What is Pluto TV and How Does It Work?

Pluto TV

Pluto TV is a live-TV streaming service, not entirely unlike Sling TV and such competitors ls PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, or other similar services. But unlike those services, which offer streaming access to channels you’d find on cable TV, Pluto TV offers free content mainly curated from what’s already available online.

In this way, it’s similar to Rabbit TV. Pluto TV launched in 2014 and picked up steam fairly quickly. It now has over 12 million active users, making it the largest free TV streaming service in the U.S. It’s the second most popular free content channel on Roku.

On Pluto TV, you’ll find content from channels you recognize, as well as some you’ve likely never heard of if you don’t watch a lot of online video. Even those who already subscribe to a live TV streaming service may find the service useful thanks to the curated layout, though this will obviously depend on your personal preferences.

Pluto doesn’t charge uses a penny. It feels like the modernized version of the free channel package you’d get when you’d connect an antenna to a TV. The service features ads throughout your experience, often when changing channels. Ads can be intrusive when they unexpectedly interrupt the middle of a movie, and can range from one 30-second ad to up to four at a time.

As long as you don’t need every single brand you’re used to tuning into, Pluto TV has something for you. Scrolling through the Pluto TV channel guide, you’ll see a mix of familiar (Fox Sports, People TV) brands and those you won’t recognize, such as WHAT?!, Man Up, Anime All Day and The Feed.

You don’t get the broadcast channels, but you will get news channels based on their offerings. So, when you see CBSN, know that it’s CBS News and won’t give you Big Bang Theory. Similarly, the NBC News network doesn’t have the sitcoms and dramas of that network. Fox and The CW are missing altogether.

If you want movies, Pluto’s got genre-based channels such as Action Movies, Flicks of Fury, Horror 24/7, Gravitas Movies and Black Cinema. Looking at the actual films on these channels, I saw a bunch of stuff I’ve never heard of (Vendetta, Ninja and 247 Degrees Fahrenheit) but noticed that Pluto TV Movies 1 & 2 feature more-recognizable content, such as the award-winning drama There Will Be Blood and the satirical comedy Saved!.

Who is Pluto TV for?


If you’re looking for a traditional TV-like experience, where you surf between channels instead of searching for a specific show, Pluto TV might be right for you. It’s also best-suited to those who are just looking to watch something and don’t have a specific show they need to see.

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