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Plex will soon offer channel subscriptions and rentals

Plex wants to become your all-in-one home media solution, and here's how it plans to do it.

Published onJanuary 8, 2020

Last month, Plex introduced its answer to free streaming services like Crackle, Tubi, and the Roku Channel — its new video-on-demand feature. Yesterday at CES 2020, Plex told us it isn’t stopping there, and thanks to TechCrunch, we learned a few more details about its upcoming strategy.

It’s no secret Plex wants to be your all-in-one multimedia solution, and video-on-demand was a significant step in achieving that. To further this initiative, Plex plans to implement even more streaming features as early as this year. Some of these include subscription channels, rentals, and even deep linking to other streaming services.

Related: The best media streaming devices you can buy

This doesn’t mean Plex’s core business strategy will be changing anytime soon. You’ll still be able to host and organize your media collections. But soon, you’ll have more ways to fill in the holes in your personal library so you can watch what you want when you want.

How this would work

In theory, offering subscription channels could give users access to premium content from the likes of HBO, ESPN, Showtime, etc. Plex has yet to confirm official subscription partners, but giving users the ability to purchase subscriptions like these brings them one step closer to cutting the cord.

Plex also wants to offer users the ability to rent or buy movies and shows on the fly. This would be particularly useful for content users either don’t have in their library, that isn’t offered through video-on-demand, and that isn’t available through one of their future subscription channels.

Deep linking functionality could potentially fulfill that same purpose too. It could direct users to streaming services that host the content they are searching for. But for now, Plex will continue to focus on building up and supporting its video-on-demand service before it starts directing people to other services for content.

Related: 5 best media center apps for Android

“We want to have a critical mass of content available before we have the deep linking capabilities,” Plex CEO Keith Valory told TechCrunch. “But if those deep-linking opportunities present themselves earlier, we’re also optimistic. If we can make a feature relatively easy for users and they love it, that’s what we as a company have always done.”

Unfortunately, all of this is still very much in the works. Plex has no specific release date for any of these features, but we are still excited about what they could mean for the future of the platform.

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