime membership really is the best deal in home entertainment, and it just keeps getting better all the time (not a shill; just a big fan).

Agreed. I sat on the fence to get a Plex Pass lifetime license, and that cost me when they bumped the price up a couple years ago. I ended up getting it a year later when they had a 20% off promotional discount during Xmas/New Years.

It’s my go-to media solution now, for things that are not still DRM locked into iTunes (TV and Movies.)

I’ve only recently started looking into the podcasts and news features. Comes with a lot of default choices, but appears to also let you customize the feeds.
 
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dr01dy

macrumors member
May 3, 2007
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One step closer to Back to the Future?



If they can figure out the load times in Plex with HDHomerun's like Channels it will be a big leap in the right direction. Plex TV is pretty much only useful for recording and walking away.
 
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Drzed

macrumors member
Oct 25, 2009
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If they can figure out the load times in Plex with HDHomerun's like Channels it will be a big leap in the right direction. Plex TV is pretty much only useful for recording and walking away.

Agreed! The delay in tuning in to channels/ changing channels on the Apple TV is excruciatingly slow.

Channels app does it beautifully but that’s because they built their own player that supports direct play of the live stream vs relying on native tvOS player which doesn’t.

Plex has said they don’t intend to built their own player so don’t see this improving.
 
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dr01dy

macrumors member
May 3, 2007
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Agreed! The delay in tuning in to channels/ changing channels on the Apple TV is excruciatingly slow.

Channels app does it beautifully but that’s because they built their own player that supports direct play of the live stream vs relying on native tvOS player which doesn’t.

Plex has said they don’t intend to built their own player so don’t see this improving.


When they dropped the news section it felt like something was going to happen, in my eyes. This is a great step forward for sure.
 
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WBRacing

macrumors 65816
Nov 19, 2012
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A PlexPass lifetime membership really is the best deal in home entertainment, and it just keeps getting better all the time (not a shill; just a big fan).
Seconded. I bought my membership some years ago and haven't regretted it once.
 
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Menel

macrumors 603
Aug 4, 2011
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If you're a PlexPass member, sure. I've been watching remote local TV for a while now.

A PlexPass lifetime membership really is the best deal in home entertainment, and it just keeps getting better all the time (not a shill; just a big fan).
Ya I have for hw transcode for remote family home members. Didnt know they hd enables remote tv! Woo!
 
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Defthand

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2010
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I can’t see any benefit in “live tv”. First of all, it’s misleading. It should be called “scheduled programming”. It’s an approach that was necessary in the past but has been replaced by more convenient options.

A schedule of any kind is a pointless utility. People who settle for scheduled programming are typically more casual about their viewing than others. They accept whatever is on and don’t mind if they missed some of the show. They only need a guide that describes what is currently airing, not one for planning.
 
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bb9

macrumors regular
Apr 1, 2017
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Q
If you're a PlexPass member, sure. I've been watching remote local TV for a while now.

A PlexPass lifetime membership really is the best deal in home entertainment, and it just keeps getting better all the time (not a shill; just a big fan).[/QUOTE
Seconded. I bought my membership some years ago and haven't regretted it once.
Do I still need cable subscription?
 
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What's odd about them? They look like somebody's local over-the-air channel numbers (received via antenna). Usually they are the channel's classic channel number + dot + <number>, like channel 4.1 is likely traditional local channel 4's main HD channel. Since digital can be compressed, some stations squeeze extra sub channels into their lineup, creating additional channels with the main channel: 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 etc. In the screenshot example, ALL of those local channels appear to be playing the sub-channel game except channel 9 and 11. In my area, sub-channels tend to be packed with stations that cater to classic TV shows (and I find myself tuning in to good old shows on those channels vs some "latest & greatest" programming on the main channels).
 
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dchdch

macrumors newbie
Oct 17, 2017
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You've confused Plex's use of the word "Guide" with their use of the word "Grid". Plex has always had a "guide" since the launch of the TV/DVR service -- and that's what the list of apps is related to. That list is NOT related to how soon those apps will get the grid version of the guide.

The only thing they say regarding the Grid view of the Guide for other apps is, and I quote: "Note: The Channels/Grid view is currently only available in Plex Web App. We’re working to bring this type of view to more apps in the future."

But you know, that's Plex for you -- they're pros at making you think they've announced something when in fact, they've just used commonly understood terminology in bad ways.

For example, they call their "Grid" format of their "Guide", wait for it, "Channels". You really really have to read their documentation carefully to get what they're REALLY saying.
 
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