Plex is an app that you can find on just about any system that has video apps. Over time it has become one of those ubiquitous programs that is featured on everything that streams from smart TVs, to streaming devices, phones, tablets, and even computers. But with so many platforms you begin to see differences between what Plex can do on say a Roku and what it can do via a web-based app and so on.
The Streaming Advisor is fortunate enough to have access to just about every streaming platform on the market. So as the new version of Plex, which includes the discover feature has rolled out we got to play with…research the different versions. Our conclusion is that the best version of Plex on any platform at the moment is the Plex app on the NVIDIA Shield TV Pro. Why do we say that? Because not only is the NVIDIA Shield TV Pro the most powerful 4k streaming device it supports its own Plex Server and allows the user to access more content directly through the Plex app than any other platform rather seamlessly.
What does the NVIDIA Shield do that other streamers do not?
First of all Android TV/Google TV devices in general allow users to search for content from across numerous streaming services and launch it directly from Plex. That includes items saved on local or shared servers as well as content available on free and subscription streaming services/apps. If you find a title that is available via Netflix, you can click the Netflix icon and launch the app without the need to leave the Plex environment. That can not be said for Roku, Fire TV or smart TV apps/aside from smart TVs powered of course by Android TV. Other systems like the Fire TV OS instead list where you can find content but require you to bounce out of Plex to launch the app. Apple TV like Android TV will allow one to launch an app from Plex. But it has a limitation that Android TV does not.
Android TV links Browsers too
Android TV supports on-screen browsers that are made with cursers that navigate TV screens the same way they would a computer. And if you have browsers such as Puffin TV, or Open Browser, which are both available in the built-in Google Play store Plex will list them as sources for your streaming needs. In one case we saw a show that was listed on Tubi and happened not to have Tubi installed at the time. The browser launched the title through Tubi’s website instead. This is a pretty unique functionality. The only other format that allows for browsers to launch content is the Plex App for Windows and Mac. But in order to have a full-screen TV experience, you would of course have to plug a full-sized computer into a TV. It can be done and for all I know you may prefer to watch content on a computer. But for simplicity, nothing beats an Android TV especially the Shield TV because of its power and capabilities.
Do I need this?
The Shield TV is simply the fastest most versatile streaming device on the market at the moment, but it does cost a lot more than say a Fire TV stick. So I am not telling you to run out and replace your whole system. But for the record we found the Shield to be the most versatile streaming device to give us all Plex can offer.