What is Pluto TV?
Pluto TV is one of the most popular free alternatives to cable. The free over-the-top (OTT) streaming service launched in 2014 and was acquired by Viacom in 2019. Viacom has expressed interest in expanding Pluto TV into more of a competitive force in the streaming market, but for now, the free service works as a way to market Viacom’s other services like CBS All Access.
Watching Pluto TV is as easy as pulling up your browser or accessing the Pluto TV app. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can enjoy the service. That means you can view Pluto TV across your devices, simultaneously with friends, and with a decent interface — all without paying a dime.
Pluto’s free streaming service reaches over 22 million monthly viewers. Its viewers have access to over 200 channels, including Viacom properties like Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon. Other noteworthy content providers like A&E Networks, CNN, Nerdist, and WeatherNation TV have also partnered with the service. Pluto TV will not serve as a complete replacement for cable or work as a one-size-fits-all streaming solution, but that is okay. Pluto TV works well as a supplement to other streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix, giving you the best of both worlds.
Pluto TV plans and pricing
Pluto TV offers tons of video-on-demand (VOD) entertainment, and it does not even require you to set up an account to get started.
|Number of TV channels||100+|
|Number of movies||1,000+|
|Streaming quality||SD and HD|
Pluto TV supported devices
The Pluto TV app gives you the ability to stream content from a variety of devices. Just like its for-pay competitors, you can watch Pluto TV as long as you have internet access.
- Android devices
- Android TV
- Amazon Fire TV
- Apple TV
- Desktop browser
- iOS devices
- PlayStation 4
- Xbox One
What to watch on Pluto TV
The service offers a large number of channels, serving much like a traditional TV service. Popular featured content appears on Pluto TV channels like Food TV, Funny AF, Man Up, and Pluto TV Movies.
Here are some of the most popular genres on the service:
- Bing Watch
- Life + Style
As a free service, Pluto TV relies on partnerships from both its parent company and others for its content. If you are a casual TV watcher, you will find plenty of recognizable channels sandwiched in between interesting selections like PocketWath, Red Arrow Studios, and Shout! Factory.
As far as on-demand sports go, DAZN Fight Zone appears in Pluto TV’s On Demand section. The Joshua vs. Ruiz fight from 2019 is viewable in its entirety with commercial breaks. Pluto TV is not known for exclusive content, but there is one show that appears solely on its platform. The fourth season of the semi-scripted comedy series led by Paul F. Tompkins, Bajillion Dollar Propertie$. The series previously streamed on NBC’s Seeso service before Pluto TV licensed it after an online campaign generated lots of interest.
Pluto TV’s movie collection also includes a variety of on-demand films — and its selection is particularly robust, especially for a free service. It features several popular titles like Capote, Big Fish, and The Terminator.
Pluto TV features
Since Pluto TV is free, its standout features are simple but essential. Its closed captioning capabilities stack up well against paid services, letting you adjust the font color, font type, size, and opacity of the captions.
Information about Pluto TV’s video quality is vague at best. Its mobile app has three video resolutions you can choose from: low, medium, and high. But whether it is 720p or anything below is anyone’s guess. Generally, there is some variation in visual performance between live and on-demand content, with the latter being a more stable option.
Web Player and Playback
Its web player is impressive for a free service. Shows, channels, and on-demand content are accessible through detailed categories and sideways scrollable playlists. Pluto TV’s playback controls allow you to fast forward and rewind 10 seconds either way. Pluto TV does not have any storage features, which is not surprising since it is a free service. But once you start a show or movie, you can jump back in where you left off.
The final cut
When it is all said and done, Pluto TV is free and worth a try. You can watch movies and shows on your laptop or PC via a web browser — you will just have to sit through a few commercials. With Pluto TV, you might not get Monday Night Football or specific shows on the History Channel, but you will have plenty to choose from, including options such as American Gladiators, Married with Children, Tosh.0, Death at a Funeral, True Romance, and Saw: The Final Chapter. The service is not a great option if you are looking for a complete cable replacement option. But if you are in search of a free cable alternative or a service that could complement your Netflix or Amazon Prime Video subscription, Pluto TV has a large catalog of movies and channels to keep you entertained.
Pluto TV was ranked our best free service for live TV, check out the full list of best free streaming services here!