update: Sadly sideloading has been taken off the NowTV box so you can no longer user Plex with NowTV. See link here for details
NowTV box (Roku Player in disguise) is a great cheap set-top box that you can pick up for around £20. It has a good selection of apps such as iPlayer, ITVHub, 4oD and YouTube as well as the optional paid NowTV service which I also recommend. The only thing really missing is the ability to watch your own video on it.
I already use Plex for streaming my media and found out you can load a version of the Plex client called
Plex Classic on to your NowTV box to add that extra functionality without needing a second media streamer.
It’s also worth noting that this works on the original NowTV the NowTV 2015 and the NowTV Smart Box.
Plex Client vs Plex Classic Client
While researching this I found two versions of the Plex client for Roku player; Plex and Plex Classic.
So what is the difference? Apart from the newer Plex client looks nicer?
The Plex Roku client was originally developed as an open source project that can still be found on the GitHub page that is community developed. Plex however decided to make a new client in-house but decided not to make it open-source and only available via the Roku Store. A post from a Plex rep stated that the only way the new Plex app would be available is if Sky added to their list of NowTV apps (don’t hold your breath).
This means you cannot get the newer Plex Roku client without purchasing a Roku player.
Purchasing a NowTV Box
If you have the extra money I recommend purchasing a Roku Box as it has more apps and features, but if like me you don’t want to fork out £55 just to use the new Plex client then installing the older less pretty although very functional Plex Classic is a decent option.
You can buy the NowTV 2015 and the NowTV Smartbox online or from pretty much any electronics shop or supermarket.
What is the difference between the models?
All boxes have the same functionality as each other with the exception that the Smart Box you has a HD Freeview receiver that you can plugin to your aerial (which can mean less remote switching), plus can rewind live TV up to 30 mins.
So I have a SmartBox for the living room television and the standard one for the bed room and the kids room.
Another useful tip I found out is that it is normally cheaper to purchase a 5 month NOW TV Entertainment Pass that costs around £25 rather than paying £6.99 p/m saving you just under £10.
Here is a good article comparing Roku and NowTV.
If you don’t have a NowTV or Roku here are the links to the different models that you can purchase on Amazon.
|NowTV 2015||NowTV Smart Box||NowTV Passes||Roku Stick||Roku 2||Roku 3|
Now for the fun part, I will now run though the full installation of Plex Classic on your NowTV box. The whole process takes less than 30 mins (15 if you are quick).
Turn on NowTV Developer Mode
Firstly, to install Plex Classic you need to enable Developer Mode on the NowTV box. Developer mode enables you to load one app on to the NowTV Box for development purposes.
Turn on your NowTV Box so it is on the home screen.
Using your remote press the following.
Home, Home, Home, Up, Up, Right, Left, Right, Left, Right
You will then come to the Developer Settings screen.
Take note of the IP address and username. Select ‘Enable installer and restart’
Now select ‘I Agree’ to the Licence Agreement.
Next you will be prompted to enter a password for the ‘rokudev’ username. Enter a password of your choice.
Then you will be given a caution message. Select ‘Enable and restart’.
The NowTV Box will restart and Developer mode will be enabled.
Access the Web Interface
Using the details from earlier you will now need to access the NowTV web interface from your PC.
Access the web interface by typing in the IP address you notes earlier into your web browser.
Now enter in the username ‘rokudev’ and the password you set and press Log in.
You will now have access to the Development Application Installer on the (grey and boring) NowTV web interface.
Download Plex Classic
Finally, you will need to download and install Plex Classic.
Visit the GitHub page and download the latest release.
In this example you need to download PlexClassic.v3.1.5.zip (do not download the Source code).
Install Plex Classic
Now you have downloaded Plex Classic you will need to install it on your NowTV box using the web interface.
From the web interface select ‘Choose file’ and browse to the .zip you just downloaded. Once selected click ‘Install’.
When this finishes you will get a screen that will look like this.
Your NowTV box will also of loaded Plex Classic on screen.
If you already have your Plex Server setup on your network, it should show up straight away.
To exit Plex and return to the main menu press the home button.
To access Plex Classic simply select it from the list of apps.