Plex is one of our favorite media center applications, and it can be made even better with the proper use of plugins. Once called “Plex Channels,” plugins are no longer officially supported by Plex — but users can still install plugins manually and use them to customize the Plex experience.

What are Plex Channels (plugins) and What do They Do?

Early on, Plex featured a wide range of officially supported apps and add-ons called Plex Channels. These branded plugins could do all sorts of things, from adding features to Plex's interface to providing streaming video content that effectively expanded your Plex server's library.

Over time, Plex added more features to its core service. Eventually, Plex ended its official support for plugins and began to phase out the “Plex Channels” branding. Despite this, there's still plenty that plugins can do to improve the Plex experience.

Plex Channel Tautulli tracks metrics related to your server: what was watched, for how long, and by whom. Sub-zero offers subtitle support and acts as an alternative for Plex's native subtitle solutions. And most popular of all is the Unsupported Appstore, which contains a bunch of popular add-ons, including some that will give you access to full streaming movies.

Since plugins are not officially supported, you should be on the lookout for potential illegal content. As always, it's unlikely that you'll be prosecuted for streaming illegal stuff, but it's not a good idea to connect with crooks online. If you insist on disregarding this advice, at least use a VPN!

By and large, though, the old Plex Channels and new plugins are legal and safe. They're also great ways to improve your Plex experience.

How to Install Plex Plugins

Installing plugins manually isn't too tough. You'll just need the directory, which have the file type .bundle. Download the bundle, unzip the file (as necessary), and make sure the file type is .bundle (delete extra text after “bundle” if necessary), and drop the file into the Plex Plug-Ins folder within the file system of the device you're using to run your Plex server. When you start (or restart) your server, you should see your new Plex Channels.

Let's go through that again step by step.

Step 1: Download the .bundle file

You can find bundles in places like Reddit and the Plex forums. Be wary of links from sources that you don't trust, though!

Step 2: Fine-tuning the file

Bundles are often compressed. If you've got a .zip on your hands, unzip that file!

You may also see extra text on the end of your bundle's file name (e.g. “.bundle-master”). If you do, just delete the extra text, leaving “.bundle” as the end of the file name.

Step 3: Drop the bundle into the “Plug-Ins” folder

On the device that you're using to run your Plex server, locate the Plug-Ins folder. Copy or move your bundle file into that folder.

Step 4: Start (or restart) your Plex server

Fire up your Plex server or, if it's already running, shut it down and then start it again. Your channels should be all set up!

All About Plex Plugins

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