Pluto TV Review – Is It Worth It?
Pluto TV is a streaming service that works over the Internet. Unlike many digital content services like Prime Video, Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Hulu, and Netflix, Pluto TV is completely free. If you’ve ever used one of the media streaming apps like Plex or Kodi, Pluto TV feels a bit like that, but without the guilty suspicion that half the content you’re looking at is probably violating someone’s copyright. Everything on Pluto TV, whether live or on-demand, is obtained through third-party providers and major networks. There is ZERO torrent scraping or illegal streams. All content has been licensed to Pluto TV.
Pluto TV’s service curates content into channels by collecting media from various sources and then organizing everything into categories, such as news, sports, comedy, romance, gaming, chill out, entertainment, music, radio, and a whole lot more. The service makes money by showing ads between programs.
Pluto TV seems to work amazingly well! Since March 2020, the advertiser-supported video on demand (AVOD) provider has established deals with over 170 content partners. Their content connections allow them to deliver over 250 channels of on-demand and live TV entertainment, and they’ve reached over 230 million users every month! Their concept was to create a cable-like experience (guide and functionality) without the cost of a subscription. So far, it appears that the idea proves successful.
Pluto TV Live TV Example:
Pluto TV On-Demand Example:
How to access Pluto TV
Pluto TV is available on just about every platform in existence. There are Pluto TV apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and just about every streaming video player, including Roku, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, PlayStation 4, and Chromecast. The apps are lightweight, have attractive and efficient interfaces based on the tried and true cable TV grid. Pluto TV is accessible via an app or directly in the browser. Apps are available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
Pluto TV content
Most of the content on Pluto TV comes from public sources. Pluto TV is owned by ViacomCBS Inc. (spelled correctly), and as a result, the service has been able to get deals with content providers like BBC, CNBC, NBC, CBSN, IGN, CNET, MTV, Nick, BET, Comedy Central, Spike, and many other networks.
The service regularly adds new content to its channels. There is content available in the channels section, which works just like standard TV. Then there’s also an extensive On-Demand section, where you can pick and choose and watch what you want.
The content is sometimes a curious mix of new and old. The news channels have what you would typically expect: a few big names like CBS, CNN and Sky News, and then some lesser-known channels like Cheddar News. The movie channels are an eclectic mix of TV oldies, classics, second-string new releases, a fair sampling of older but first-rate movies, and even some genuine recent hits. It’s not what you’re going to find on HBO or Showtime, but it’s not far off the mark, and it doesn’t cost anything. Pluto TV’s contracts deliver great movies like The Rainmaker, Grease 2, Shaft, The Ninth Gate, Out of Time, First Knight, Addams Family Values, Total Recall, Maximum Conviction, Lemony Snickets, Kiss The Girls, Friday The 13th, Death Warrant, The Golden Child, and much more!
Comedy content is pretty good and tends to feature lots of YouTube videos and content from The Onion and Cracked. It too changes often and has broad appeal. There is also a lot of good material from Comedy Central on specialized channels.
Music is abundant on Pluto TV. Most cable television providers don’t offer much of a selection or variety. The on-demand section includes specific on-demand categories like music concerts, music docs, classic rock, and pop music.
The Live TV section includes a Music Category full of videos and audio music.
Sports is a weak spot for Pluto TV, presumably because of licensing. You won’t see live games, but you can see great replays, documentaries, shows, and more. They also feature live poker, American Gladiators, and other sports-related events.
As for the Cats 24/7 live TV channel that’s found in the comedy category, no more needs be said about that one!
Pluto TV price and quality
Pluto TV is free, so the price is not an issue. There are ads in between shows and movies, but they’re considerably less and quick to pass, unlike cable television. We used Pluto TV for a while and only saw between two or three very quick commercials, often with one or two of them being a 10 to 20-second Pluto TV advertisement. Video quality tends to be excellent. Audio is excellent too! Of course, the quality will depend on the broadcast, Internet speeds, and your router, or your smartphone’s signal. Watching an older sitcom isn’t going to look or sound spectacular, of course; Newer shows and movies will. The user interface is very straightforward, except when using a browser, where it can be a little crowded.
The Pluto TV experience
The user experience is much the same no matter what device you use. Navigation and stream selection is the same as on any media center app. Find something to watch on any device or browser, select the stream, and enjoy. That’s really is all there is to it.
Is Pluto TV a Good On-Demand and Live TV Option?
Let’s start with some questions.
Is Pluto TV worth watching? The answer is yes. As a budget alternative to cable TV, is it worth it? The answer is yes, for sure. Is it a complete replacement for cable service? The answer is no.
While free and of excellent quality at the price of zero dollars, the content is somewhat mixed up. Unlike cable, there is no VH1, MTV, Spike, Discovery, TV Land, Comedy Central, or similar channels. Sure, Pluto TV gets content from those sources, but they mesh them into unique channels, such as COPS Spike, MTV The Hills, Unsolved Mysteries, DOG The Bounty Hunter, TV Land Sitcoms, STAND UP TV, and more.
Some channels are close to what you get from cable, but they are limited, such as MTV Pluto, Spike Pluto, CMT Pluto, CNN, Comedy Central Pluto, Nick Pluto, and more. Furthermore, Pluto TV is a service in itself, creating the channels and the advertisements. Pluto TV has a good variety of live TV and on-demand content, but it does not provide the assortment that cable TV offers, at least not yet.
The guide is cool, but you cannot forward the time to see what is coming up in the near future. There is currently not a search function either, which comes in handy when you want to see your options. You basically have to scan through the lists of on-demand content 0r the live TV channels to see what is currently available.
The media DOES HAVE content ratings, though, for both on-demand and live TV. When you click or tap an on-demand item from the list, it brings up information, along with its TV rating. When you click on a live channel, it displays the TV rating near the progress bar area. You could click on the video stream again at any time to bring up the info if you missed it.
Sample of Pluto TV’s Live TV Rating Information:
Sample of TV Rating and Programming Information After Clicking the “i” in Live TV:
Overall, Pluto TV is breaking waves in the on-demand and digital programming industry. The interface is really cool, and they have an excellent variety of content to enjoy, from popular TV shows to great 80’s and 90’s movies, plus newer movies from major motion picture companies.
ViacomCBS Inc. is currently improving services with more content, more control, and more functionality. We’ll just have to wait and see what comes next! By the way, some of the older functions like customizing your preferences and channels were removed. So, if you read about that somewhere, it’s not valid anymore.
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14 thoughts on “Pluto TV Review – Is It Worth It?”
It’s NOT worth it, for me. I can get everything of interest (to me) Pluto offers on Roku or Hulu. Pluto drove me away with bad engineering and nauseating repetition. Here in SoCal they’re running that nerve-grating Fios ad so often I just had to leave. I haven’t been back.
Thank You Pluto TV!
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