Apple TV 4K (2021 Plex) – what is the upgrade?

Apple TV 4K (2021 Plex)
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What is the upgrade in Apple TV 4K (2021 Plex)? Plex is a free TV streaming service that offers live TV, on-demand movies and shows, and a library of your own media content. Plex takes videos stored in a remote location and streams them to a receiver, usually attached to a television. Plex is a media server. This means that you’ll provide your own content instead of relying on a big company’s library, which usually changes from month to month. Does Apple TV 4K 2021 support Plex?

Pros & Cons – Apple TV 4K (2021 Plex)

PROS

  • Capable free version
  • Intuitive apps on many platforms
  • Easy setup
  • Growing library of on-demand and preprogrammed video streaming content

CONS

  • No HTPC support
  • Lacks official interface themes

What is the upgrade – Apple TV 4K )2021 Plex?

In the Plex Apple TV and Roku app, you can now head to Settings > Experience to customize the UI. Here are the new options:

  • App/Home Background:
    This setting allows the user to select the base background of the app (i.e.: the background used for the home screen, settings, etc…).
    • Artwork Colors (the default): Applies colors from the current title’s artwork to the background and gracefully (we hope!) transitions the colorfield as the title selection changes.
    • None: Displays the default background for the application (dark gradient).
  • Content Layout:
    This setting controls the layout used to display your content. Okay, so before you say “No, duh!”, this setting also controls whether “inline metadata” is displayed on the homescreen and the poster is displayed on detail pages.
    • Classic: No “inline” metadata is shown, displays title and additional information below posters, and prefers posters to artwork on detail pages.
    • Modern (the default): Displays artwork and “inline” details about the title on some screens when focused on a poster. This layout also prefers background artwork over posters on title detail pages.
  • Details Background:
    This setting controls the background displayed on the detail pages for items.
    • Dimmed Art: Displays a full screen, dimmed version of the background artwork on detail pages.
    • Artwork Colors (the default): Utilizes colors from the title’s artwork within the background on title detail pages.
    • None: The default background for the application is used for detail pages (dark gradient).

Does Plex work well in NVIDIA Shield Pro?

NVIDIA Shield Pro

Pros

  • Dolby Vision profile 7 support
  • Lossless audio support
  • AI Upscaling is pretty sweet but can produce artifacts on some content.
  • Hue Stream app. Allows you to sync Hue lights as if you have a Sync Box but don’t have to spend $250

Cons

  • UX is typical Android TV clunkiness/dated.
  • Plex Client is buggy. That’s the biggest reason I’m giving the Apple TV a shot despite it’s short comings compared the Shield. My wife and kids always had to force close the Plex app to get content to play.
  • ExoPlayer shits the bed on ASS subtitles. If you watch a lot of anime, buy an Apple TV or subscribe to Crunchyroll.

Apple TV 4K

Pros

  • Ecosystem integration if you have other Apple products. Controlling my TV from my watch is pretty cool.
  • UX and UI is great and fluid.
  • Upscaling is pretty solid. Content looks almost as good as the AI upscaler on the Shield. Granted, I haven’t compared them side by side. 720p content looks pretty good and doesn’t have as much artifacting as the Nvidia AI upscaler.
  • App support is a bit better. Many apps just perform a bit more fluid and less glitches. This probably just has to do with companies devoting more resources to the Apple TV than the Android TV app. I’m not a dev but I feel the state of Android TV and how Google treats it has really hamstrung the Shield. Other than the Shield TV, there really isn’t a good Android TV device and Google kind of treats it like a second rate citizen.

Cons

  • No way to sync Hue lights without a Sync Box
  • All audio is transcoded to PCM aside from Atmos.
  • No profile 7 DV support, only profile 5. This means your Dolby Vision rips from Blu-ray are most likely profile 7 and the colors will be all jacked up (pink and green). Most remuxes will have HDR10 fallback so that’s good.

Does Apple TV 4K (2021 Plex) save cost?

Plex just isn’t cutting the cord, but saving you money on apps like Infuse or MrMC for tvOS, The tvOS version of the Plex client also has proper support for ASS subtitles while the Android version does not. Plex has made no visible efforts to add this in over 5 years of people requesting it and the independent effort (which Plex shamelessly takes credit for in their changelogs) to add it to ExoPlayer seems to have fizzled quite a bit of late. So if you have a lot of Anime in your library, that could be a big deciding factor.

Plex Pass pricing

Plex Pass planPrice
Monthly$4.99/mo.
Annual$39.99/yr.
Lifetime$199.99

Data effective 06/08/21. Prices and availability subject to change.

Does Apple TV 4K streaming device support Plex?

Plex app is available for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows devices. Supported streaming devices include Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku. You can also find Plex for gaming consoles (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One), select smart TVs, a few VR platforms, as well as for Alexa and the Sonos app. I tested Plex on multiple devices, including several Windows 10 machines, a Fire TV Stick, and a Google Pixel 3.

How to setup Plex?

To get started, Plex users set up a server on a device using the Plex Media Server application and add local media libraries to it. Plex is best for people with large repositories of local media files but not necessarily a lot of space on the devices to which they’ll be streaming the content. It’s also for people who oppose popular video and music streaming services. Although we don’t condone the practice, content pirates may be drawn to Plex as well.

Once the media server is configured, Plex users can stream and download that server content on other devices as well as share their libraries with other people via the new cross-platform Plex app.

Supported file format

In terms of audio, Plex supports MP3, M4A, FLAC, and WMA files. For videos, the list includes MP4, MKV, HEVC, AVI, MOV, and DIVX. Plex can also display JPG, PNG, RAW, and TBN image files. Plex includes built-in tools that convert non-natively supported files, such as DTS, to a usable format. You can also stream 4K content. Plex’s playback flexibility is similar to that of VLC Player.

Does Apple TV 4K support Plex podcast?

Plex also includes a Podcasts section. To get started, click the Podcasts menu item on the left-hand menu. In the center console, you can browse through recommended or featured categories of podcasts, such as Popular, News & Politics, or Society & Culture. In addition, you can click the Categories button to see the whole list. Of course, if you already know what podcast you want to listen to, you can just search for it in the top bar or, in the case that it’s not there, add the show directly via its URL. 

Plex Live TV

Live TV & DVR functionality is a top Plex Pass feature, enabling you to hook up an antenna, tuner and hard drive at home, then broadcast it remotely to your Plex account. Plex will even offer a comprehensive guide based on your local listings. 

It’s amazingly useful — if you like network TV and can’t watch shows as they air, at any rate. A Premium subscription also gets you mobile app access (assuming you haven’t already paid to activate them separately), trailers and extras for movies you own, and lyrics for your song library. It’s also the only way to get parental controls on Plex.

In my opinion, the Premium subscription’s benefits are relatively modest, unless you specifically want live TV recording. But the subscription is also not that expensive.

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