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If you have lots of locally-saved media on your computer, Plex is a must-have piece of software. Unlike Kodi, it’s easy for beginners to set up 7 Essential Kodi Tips for New Users 7 Essential Kodi Tips for New Users If you're just starting out on your Kodi journey and don't have a clue where to begin, we're here to help with these essential Kodi tips for newbies. Read More and has apps available for every major operating system and media streaming device.

Even if you prefer to stream content, it’s still useful. The Unofficial Plex App Store is packed with channels 20 Unofficial Plex Channels You Should Install Right Now 20 Unofficial Plex Channels You Should Install Right Now One of the best features of Plex are Plex Channels. And one of the best parts of Plex Channels is the Unsupported App Store. Here are 20 unofficial Plex Channels you should install right now. Read More , and since June 2017, you can also use it to watch live over-the-air TV.

The other significant difference between Plex and Kodi is when it comes to pricing. While Kodi is entirely free, Plex offers a paid tier. Called the Plex Pass, this paid tier introduces exciting additional features.

But do you actually need a Plex Pass? Probably not.

What Is a Plex Pass?

The basic Plex app is free on every platform, whereas the Plex Pass has three price tiers. You can pay $4.99 per month, $39.99 per year, or $149.99 for a lifetime subscription.

plex pass costs

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As you’d expect, the Plex Pass offers a host features that are unavailable on the free version of the app.

The most useful additions are arguably the new live TV and DVR offerings Plex Live TV: Everything You Need to Know Plex Live TV: Everything You Need to Know Plex has added live TV channels to its service, but what exactly is Plex Live TV? We have everything you need to know about this exciting new option for cord-cutters. Read More . If you add an antenna and tuner to your setup, you can watch and record any over-the-air channels in your area through the Plex app.

The Plex Pass also includes mobile syncing for offline viewing, support for multiple users, parental controls, movie trailers, and music features such as “mood mixes” and lyrics.

Clearly, these are all great features. However, for most users, they’re totally unnecessary. In fact, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Many people believe you need a Plex Pass to perform certain tasks when in reality it really is just an optional extra.

Here are five complex tasks you can perform 8 Plex Tricks and Tips You Really Need to Know 8 Plex Tricks and Tips You Really Need to Know Plex is a stunning piece of software. Put simply, it lets you stream your media anywhere in the world, on any device, whenever you want. But there is so much more to it than that... Read More without a Plex Pass.

1. Remote Streaming

One of Plex’s best attributes is its remote streaming function. It allows you to view all your media from anywhere What Are the Best Plex Clients for Streaming Your Media? What Are the Best Plex Clients for Streaming Your Media? What are the best Plex clients for streaming all the latest media? We've rounded up some of the best media-streaming devices around, including the Amazon Fire Stick, Playstation 4, Raspberry Pi, and more! Read More in the world as long as you have the Plex app installed on the device you want to watch on.

It’s especially useful for keeping the kids entertained when you’re away from home or if you spend a lot of time bouncing around hotels as part of your job. After all, there’s only so long you can watch MTV and international news channels 5 Free Streaming News Channels for Cord-Cutters 5 Free Streaming News Channels for Cord-Cutters One of the biggest drawbacks of canceling cable TV is the availability of news. Or lack thereof. Thankfully, things are changing, and here are now plenty of free news channels for cord-cutters. Read More before you start pulling your hair out.

plex remote server

However, the perception is that you need a Plex Pass to watch remotely. It’s not true. All users can stream remotely providing you’ve configured your Plex Server correctly. Head to Settings > Server > Remote Access > Enable Remote Access to set it up.

In this regard, the Plex Pass is only useful if you’re going to be in a place with no internet — it lets you save content directly onto your device.

2. Use Plex on Mobile

If you want to access remote streaming on mobile rather than on a laptop, you’ll need to install the appropriate Plex app.

The app is free, but has some restrictions. Each video and music file is limited to one minute of playback, and your photos will have a watermark added.

To remove the restrictions, you’ll be asked to pay a one-time fee of $4.99. It’s a fraction of the cost of a full Plex Pass. Of course, you don’t get access to any Plex Pass features, but if you just want to watch content on a tablet a few times per year, it’s more than adequate.

3. Share Media Libraries

Are you the tech guru in your household? If you are, there’s a good chance you’ll want to share the benefits of Plex with the rest of your family.

But setting up Plex on lots of different devices is time-consuming. And, unless you’re willing to continually add new media to other people’s computers, it’s almost impossible to keep everyone updated.

plex users

Luckily, Plex lets you share your library with anyone. They don’t even have to be on the same network as you. Best of all, the feature doesn’t require a Plex Pass — all the other person needs is a free Plex account.

To share your library with friends and family, open your Plex Server app and go to Settings > Users > Friends > Invite Friend. Fill in the person’s Plex credentials, and they will receive an invite in their email inbox.

4. Sync Content on Mobile

There’s an ongoing misconception about how mobile syncing works. As mentioned earlier, you need a Plex Pass if you want to download content onto your mobile device for offline viewing. That’s clear.

However, if you have a Plex Pass, anyone who you have shared your server with does not need a Plex Pass. As long as the server if registered against your account, they can download content for offline viewing. The upshot is that you probably only need one Plex Pass per household (or even per family).

plex add user

There’s just one catch. The other user will need to pay the aforementioned one-time fee of $4.99.

To allow other users to sync your content onto their device, open the Plex Server and navigate to Settings > Users > My Home > [Username] > Restrictions > Allow Sync.

5. Live TV Channels

Not to be confused with the new live TV feature, channels have been part of Plex for a long time now.

You can install community-created channels through the Unofficial App Store, but Plex also offers hundreds of channels natively.

plex channels

Several of the native channels provide a live TV component. These include BBC iPlayer, ABC, CBS, CNN, Comedy Central, FOX, NBC, and the Food Network.

You don’t need a Plex Pass to download or watch any of these channels. You can install as many as you want by opening the Plex Server and going to Channels > Install Channels.

Please Support Plex

You don’t need a Plex Pass to access any of the five features discussed above. However, if you love Plex, use it every day, and share your library with lots of other people, you should consider buying a Plex Pass anyway.

In addition to the extra functionality I discussed at the start of the article, you’re also helping to support the developers and fund the app’s long-term future. Remember, even the free version of Plex Your Guide To Plex - The Awesome Media Center Your Guide To Plex - The Awesome Media Center Love your digital collection of movies, TV shows and music, but hate using clumsy interfaces to play them on your TV? It's time to check out Plex, the ultimate media center software. Read More doesn’t include any ads; the Plex Pass is the company’s only form of income.

Do you have a Plex Pass? If so, what are its best features? Or do you think it’s unnecessary? Are you happy with the the free version of Plex? Please leave your comments below. Or share this article with your Plex-loving friends on social media instead.

Image Credit: Djomas via Shutterstock.com

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  1. Don in NC
    July 19, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Why write an article telling us why we don't need a Plex Pass, only to end the article saying "You should consider purchasing a Plex Pass"?

    • likefunbutnot
      July 19, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      ... because while the feature set of Plex Pass isn't that exciting, supporting the continued development of Plex is.

  2. likefunbutnot
    July 19, 2017 at 2:32 am

    I've had a lifetime Plex Pass for years. I too feel that I don't get much out of the new features, but I do appreciate the core product to such a degree that it was worth every penny to get what I have.

  3. Chase
    July 18, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    I have Plex Pass solely to support development. Plex helped us transition away from Netflix/Hulu and now do the same for over 30 friends & family I share with. Maybe some day there will be a feature that makes it worth it, but for now it's just a way to show my thanks.

  4. Phil
    July 18, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    I will consider purchasing a Plex Pass when the development team start responding to bugs and feature requests.