Plex’s latest beta features are a modern solution to a modern problem: having to search through HBO Max, Netflix, Disney Plus, and three other similar services to find something to watch. The company announced a new “Discover” feature, which aggregates and recommends content from various streaming services; and a universal watchlist that brings together everything you want to watch in one place.
The Discover screen acts like most streaming service homepages, giving you recommendations on what to watch next, but with the ability to display content from many different catalogs. However, you shouldn’t overwhelm him with selections that he doesn’t have access to. There is a setting that allows you to choose only the services that you have. Plex has been working for several years. to slip into position as a legitimized one-stop shop for streaming – and a Free TV with advertising business model, which the new menu will finally be able to achieve.
There’s also a new “view from these locations” feature, which helps if you know what you want to see but not where to find it. Adds a section to the information page for movies and TV shows that shows which streaming services offer that content. In some versions of the app (which is available on devices like Apple TV, Fire Stick, Roku, PlayStation, Smart TVs, etc.), Plex can even send you directly to the streaming service from the page.
The list of streaming services that Plex supports with these features is, to put it mildly, immense. It includes all the big names, like Hulu, Disney Plus, Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and Peacock, along with, no kidding, nearly 150 others (many of whom, like Martha Stewart TV, I’ve never even heard of). Basically, if you can legally stream what you’re watching somewhere on the internet, Plex can probably tell you about it, with just a few exceptions. And of course, you can also let it search your Plex libraries of self-hosted videos or other media.
Plex Support Page says that “not all platforms allow you to send the user to the corresponding streaming app.” From reports on Reddit, it seems like a big platform that you can’t link to is Roku. When testing it on my Apple TV, it seemed to work fine, but it was clearly a beta version. I was able to open links to Netflix, Hulu, and Apple TV Plus, but I got an error when trying to open links for HBO Max and YouTube. Plex said the apps weren’t installed, even though they were. On the web version of Plex, it worked for every platform I could think of to try (although when opening things on YouTube, it only took me to the search results page for the title instead of the actual page for the movie).
Personally, this might be what finally drives me to use Plex. I recently experienced what the company cheekily calls “the streaming struggle,” where my wife and I spent an hour figuring out what to watch. Most of the features Plex is adding here aren’t exclusive: Apple TV has universal search built in and lets you make a watchlist (although these features have very limited support for Netflix content). Google does a decent job of telling you which services a show or movie is available on, and other Smart TV platforms also have universal search features. But it would certainly be nice to have it all in one place and in a relatively uncluttered interface that works on many different devices.
These features should be available for free on most platforms, as long as you’re using the most up-to-date version of the Plex app. I didn’t have to sign up for a beta program to get access to them, but you may have to follow the plex instructions to find them depending on your configuration.