Plex has a stylish new digital rental app with major picture and sound limitations

Plex rentals home page with Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom selected
(Image credit: Plex)

Popular digital media streaming service Plex has launched a digital movie and TV rental service set to take on the likes of Apple and Amazon. However, we'd recommend steering clear for now, as it appears to have a handful of compromises.

We'll focus on the positives first though, as the Plex rental user interface looks to be easy to navigate, fully featured and quite slick overall. With key artwork and a short synopsis showing when you hover over a film, you can get a quick idea of what you're about to watch right from the home page. Clicking on a movie gives you a more detailed description as well as both critic and audience scores from Rotten Tomato reviews. You'll even get information about the cast, as well as the ability to add the title to your watchlist for later viewing. 

There also seems to be a decent selection of content on the service, including popular 2023 cinema releases including Barbie and Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning, as well as very recent releases like Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom. Pricing also seems to be on par with other services, with the aforementioned Mission Impossible title priced at $5.99 on both Plex and Amazon Prime Video. You may notice the pricing in dollars there, as this new service is exclusive to the US currently. 

However, Plex has stumbled at perhaps the most important hurdle by severely limiting picture and sound. For some unknown reason, video maxes out at 1080p HD, while audio is only supported up to 5.1 surround sound. The cherry on top is that Plex only offers rentals in SDR, meaning no HDR support in any of the formats we look out for.

With practically every other service offering 4K HDR rentals and support for immersive audio formats like Dolby Atmos, we're struggling to find a reason why you'd use this service. As mentioned previously, Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning is $5.99 on Plex and Amazon Prime, however, the latter option is 4K HDR, making Plex seem like a worse deal in comparison. 

If you are curious and want to check out the new Plex service, then you can download the app on Android TV, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, Roku and a selection of Smart TV systems, as well as the Plex website via a browser. Once you rent a movie, you'll have 30 days to begin watching it, and 48 hours to finish it after the initial play.


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Lewis Empson
Staff Writer

Lewis Empson is a Staff Writer on What Hi-Fi?. He was previously Gaming and Digital editor for Cardiff University's 'Quench Magazine', Lewis graduated in 2021 and has since worked on a selection of lifestyle magazines and regional newspapers. Outside of work, he enjoys gaming, gigs and regular cinema trips.