With so many streaming services available today, staying on top of what shows, movies, and channels you can watch can be a daunting, if not impossible task. And of course, there are popular services that you already know, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney Plus, but if you subscribe to more than one, your pocket could suffer. Also, when you know what Pluto TV is and how it works, it probably seems like a waste to keep paying.
Pluto TV is one of the new and modern alternatives that offer programming from more than 200 channels, thousands of movies and TV series for free. As Pluto TV supports the WatchFree service on Vizio TVs, it is likely to become increasingly popular. You may think that this is a misleading offer and that there is something more behind these promises, but no.
Pluto TV differs from traditional live TV in several ways, so you’ll do well to read this article carefully before cutting off your cable subscription.
Table of Contents
1. What is Pluto TV?
Viacom owns the Pluto TV since 2019, and it is a live TV streaming service, similar to Sling TV, AT&T TV Now, Hulu Live TV or other similar services. But unlike those platforms, which offer access to the channels that are on cable TV, Pluto TV offers free content, mainly selected from what is already available online.
This feature makes it a similar service to Rabbit TV, which costs $24 per anum, with the main difference that Pluto TV has been offered free of charge since its launch in the year 2014, which has allowed it to gain momentum quite quickly.
The service already had more than 28 million active users about a year ago, becoming the most comprehensive free television broadcast platform in the United States. These numbers cannot do more than grow, since March it is available in Latin America.
On Pluto TV, you’ll find content from well-known channels, as well as some that you’ve probably never heard of if you do not watch a lot of videos online. Even if you are subscribed to a live TV streaming service, you should consider using this option, which is exceptionally rich in content.
In March 2020, Pluto shook things up by introducing with its new user interface, which makes it easy to discover and play content. The main thing is the navigation is the linearity, which allows you to jump to any of the main categories of live TV: sports, movies, news, entertainment, comedy, with one or two clicks maximum.
This philosophy extends to the video-on-demand interface, which offers funnier categories such as “romantic comedies” while retaining the spirit of a traditional television guide. Pluto TV added new channels in October, including CMT Equal Play, The Bob Ross Channel, The Design Network, and a dedicated channel to Netflix’s Narcos show.
Besides, you can now specify your favourite channels to make it easy to find them in a list of more than 250, and you can also save individual programs, clips and movies. If you choose something you want to see, Pluto offers you a preview panel to show more information such as the list of actors, directors and trailers.
2. How is Pluto TV Different From WatchFree From Vizio TVs?
WatchFree is Pluto TV, although it is only included as such on Vizio TVs and it works slightly differently than the application does on other devices.
On Vizio TVs, WatchFree appears as an input, similar to how your cable box, a streaming device (like an Apple TV or Roku TV), or a game console would. All the programming that you will find in WatchFree is the same since Pluto is the one who covers that service.
Aside from the name and some specific interface differences, most of what you are reading in this article can be applied to the Vizio WatchFree.
3. What Channels are Available?
You can quickly check out a free service’s content library, but there’s a lot to it, especially with 175+ content partners entertaining 240+ channels.
You can find some categories of regular programming such as news, sports, movies, entertainment and comedy and you will also be able to enjoy other programs more related to the internet, such as the “Chill Out”, “Life + Style” and “Geek + Gaming” sections.
Although standard TV channels are not very popular on this service, you can find some that are represented through their web counterparts, such as Bloomberg, Cheddar, CNBC, MSNBC, CBSN, The Weather Network, and many others.
Since April 2019, it added to CNN, although not the signal you get by cable, but a channel with short-form digital content, with clips oriented towards lifestyle and culture, climate change, the environment and research and original interviews.
And in December 2019, it added CMT and Red Bull along with new themed channels, aimed primarily at fans of pop culture and reality shows.
Sports coverage is less traditional. For example, it doesn’t offer channels like ESPN, but at least you’ll find options like Fight, World Poker Tour, Impact Wrestling, a network dedicated to Sports News, Glory Kickboxing, and the Big Sky Network.
DAZN recently signed a deal for an original weekly series, but there is a possibility to expand this partnership in the future. Besides, it added an official channel of the PGA Tour, which provides 24/7 coverage to one of the largest golf tournaments.
In the entertainment section, it includes reruns of reality and documentaries, such as episodes of Dennis The Menace, Thunderbirds and other older television shows.
Among these channels, you’ll also find Wipeout. This network only shows reruns of the popular game show and various iterations from different countries, as well as Nosy, which shows reruns of The Jerry Springer Show and The Maury Show, among others.
The curiosity section features Science TV, Xive TV, Docu TV, and even a live broadcast from NASA. New Pluto TV includes Sitcoms, which offers a selection of older sitcoms like The Lucy Show and 3rd Rock from the Sun.
This type of hyper-focused network is part of the essence of Pluto TV, which also has Stand Up, a channel dedicated only to that type of Anime All Day, comedy and a channel dedicated to fails. Other similar channels like Slow TV, which shows relaxing images, Pluto TV Travel, and Cats 24/7, which are self-explanatory.
In June 2020, it incorporated the channels The FBI Archives, Babar, Animals, Romance Movies, Suspense Movies and Action Anime, where you can follow series such as Naruto, Bleach and Death for free and legally. These are in addition to those that arrived in May 2020: Soccer for Fans, Home, Teens and Marathons.
Various internet radio stations are also available, provided by Dash Radio, which is also known as a standalone service. The most modern types of music such as hip-hop, electronic music and pop are the most prevalent, although stations are also available with classic rock, soul and jazz.
Recently, Pluto has been striving to increase its international presence. During its first year of operations in the United Kingdom, two specific British channels were added, and in August the free service reached 17 Latin American countries.
The same month, Pluto TV added more and more content from CBS in addition to several new channels, including Dabl, Demand Africa, Johnny Carson TV, Three’s Company, Loupe, The Rifleman, Classic TV Comedy, Western TV, Pluto TV Fantastic, Classic TV Drama, Pluto TV Love Stories and Pluto TV Suspense.
4. What Devices Can I Use to Watch Pluto TV?
The service can be transmitted through the web browser, but it also offers desktop applications for Windows and Mac computers, although you must know that they can only be used in the US.
Mobile apps are also available on iOS and Android devices, with the separate US and international versions, offering different channels due to broadcast rights issues.
Likewise, smart TVs from Samsung, Sony, and Vizio are supported, and the company’s website says more are on the way.
All the applications we have tested show the same interface, with no significant differences between the platforms, with one exception that we will see below.
5. What About Ordering Content?
Pluto TV’s on-demand offer has some television shows, especially TLC and Discovery Channel, although the vast majority of cases you will find are movies.
a. What is Pluto TV
The available content changes frequently, and the service promises new hit movies every week. This constant rotation makes it difficult to know too far in advance what will be available, and it is not on par with services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, in any case.
The company has been bringing in big names, including a distribution deal with Sony that made Starship Troopers viewable on Pluto TV. Recently, we have seen titles like The Terminator, as well as a collection of James Bond films, and GoldenEye.
Although it is not up to par with the quality of Netflix content, there are enough titles that could catch your attention, and you may find a hidden gem.
On-demand content may not be available on all platforms, or at least not all content may be available. In our tests, both the TV and the movies were available on-demand through most of the platforms we tested (Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, iOS, and Roku TV). The list excluded the PS4, but this has changed with recent updates.
b. Will Pluto TV Stay?
At the moment, it doesn’t seem like Pluto TV is going anywhere. Its parent company, Viacom, has stated that Pluto TV is “a key driver of transforming our organization for the future.” Unlike old projects that aimed to provide TV shows – like Aereo, for example – Pluto TV seems to be careful not to upset government agencies or other pay-TV companies.
Although it is free, Pluto TV sells advertising on all channels and, judging from our experience, and it seems that advertisers are buying more every day. With the Viacom team significantly driving the platform’s marketing efforts, even greater interest is expected from advertisers.
Viacom recently reported that 3,500 were advertised during September 2019, the month with its highest revenue and that ad views had tripled every year.
Pluto TV’s deal with Vizio to bring WatchFree service now appears to be the first of many, as Viacom begins pitching Pluto TV free offerings as an ideal way for cable and satellite companies to regain some of the audience they are losing out on streaming services and “cable cutter ”.
There is also some fear that Viacom’s merger with CBS could affect Pluto TV’s future, particularly when it comes to customer-facing monetization. While we’re confident we’ll see some changes, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish recently confirmed that Pluto TV would remain a free service, according to Cordcutters News.
He even pointed to some corporate strategy, noting that he would use Pluto TV to sell more premium options like CBS All Access. Is Pluto TV Right For You? The simple way to find out is to download one of the apps on your platform of choice or head over to the company’s website and watch for a while.
It won’t cost you anything but time, and given the breadth of the schedule, there are quite a few chances that you will find something you like.