Plex allows for the easiest media server management and the free streaming of content, but to enjoy these benefits, you need to invest in the best Plex streaming devices.
Plex boasts an intuitive interface and one of the most comprehensive support platforms on the market, and this means that Plex is one of the best options for the setup and maintenance of your personal media server. With Plex, you can easily come up with a very expansive library for streaming all your free content.
As the leading media management platform that’s made up of the media server platform via the Plex Media Server and its new Plex Playback application that’s a replacement of the Plex Media Player, this application gives you the best media library that will be available to you at all times, regardless of the device you will be streaming on. What this means is that you will need to make sure that you find the best streaming device that is ideal for Plex.
In this review, we’ll look at some of the best streaming devices for Plex. These devices are designed to simplify the setup of the server on the said device, and you only need to make sure that your Plex Media Server is working well on your streaming device. Once the application is set up, your next task will be the addition of the local libraries to the device, and you will be good to go.
That said, here are some of the best streaming devices for Plex.
Best streaming devices for Plex – Comparison table
Best Streaming Devices for Plex
Nvidia Shield TV
Best Overall Streaming Device for Plex
Best Performance and Most Popular Streamer for Plex
Apple TV 4K
Best Plex Streaming Device for Apple Users
Amazon Fire TV
Best Smart Streaming Ecosystem
PlayStation 4 Pro
Best Plex Streaming Device for Gamers
Best streaming devices for Plex
Nvidia Shield TV – Best Overall Streaming Device for Plex
- The Best of the Best. SHIELD TV delivers an amazing Android TV streaming media player experience, thanks...
- Dolby Vision - Atmos. Bring your home theater to life with Dolby Vision HDR, and surround sound with...
First on our list is the Nvidia Shield TV, which is undoubtedly one of the best Plex streaming devices on the market today. It’s also regarded as one of the best streaming devices that money can buy. But we are not just saying that because of the good reputation behind the Nvidia brand: this streaming device is among the best because it offers a wide range of features that you are looking for.
Among other reasons, this streaming device stands out because it features one of the most robust codec support, meaning that it has fewer transcodes and the transcodes present are far between each other.
Also, the Nvidia Shield TV pumps out the best quality 4K HDR content, it works well for Android TVs, and the best part is that it will work on pretty much all Android Apps, including Hulu, Funimation, Amazon Prime, and Netflix.
On top of all that, this Plex streaming device also doubles up as one of the best Plex servers. With the Pro version, you get to enjoy as much as 500GB of built-in hard drive space, but you can also add additional storage to the device thanks to the many USB ports present.
If you are a gamer, this might be the best streaming device for you as it is hailed as one of the best streaming devices for gaming. The features mentioned above and the engineering for the device give it the power to be used in gaming effortlessly. You might also like it because it runs the native Android games superbly, and you can easily access many of the Nvidia Shield TV emulators in a few clicks. The Nvidia GameStream is also available, and you can use it to stream PC games to the Shield TV easily.
Other impressive features include the SmartThings Link that will transform your Nvidia Shield TV into an elegant Smart Home Hub, a Plex Server, and a gaming console, all rolled into one.
- USB ports
- Allows game streaming
- Excellent codec support
- Runs emulators and Android games
- Works as a Plex server too
- Turns into a Smart Home Hub with the SmartThings Link (Optional)
- Offers an audio passthrough
- Features the Google Assistant
- 4K HDR Support
- Some apps are missing
Roku Ultra – Best Performance and Most Popular Streamer for Plex
- 2,000+ entertainment channels choose from the widest variety of streaming entertainment, including...
- Stunning HD video quality immerse yourself in the action with rich, vibrant video streaming up to 1080p...
With over 2000 entertainment channel and the capacity to hold at least 500,000 movies, along with support for all kinds of streaming entertainment, this Plex streaming device is the ultimate streaming device on the market, and you can’t go wrong with it. The wide array of entertainment options offered by this streamer are the reason why Roku is the most popular streamer on the market.
Besides the massive media library, Roku Ultra is easy to use, and it comes with a set places feature which further enhances its use. Over the years, several TV manufacturers have partnered with Roku in their TV lineups, which goes to show you that Roku Ultra might be an excellent entertainment investment for you.
Roku Ultra comes with hardware for HEVC decoding, along with a voice remote that comes with a headphone jack ideal for private listening, and you can look forward to the 4K HDR streaming support. You might also like this streaming device because it comes with an Ethernet port, which means that the Roku Ultra is a better option than the Roku unit that comes without the wired support option.
- Multiple apps
- Ethernet support
- Stunning quality 4K HDR support
- Remote, private listening
- Huge media library
- Fast and easy setup
- Dual-band wireless connectivity
- Great codec support
- Lacks support for TrueHD, DTS-HD, or DTS-X
- No audio passthrough for the 7.1 surround sound
Apple TV 4K – Best Plex Streaming Device for Apple Users
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If you are an Apple client looking for the best Streaming Device on the market, the latest version of this Apple TV 4K streaming device might be the ideal option for you. With 32GB and 64GB options, this streaming device offers the best of 4K HDR along with Dolby Vision, and you can look forward to the best video and picture quality. It also features Dolby Atmos for that immersive and room-filling sound, allowing us to experience wholesome entertainment at all times.
The streaming device also supports gaming, and you can play groundbreaking and all-new, original games from the Apple Arcade. You could also use AirPlay to view videos and photos from your Apple Device but on your phone. Then you have Siri to simplify the use of the device and Siri Remote for gaming.
- Great audio passthrough
- Great Apple Ecosystem
- Easy to use
- Excellent 4K playback
- Lacks DTS audio passthrough
Amazon Fire TV – Best Smart Streaming Ecosystem
- Our most powerful streaming media stick.
- Watch favorites from Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and more. Stream for...
Amazon Fire TV is the other excellent option of Plex streaming devices, and you might like it because of its versatility with smart TVs and smart homes, thanks to built-in Alexa, along with the integrations for Dolby Vision.
It is one of the most powerful 4K streaming media stick that you can use to experience ultimate entertainment from Apple TV, HBO, Disney+, Prime Video, YouTube, and Netflix, among others. 4K Ultra HD, HDR, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+ all ensure that you will enjoy brilliant picture quality at all times. It also offers the most storage space compared to most other versions.
- Good range of apps
- Access to excellent Amazon ecosystem
- Excellent 4K video output in the new versions of Amazon Fire
- 4K Plex streaming support could be better
- Lacks DTS audio passthrough
PlayStation 4 Pro – Best Plex Streaming Device for Gamers
Last on our list is the PlayStation 4 Pro, an excellent streaming device for all gaming enthusiasts. This streaming device boasts impressive gaming capabilities, and the best part is that you get to enjoy “God of War” and “Spider-Man” exclusives.
It’s also one of the best streaming options because it boasts the ability to play 4K UHD Blu-rays. This feature makes this the most comprehensive multimedia and pro gaming system. One catch, though: it lacks direct play and audio passthrough features, and it might not suit hardcore gamers that well. However, its support for video games, streaming apps, and physical media make it a great Plex streaming device.
- Excellent gaming streaming device
- 4K HDR support
- Powerful processor
- USB ports
- Physical media support
- Issues with direct play
- Imperfect audio passthrough
Buying Guide for the best streaming devices for Plex
As mentioned above, Plex is a leading media management platform that features the media server software and the playback application. These two platforms work in tandem, allowing you to manage and easily maintain your file connection and for easy access to your media library. For you to fully enjoy the benefits of this streaming service, you must have the best devices for streaming.
But what makes the best streaming devices?
Well, this robust media server software solution is designed as a robust media management platform, and with the right streaming device, you’ll need to install your Plex Media Server on your computer, server, or even a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device, and after installation, you can load up your movies, music, photos, and TV shows. But it doesn’t end there. The next thing you will need to do is to install a Plex app on your client device. A client device includes tablets, mobile phones, as well as streaming set-top boxes, among other devices that allow for easy content access from wherever you may be.
Note that a Plex client represents a media streamer for Plex. So, while the Plex Server is designed to host all of your content, the client allows for easy access to your Plex library from different locations. This Plex Client or the media streamer is crucial because, despite having a server, you must find a streaming device that comes in the native video formats, with support for Ethernet, Limit transcodes, as well as the ability to easily run apps like Amazon Prime, Hulu, or Netflix. Therefore, you could think of Plex as a DIY version of Spotify or Netflix.
So, what do you look for in a streaming device for Plex, and most importantly, which are some of the things that you can do with your Plex service?
Types of streaming devices
The streaming devices market is expanding rapidly, and there are many brands for you to consider, for example, Google Chromecast, Amazon, Roku, and Apple, among others.
But before you opt for a brand, first take a look at the features offered by the devices you are interested in. For example, a device that offers 4K video support would be a great option for you. At the same time, you could choose between the stick-style devices that will plug into your TVs HDMI input directly or the set-top boxes. However, most of the stick-style plug-and-play options offer limited features and connections. The set-up boxes, on the other hand, offer more features, they are fast and more responsive, and they offer more connections.
Important features to look for in Plex streaming devices.
You don’t want to waste your time setting up a streaming device, which is why the best of these devices feature the WPS/ WiFi Protected Setup, whose setup is pretty much effortless, and you wouldn’t have to enter the password manually. To use such streaming devices, you’ll only need to press one button on your router and on the streaming device, and your device will be connected securely.
4K HDR Capabilities
You will be happy to know that all the major brands of streaming devices will have at least one of their streamer models supporting 4K videos and with HDR support. Note that the 4K media player with HDR support is handy even with 4K smart TVs because these streaming devices have the capacity to access most services that aren’t otherwise accessible from your TV, and some will offer better performance.
Your streaming device will feature built-in WiFi, and others will come with an Ethernet jack for that wired connection to your router or modem. Also, all of these streamers will easily connect to your TV via HDMI connections, with only a few lacking the HDMI capabilities. If you are lucky, you might find one with a USB port. You might also want to look for a streaming device that can access your content automatically – such a device will have a DLNA label ((Digital Living Network Alliance), and it will access content from other devices too, as long as they are all on the same network.
You should also look for the streaming devices that feature dual-band WiFi. This WiFi setup is a huge win when it comes to the streaming devices, and the setup enhances the performance of the streaming device, specifically because it will relegate video streaming to the 5GHz band, which means side-stepping possible signal interference from other devices in your home, specifically the ones that run on the 2.4GHz band, for example, microwaves. Also, newer models support the 802.11ac wireless protocol, which means delivery of faster and stronger signals – this will be a huge win for you if your wireless router offers 802.11ac support.
Other features to look out for include:
- App organization
- Universal search
- Designated remotes
How do I install/ Use Plex?
To get started on all your Plex adventures, you first need to install your Plex Media Server application on the selected device. The installation process is pretty much straightforward; once you’ve installed the appropriate installer, then followed the instructions. Once installed, you’ll open Plex in a new browser window – this comes with and the Plex web app, and it is the most effective way of configuring your Plex server. Besides configuration, you can also use the app to look up your library files or play the content from.
You’ll be required to create a new account with Plex, and the setup Wizard ensures easy and fast account setup.
How do I name my files on Plex?
While you get to store your music, movies, and other kinds of files on Plex, and that you get to do that with as many folders as you’d like, it’s worth noting that Plex has a specific preference for how different files are to be named on the app.
Generally, for every file type, for example, multipart movies, movies, or even TV shows that feature multiple parts/ seasons and episodes, Plex will have a preferred naming style for these files, and if you find yourself with multiple files that need to be renamed, you can do that automatically. There is a simple file-renaming function for Windows 10 and macOS.
However, if you don’t mind having files that are a little jumbled up, you can always skip the file renaming bit. Plex will still give you access to the files, and you can play the files even if they haven’t been renamed. The only issue that comes with this is that Plex will still have a hard time trying to identify the files selected, which often means that you wouldn’t always access all the rich data from the web, turning your Plex experience into a less-fun experience.
To rename the files or Plex folders on your Mac device, select the file from your Mac device, press return or Force Click the file name, the enter the new name. Note that you can’t use the colon or even start an item name with a period, and other apps might restrict the use of a slash in the file name. Once done, press Return.
To rename multiple items, select the items, Control-click one of these files, then select the Rename files option on the shortcut menu. From the pop-up menu that comes up under the Rename Finder items, select the replace text option – you could also add texts or change the format of the name using Replace With, Add Text (before or after the current name), or Format files. Once done, click Rename.
You cannot, however, rename the app folders for the items that came with your Plex system, says the Library Folder. Filename extensions, or the Home Folder.
You’ll be happy to note that Plex offers a comprehensive guide on file naming.
How Do I Scan/ Play on Plex?
Thanks to the intuitive design of the Plex Media Server, the app will scan your directories automatically, specifically the ones identified in the setup process, and the best part is that you will be able to easily determine how often the application scans the file locations for any changes. So, if you download new media frequently, you could set the app so that it can update the library automatically whenever it detects newly added files. You can easily confirm the files on the server by clicking the home button from your web app interface. At other times, you might have to give the app a few minutes before all the downloaded files are updated and incorporated into the file directory.
How do I play Plex Movies on your TV?
If you’d like to play your movies on Plex on your TV or any other device, you’ll need the specific Plex client for that device. While most Android TV boxes will come with pre-loaded Plex clients meaning you won’t have to download anything, you’ll need to find the relevant Plex client app for other devices; for example, the Apple TV’s Plex client is downloadable from the App Store.
What is a Plex Pass?
While there is a free Plex Pass, the subscription Plex Pass is a better option for most people because it features more features such as the Plex VR co-watching function, parental controls, mobile sync, hardware-accelerated streaming, premium music/photo libraries, Plex Client Apps access, camera uploads, and Live TV plus DVR functions.
If you are new to online streaming services, it is easy to get confused because there are numerous options on the market today, and you could easily pick the wrong device. However, that doesn’t have to be the case for you since we’ve shared all the information you need about the best streaming devices for Plex.