Plex: Free vs Paid

Plex works by connecting your media, the Plex Media Server, and the various apps for all your devices—browsers, mobile devices, game consoles, streaming devices, home theater PCs—but, what parts are free to use and what parts are paid for?

The basic functionality of Plex is completely free. Some Plex apps require being unlocked (through an in-app purchase or a Plex Pass subscription), and some premium features are restricted to those with an active Plex Pass subscription.

The "Free to Use" Parts: The Server and Apps

There are some details to get into, but the summary of "free" is simple:

  • The media you own is yours. Of course, we don’t charge you in any way for that.
  • The Plex Media Server is free to use and includes the Plex Web App.
  • All of our non-mobile, public apps are free. These include Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Plex Media Player, Roku, Smart TVs, TiVo, and game consoles (PlayStation and Xbox).
  • Our mobile apps (Android, iOS, Windows, Windows Phone) can be used for free, but have limitations.
    • Until the mobile app is unlocked (through an in-app purchase or a Plex Pass subscription), video and music streamed from a Plex Media Server has a 1 minute limit, and photos will be watermarked.

Related Page: Plex Downloads
Related Page: Plex Media Server
Related Page: Free Access to Plex Apps
Related Page: FAQ - Android: Features and limits without unlocking
Related Page: FAQ - iOS: Features and limits without unlocking

The "Paid For" Parts: Apps and Plex Pass

There are really two things that are "paid for" within Plex:

  • The Plex Pass subscription includes free use of the paid for apps as well as other features and benefits:
    • Activate all of our mobile apps (Android, iOS, Windows, Windows Phone) simply by signing into your Plex account within the app.
    • Live TV & DVR: Watch and record over-the-air broadcasts available in your area, using a compatible tuner and digital antenna.
    • Set up a cloud-based "Plex Cloud" server pointing at content you have in one of your supported cloud storage provider accounts.
    • Stream trailers and extras (interviews, behind the scenes, etc.) for content in your movie library. Add lyrics from LyricFind to your music libraries to follow along whenever you want.
    • Have geographic (Paris, France or Singapore) and scene-based (landscape, sunset, dog) tags automatically added for your photos and browse your photo library using the tags.
    • Use mobile syncing for offline use, camera upload for wireless syncing of photos, Gracenote music reviews and bios, and the ability to sync select content from your Plex Media Server to multiple cloud providers.
    • Set up a Plex Home for your family to allow easy switching between accounts and restrict what content you share from your server.
    • Use DVR functionality (currently in beta!) to record over-the-air broadcasts into your library.
    • Get early preview access to new apps and features.
    • And even more!
  • As mentioned above, apps for some devices have in-app purchases that upgrade the app—we call it unlocking the app:
    • Android (mobile), iOS (iPhone and iPad), Windows, and Windows Phone apps have one-time, in-app purchases.
    • Again a Plex Pass subscription will activate these features without additional purchase.

Related Page: Plex Pass
Related Page: Plex Pass Features
Related Page: Plex Pass > Free Access to Plex Apps
Related Page: Plex Pass > Early Access & Preview Releases
Related Page: Unlocking or Activating Plex for Android
Related Page: Unlocking or Activating Plex for iOS