Amid the media players and servers available today, Plex stands out as an incredible option, helping users effectively organize their media libraries. It transcends being a mere application; it’s a complete media solution that integrates with multiple devices to deliver a seamless media experience.
This blog post is designed to serve as a comprehensive guide to choosing the best Plex client. We will explore various clients available in the market and delve into their unique features, benefits, and potential downsides.
Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Plex Client
When selecting the best Plex client, you need to consider factors such as the client’s compatibility with your Plex server, the quality of the streaming experience it offers, and the range of features it supports. It’s crucial to choose a client that aligns with the capabilities of your server and meets your media consumption needs.
The ease of setup and use is another essential factor. Some clients require more technical knowledge to install and operate than others. Depending on your comfort level with technology, you might prefer a client that’s easy to set up and use. Additionally, consider the client’s ability to access your media library remotely. Some clients excel at local streaming, while others are better suited for remote streaming.
Finally, cost is an inevitable consideration. While some Plex clients are free, others come with a price tag. Keep in mind that price doesn’t always reflect quality. Some affordable or free clients offer a fantastic Plex experience. Let’s now delve into the various Plex clients to determine which one might be your best fit.
Our Top Picks
Roku is a popular streaming device, and it makes an excellent Plex client. With Roku, you can access your Plex server on your TV, offering a great viewing experience. It supports a wide array of features, making it one of the best Plex clients for your TV.
The interface on Roku is easy to use, and setting it up as a Plex client is straightforward. Roku devices come in different models, with varying features and prices, so you can choose one that best suits your needs and budget.
The primary downside to Roku is that it requires a separate device and an available HDMI port on your TV. This might not be an issue for most people, but it’s something to consider if you have a limited number of HDMI ports or if you prefer a more simplified setup.
2. Apple TV
Apple TV is another fantastic option for those looking to use Plex on their TVs. It’s a dedicated streaming device that provides a high-quality media experience. With its powerful hardware and seamless integration with other Apple devices, Apple TV is an excellent Plex client for Apple users.
The interface of Plex on Apple TV is clean and easy to navigate, offering an enjoyable user experience. It supports a wide array of features, including 4K playback. Setting up Plex on Apple TV is also straightforward, especially if you’re familiar with the Apple ecosystem.
However, the cost of Apple TV can be a deterrent for some users, as it’s one of the more expensive streaming devices. Additionally, while it works excellently within the Apple ecosystem, it might not be the best choice if you use devices from different brands.
3. NVIDIA Shield
NVIDIA Shield, touted as the ultimate streaming device by many, is a high-performing Plex client. Known for its powerful hardware, it not only serves as an excellent Plex client but can also function as a Plex server. This dual functionality sets it apart from most other streaming devices.
NVIDIA Shield supports a variety of Plex features, including 4K and HDR playback. The setup process is easy, and the interface is intuitive. This makes it a great choice for users looking for a high-end, feature-rich Plex client.
The main downside to NVIDIA Shield is its cost. It’s one of the pricier streaming devices. However, for users who want a high-performance device that delivers a top-notch media experience, NVIDIA Shield is worth considering.
4. Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Fire TV is a cost-effective, feature-rich Plex client. Available in various models, including the Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Cube, it offers a great way to enjoy your Plex media on your TV. It supports a wide array of Plex features, making it a fantastic choice for budget-conscious users.
The interface of Plex on Amazon Fire TV is user-friendly, and setting it up as a Plex client is quite simple. It provides excellent streaming quality, but like all streaming devices, it depends on your internet connection.
However, Amazon Fire TV does have its limitations. For instance, it doesn’t support all audio codecs. If you have media with unsupported audio formats, you might need to use Plex’s transcoding feature, which could impact your server’s performance. Overall, though, Amazon Fire TV offers a great balance of price and performance.
5. PlayStation and Xbox
For gamers, turning your gaming console into a Plex client can be a fantastic way to enjoy your media content. Both PlayStation and Xbox offer Plex apps that allow you to stream your media on your TV.
The interfaces on both consoles are user-friendly, and setting them up as Plex clients is straightforward. They support a variety of Plex features, providing a good viewing experience. They’re a great choice if you already own one of these consoles, as you won’t need to purchase a separate device.
However, neither PlayStation nor Xbox supports all Plex features. For example, direct play is sometimes limited, requiring media to be transcoded. If you’re a gamer and casual Plex user, though, these consoles can serve well as Plex clients.
6. Plex on Android TV
Android TV is a popular platform for smart TVs and streaming devices, and it works well as a Plex client. Plex on Android TV offers a fantastic way to enjoy your media on the big screen. The interface is user-friendly, and the setup process is straightforward.
One of the key benefits of Plex on Android TV is its extensive feature support. It supports a wide array of video and audio formats, making it a versatile choice. It also supports 4K playback, offering a high-quality viewing experience.
While it’s generally a great choice, some users have reported occasional issues with certain features. However, these issues are often resolved with software updates. If you have an Android TV device, using it as a Plex client is a no-brainer.
7. Plex on iOS
For Apple mobile users, Plex on iOS is a fantastic option. It offers a way to enjoy your media content on the go, right from your iPhone or iPad. The interface is user-friendly, and it supports a variety of Plex features.
While the app is free to download, to unlock its full potential, you’ll need to upgrade to a Plex Pass subscription. This gives you access to features like offline viewing and automatic photo uploads.
One potential downside is that it doesn’t support all video formats natively. However, Plex can transcode unsupported formats, so this isn’t usually a major issue. If you’re an Apple mobile user, Plex on iOS is a must-have.
How to Choose the Best: Tips and Recommendations
Choosing the best Plex client largely depends on your individual needs and preferences. Here are some tips and recommendations to guide you:
If you prefer watching your media on a big screen, consider a client designed for TVs, like Plex for Smart TVs, Roku, Apple TV, or NVIDIA Shield. If you’re on a tight budget, Amazon Fire TV or Roku could be excellent choices. If you’re a gamer, using your PlayStation or Xbox as a Plex client is a smart move.
For mobile users, Plex for Android or iOS is the way to go. They offer a way to enjoy your media content on the go, with features like offline viewing.
Ultimately, the best Plex client is the one that fits your budget, works well with your Plex server, supports the features you need, and delivers a seamless media experience.
Plex has revolutionized the way we consume media, bringing our favorite content to our fingertips. However, the key to a great Plex experience lies in choosing the right Plex client. From mobile devices to gaming consoles to dedicated streaming devices, the choice of Plex client can make a significant difference in your media experience.
We hope this guide has given you valuable insights into the various Plex clients available and has helped you determine which one might be best for your needs. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The best Plex client for you depends on your unique needs, preferences, and tech-savviness.