Pluto TV review

Pluto TV highlights

Pluto TV review

In the increasingly busy video streaming market, it’s imperative to stand out from the crowd. And providing close to 200 live channels packed with high-quality content for free is a surefire way to do exactly that.

Pluto TV is a live streaming service that offers free access to entertainment, lifestyle, movie, news and sports channels. These include CNN, Fox Sports and MTV, plus the service’s tailored channels. It also has a library of free on-demand movies, such as Apocalypse Now, The Big Short and Zodiac as well as TV shows like 3rd Rock From The Sun and Kitchen Nightmares.

Pluto TV launched in 2013, raised $13 million in funding the following year and then struck a deal to distribute Hulu’s free content in 2015. Subsequent growth worldwide led to the company being purchased by ViacomCBS for $340 million in March 2019. Pluto TV revealed it had 20 million viewers as of November 2019.

What is Pluto TV?

Pluto TV is a free online TV service that also has on-demand content available. It offers a wide range of channels, from movies and sports to documentaries, lifestyle and news, which makes it a decent option for people that don’t want to pay for a cable service.

Pluto TV
PriceFree
Number of channels240+
On-demand content library1,000+ titles
Average time of ads30 seconds
Mobile appiOS, Android
Desktop viewMac, Windows

Why Pluto TV may be the right streaming service for you

Pluto TV offers a wide range of content options, from comedy and lifestyle shows to movies and sports content. There’s plenty of interesting content and no sign-up process. And best of all, it’s free.

User experience

Users don’t have to create an account to start watching on a desktop player or via the Pluto TV app. However, given the large number of channels available, it might be wise to create a free account and hide the channels that aren’t relevant. All content, including on-demand video and live TV, are supported by frequent ads. 

Pluto TV’s web player and mobile app offer decent user experiences with playback features like 10-second fast-forward and rewind buttons, a progress bar that enables users to drag through on-demand content and subtitle options. The mobile app allows users to adjust their streaming for cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity options.

The live streaming service has a clean, easily usable grid view of live channels that’s essentially a web-based Pluto TV guide. Unlike other live streaming services, there’s no homepage advising on featured content. Instead, users can either open up the player and begin watching a show immediately or scroll to the right to see upcoming shows over the next few hours.

The service’s on-demand content library also offers a good user experience. It splits into categories such as action, comedy, horror and thrillers, as well as a section of award-winning movies, which makes it easy to find things to watch. 

Device compatibility

Pluto TV is available for free on the following devices:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android TV
  • Android mobile and tablets
  • Apple TV
  • iOS mobile and tablets
  • Chromecast
  • Microsoft Windows
  • PlayStation 4
  • Roku
  • Xbox One

Pluto TV features you’ll love

We took a close look at what Pluto TV has to offer and the features that make it worth checking out. This includes its ease of use, channel selection and viewing options.

Keep watching while navigating

A nice feature of Pluto TV’s web player is that content continues to play in a mini pop-up screen even when viewers navigate through the site and look for other content. That’s in addition to full-screen and standard sized web modes.

Dedicated TV show channels

Pluto TV has several channels dedicated to specific TV shows. This makes it easy for users to find content and provides around-the-clock access to the likes of Baywatch The Hills or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

On-demand library

In addition to live programming, Pluto TV also offers a wide range of on-demand movies and TV shows. Pluto users get free around-the-clock access to classic films and TV favorites and entertainment services.

Web-based TV guide

The look and feel of Pluto TV should be pretty familiar to most viewers, as it takes the form of an online TV guide. It’s easy to scroll through and across and explore what the service’s wide array of channels have to offer.

No account needed

There’s no commitment required to enjoy Pluto TV. Simply open up the web player to get started. But viewers that plan to use it on an ongoing basis will likely want to register so they can tag favored channels.

Accessibility benefits

There may be times when viewers want to watch without sound or require assistance if they’re hearing-impaired. Pluto TV has that covered with multiple closed captioning options, such as changing the font, as well the color and size of font and background color and opacity.

What to watch on Pluto TV

Pluto TV boasts a breadth of channels that many paid-for live streaming services can’t compete with. This includes 20 channels dedicated to movies, around 70 choices of comedy, drama, entertainment programming, plus a host of channels dedicated to children’s TV, news and sports. It also offers more than 20 Latino channels specifically for Spanish speakers and a wide range of music channels providing both viewing and listening options.

The service has a particularly strong line-up of entertainment coverage, including Comedy Central, Crime Network and MTV. It even has entire channels dedicated to Cold Case Files, Doctor Who, Dog The Bounty Hunter and Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares.

Pluto TV has a wealth of insightful documentaries available, such as A Sicilian Dream, Cannibal Island, Mandela, The Man Who Saved The World and Supersize Me. There are classic TV shows such as Dragnet, Flipper, The Lone Ranger, The Prisoner and 3rd Rock From The Sun. And for those looking for something a bit more chaotic, there’s on-demand Dog The Bounty Hunter, Jerry Springer and Storage Wars.

Viewers get access to several free sports channels on Pluto TV, including Fox Sports and the NFL Network as well as Major League Soccer and Big Sky Conference channels. However, it lacks the local network channels that will likely carry big live sporting events. Other options include Fight, which has access to Bellator and UFC bouts, Glory Kickboxing, Sportsgrid, Stadium and Winter Sports TV.

Global current affairs are covered with a strong selection of news channels from around the world. This includes CNN and CBSN, plus CBSN’s local channels in Los Angeles and New York and RT America. There’s also a live broadcast of UK news channel Sky News, as well as around-the-clock coverage from Court TV, Newsmax TV and TYT Network.

The service’s on-demand movies don’t include the latest Hollywood hits. But it does have relatively recent releases like The Big Short, Nightcrawler and Zodiac plus classic movies such as American Beauty, Apocalypse Now, Basic Instinct and Raging Bull. 

How to sign up for Pluto TV

Watching Pluto TV couldn’t be easier, simply:

  • Visit pluto.tv on your preferred browser.
  • Scroll through the available channels.
  • Select a live program to watch.

To sign up for the service:

  • Click the Sign Up button in the top right corner of your browser.
  • Provide your first name, email address, create a password and enter your birth year.
  • Click Create free account.
  • Verify your account. 

The takeaway

The old adage of ‘nothing comes for free’ may ring truer than ever in the modern entertainment world. But Pluto TV bucks the trend of paid video streaming services and delivers a wide range of live TV and on-demand content. Users don’t even have to create an account. 

The service may lack some of the higher-end channels regularly carried by paid competitors and ads can be frequent and repetitive, but Pluto TV offers a strong choice of entertainment, news and sports programming entirely for free.

Rob Latham

Rob Latham is a writer focused on technology, music, entertainment and sports. He is particularly passionate about the role that technology plays in improving peoples’ lives and helping businesses to work more effectively. He’s written marketing content for global B2B technology brands and start-ups, founded his own music blog and is a regular contributor to soccer publications. His professional background is in content marketing, public relations and journalism, and he has a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism.