CES 2020: Plex Is Ready to Take the Battle to Amazon, iTunes, Vudu

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Plex was in Las Vegas at CES this week to talk about its ever-growing suite of services. The company is already the most full-featured video management/playback app out there, but the upcoming 12 months promise to take the organization to ever greater heights.

For those who missed the announcement, Plex launched an ad-supported on-demand streaming app in early December 2019. The service is seen as a direct competitor to Roku’s “The Roku Channel,” and is already available in more than 200 countries worldwide. It offers content from partners like MGM, Lionsgate, and Warner Bros.

plex ces

At CES, however, the company was keen to talk to us about the roadmap for rest of 2020, and there’s some exciting stuff on the horizon.

Most notably, it will begin offering subscription channels to its users. There’s not a definitive timeline, but the reps we chatted to were hopeful that we’d see it go live at some point in 2020. We don’t yet know exactly which channels will be offered, nor do we know the prices you’ll have to pay for access. You can expect to see the usual big name such as HBO and Showtime become available.

Here’s how Plex CEO, Keith Valory, explained the decision:

“Through the process of doing these deals with the AVOD (ad-supported video on demand) partners, we found a lot of those same companies have their own SVOD (subscription video on demand) channels they would like to deliver through us, or have a strong desire to have their content included in some types of either linear or SVOD bundles.”

Plex will also offer a marketplace feature in the app. Again, the specifics are still a bit hazy, but it is assumed that it will allow users to either buy or rent the specific content they’re interested in.

Of course, the big question is whether Plex’s users will start using the app for their subscription needs. The ad-supported VOD service will undoubtedly be popular, but the company faces stiff competition from apps like Netflix, Amazon, and Apple for both subscription and rental services.

What do you think about Plex’s new offering? Let us know in the comments below.

Explore more about: CES, Plex.

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  1. Jean-Francois Messier
    January 17, 2020 at 12:32 pm

    I looked at PLEX as a way to make all my own media content available elsewhere, on my own server. I chose something else to put my own content online. Our [supposedly intelligent] TV has PLEX on it, as well as other apps for online content. I can see why PLEX wants to get on more online content from movies companies and other content providers. Not everyone wants to spend time to organize his/her own media files, setup a server with content, etc....... Much easier to just get everything online with a monthly cost, and this is what PLEX is offering. Simplicity will boost its userbase. The difference will happen when PLEX will also have its exclusive content. Question is: Will PLEX be able to attract big names to produce series or movies that will be good enough to attract new subscribers? Until then, I expect PLEX to remain cheaper than Netflix.

  2. Joe
    January 16, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    I wish that plex could figure out a way to integrate my watch lists from other services (netflix, hulu, etc) into my library. I HATE HATE HATE the endless scroll of Netflix.

  3. Hans
    January 13, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    Why are these services so expensive? Apple TV+ is only $4.99 and Netflix/Amazone/Disney are close to that.

  4. James
    January 9, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    This feels like unwanted feature creep. It was bad enough when Tidal found its way onto my dashboard. I fear Plex will lose its user base if they forget the core reason people use it: to index and play their own files.

    • Jeff
      January 10, 2020 at 2:13 am

      I agree. Feature creep could potentially be Plex's downfall if they aren't careful. Especially as it seems to be distracting them from basic improvements to their core system, like organizing multiple cuts of movies and other feature requests that have been hanging for a few years now.