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Why Plex is a Must-Have If You Own a TV Antenna

You’ve gotten rid of obstructions that affect OTA signals, and you’ve cut-the-cord. But there is something missing: DVR.

Cable does have the benefit of allowing you to DVR shows so that you can watch them later. For someone who has a busy schedule, DVR allows you to watch your favorite television shows later. Tape them today, and watch them when you’re free.

The problem is that your TV antenna doesn’t offer an easy way to record your shows.

It’s a hassle.

And you don’t want to have to go buy a complicated system to record shows.

You want to save money – not spend more money for your entertainment. This is where Plex comes in, and while the setup can be a little tedious, it’s also one of the best options available for over-the-air recording. It’s not free, but it’s very cheap.

What is Plex?

Plex is neat, and there’s an app that you can download to be able to watch television, movies and even stream music. There’s a free and premium version of Plex, but the cost is extremely cheap if you pay for an annual subscription.

You’ll have to choose the Plex Pass subscription, and it’s:

  • $4.99/month
  • $39.99/annually
  • $119.99/lifetime

If you plan to continue cutting the cord, go with the lifetime option. You’ll get a lot of extras for your payment, but today we’re only going to focus on what’s most important: DVR.

You can stack multiple tuners to record multiple broadcasts at once, and all broadcasts are recorded at the highest quality possible. One major aspect of Plex that I want to point out is that there’s an ad-skipping feature.

That’s right, you can skip ads.

The feature was in beta mode, and I am not sure if it will be around forever, but being able to skip ads instantly turns your antenna into a streaming service. There’s no reason to watch 15 minutes of ads for every 45 minutes of content with Plex.

Setup is where things can be complicated.

Why?

There are multiple options. One that’s easy is to install NVIDIA Shield TV and use a USB antenna tuner. You’ll then run Plex Media Server software and allow Shield to handle all of your recordings. But this is an expensive option because Shield TV can cost $200 or so.

You will have other options, and one that is very easy is to buy the HDHomeRun.
Once you have this device, you’ll attach it to your network. Your antenna will plug into the device, and then you can stream your television to any device that’s connected to your network. You’ll need to connect to your computer so that you have somewhere that you can record the television shows directly to and watch in the future.

The setup for Plex is easy.

Install the Plex server and then go to Settings. From here, go to Live TV & DVR and then you’ll find an option to set up your Plex DVR.

Go through all of the steps, or go to Plex to find out more information on how to properly set up your DVR. It’s a bit tedious, but there are more than enough videos and guides online that will help you get started with Plex.

Features and How Storage Devices Work

Plex makes it as simple as possible to record your broadcast, but where does all of the content go? The content that you record will go to a hard drive, and you can even use an external hard drive attached to your router if you want.

This means that you can purchase a 4TB hard drive for $100 and store thousands of shows right on the drive.

If you need more room, simply swap drives or add in an additional drive.

But once you have everything up and running, you’ll find that the Plex app is simply amazing. You’ll need to create your own library, but that’s simple.

Android or other devices will have the Plex app available so that you can stream the content back to your television.

Then, once you get into the app, you’ll realize just how great of an investment you made.

You’re not just recording all of this content; you’re able to:

  • Filter out all channels that are not in high-definition
  • Automatically go through old episodes and delete them
  • Automatically delete episodes after watching them
  • Replace older, SD recordings, with only high-definition recordings

If you know that it takes three minutes to get to the start of a new episode, you can also add buffer times to the file. There are buffers with start and stop times, so you never have to watch recaps or the credits if you don’t want to watch them.

You can filter out all reruns of shows, and you can also go through menus to help you sort by sports, shows, news and a variety of other neat options.

Files are saved in such a way that you’re able to transfer them to other media devices and they will be able to read the “.TS” format.

Post-processing and automatic ad removal are two features that I cannot say enough about. I hate commercials, and it’s a main reason that I still have a Netflix account. Well, you can use the server to process the video and remove all of the ads for you.

The function is not 100% perfect, and there’s a small chance that part of an ad will be in the video, but it’s much better than having to watch the entire ad. There are also options to set the Plex server to not automatically remove ads.

But that’s really up to you.

I find that the ad removal has improved a lot, and I don’t have any of my show’s content cut off in the process. You will save about 15 minutes without ads on an hour-long show.

Plex isn’t perfect, and some people will choose to use Emby, Tablo, TiVo or another DVR option. But with Plex adding a grid guide to their web app, it definitely is a step ahead of the competition.

June 18, 2019 ,

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Jack
Jack

Jack here. I’m the admin behind Best HD Antenna – a site for hardcore cord cutters. I’ve been struggling to find a way to help friends and family cut the cord