While streaming services let you access thousands of movies and shows for a flat monthly fee, there are occasions where you might still find yourself renting specific movies. With free trials being rather rare these days, rentals are becoming a more attractive, and cheaper, option. Plex is joining the many services offering movie rentals, with a decent library and the ability to watch on most devices with a Plex application
Plex has just launched movie rentals, following earlier reports that they were coming, with instant streaming of new releases. Rentals are accessible through most platforms with a Plex app, iPhones and iPads, Android devices, Xbox, Fire TV, PlayStation, Roku, and other devices. The web app also works, but Plex says the resolution might be limited outside of Safari on macOS—that’s presumably a DRM issue that hasn’t been fully worked out yet. The exact details are available in a support article.
Plex tells us that its video rentals use the H.264 codec and stream at a maximum 1080p resolution. The maximum bitrate is 6Mbps, which is comparable to the bitrate of other services. Some titles will stream with Dolby Digital+ 5.1 audio, but Dolby Atmos isn’t offered at this time.
You’ll have access to rented movies for a concurrent 30 days after you’ve made the payment, and once you start a stream, you have 48 hours to finish streaming before it resets. You can watch the movie as many times as you want throughout those 30 days. These terms are identical to what Google TV, YouTube rentals, and most other platforms support.
So, what’s different with Plex rentals? Notably, it looks like you can only really rent movies, not buy them. Other services give you the option of buying a movie that stays in your library forever, but it looks like Plex isn’t giving users the option for this at the moment. We were also expecting movie purchases to arrive, so this is certainly a bummer, but the good part is that rentals are cheap—they range from $4 to $6 depending on the movie. Also, this service is only available in the US, so if you want to try it out anywhere else, you’ll have to wait or use another service.
If you already use Plex for something else, this might be neat, as it lets you keep rented movies in the same environment you’re already used to and not install more apps. The rentals option is rolling out, and it might take a few weeks for it to reach everyone.