What is Pluto TV

Pluto TV

Pluto TV is essential for broke cord-cutters

It's free live TV, with no strings attached.

 

John-Michael Bond

Services

Published May 10, 2018   Updated May 31, 2021, 10:56 pm CDT

If you’re looking for live TV streaming options online, you have no shortage of options: Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, YouTube TV, and FuboTV each offer a variety of channels and packages with their own perks. But there’s only one option for streaming fans who want free TV, Pluto TV.

Pluto TV is a free internet TV service, boasting 26.5 million monthly users and 100,000-plus hours of content for free. In spite of its price, Pluto provides a similar experience provided to subscribers of paid streaming services like Sling, Fubo, and Hulu.

Although Pluto doesn’t offer you all the channels you might expect from a streaming service, it is packed with big-name shows and moviesIn effect, you get the shows you want without the cable drama.

Here’s everything we’ll cover in this article.


Pluto TV plans and pricing

Pluto TV is 100% free to use and sign up for, so you can start watching immediately without a credit card.


What is on Pluto TV?

Beyond the price, Pluto’s best feature is how familiar it is. Because it utilizes cable’s familiar grid-style channel guide makes it easy for new users to jump right into Pluto TV.

Pluto divides its content into blocks of channels. Those are organized by categories. For example, there’s Movies, Entertainment, News + Opinion, Reality, Crime, Comedy, Classic TV, Home + DIY, Explore, Sports, Gaming + Anime, Music, En Espanol, Kids, and Local (where available).

Additionally, there’s a block of Featured channels that leads the grid.

Pluto TV channels

Pluto TVs blocks are a mix of well-known companies and original streaming services. Because of this mix, you’ll find some familiar surprises, like the feeds for CBSN, NBC News, CNN, and Impact Wrestling.

Most of these channels are made up of streaming content from these services rather than feeds of the channels themselves, so measure your expectations. But even with managed expecations, free content from major channels is a big deal.

Beyond those marquee names, you’ll need to learn which of the hundred-plus channels meet your interests. As a matter of fact, Pluto makes discovery simple.

Coonsequently, Pluto’s channel‘s simple channel names will be instantly familiar even for neophytes. Want material arts? Tune into Flicks of Fury, while horror hounds will want to stop by Horror 24/7.

The aptly named, Fight serves up pummeling MMA action all day long, while the NFL Channel and Major League Soccer’s channel allows fans of those sports to do deep dives.

Classic TV lets you have a Doctor Who marathon, explore the RiffTrax and MST3k channels to mock movies, and catch up on your favorite old shows. Across the board, Pluto TV is analogous to a well-curated playlist.

Whether you’re a news junkie, movie historian, foodie, science nerd, or sports fan, Pluto has something to strike your interest. The Entertainment section showcases a mix of reality TV, movies, classic cartoons, and true-crime shows. 

Parents will also appreciate the multiple channels of programming for children, including educational shows. Pluto even offers a host of internet music stations to listen to via Dash Radio.

Because of this unending feed of options, Pluto is a perfect place for channel surfers.

Movies on Pluto TV

Great TV is just one part of the Pluto experience. To be sure, if you love movies, Pluto TV is a godsend. From action to horror to drama and everything in between, Pluto is packed with movies.

First, there are specialty channels like 007 with James Bond movies and Spotlight’ centering indie movies like Moon or 24 Hour Party People. However, if you want something broader they have you covered. In addition, Black Cinema and decade-specific 70s, 80s, 90s rewind movie channels available.

In addition to its specialty options, Pluto has Comedy, Drama, Romance, Horror, and other genre specific channels. Often you’ll find more than one. For example, horror fans get both a Horror and Terror channel.

Tons of Spanish language options

Another area Pluto TV excells at is its Spanish language channel options. You’ll find Spanish movie channels, including the special 007 channel, sports, anime, and a host of telenova options. Despite charging for service, there are paid streaming TV services that don’t offer the incredible options Pluto delivers Spanish speaking viewers.

List of Pluto TV Channels

NEWS

Pluto NewsCBSNCBS New York
CBSN Los AngelesCNNNBC News Now
Weather NationSky NewsBloomberg TV
Cheddar NewsC|NetBNC 24/7
Top Stories by NewsyTodayNewsmax TV
Blaze LiveAmerica’s VoiceOAN Plus
The First TYT Network 

SPORTS

CBS Sports HQFox SportsNFL Channel
MLBMLSPGA Tour
PAC 12 InsiderPluto SportsFight
BoxingBellator MMAProWrestling
Impact WrestlingGlory KickboxingBein Sports Xtra
StadiumBig Sky ConferenceBackcountry
Pursuit Up Action Sports WPT
Porker GO

MOVIES

007Pluto SplotlightAction
ComedyDramaFantastic
Crime MoviesThrillersHorror
TerrorBlack CinemaStaff Picks
DocumentariesParamount MoviesWesterns
Classic MoviesCult FilmsFlicks of Fury
The Asylum

COMEDY

Funny AFTV Land SitcomsWings
Slightly Off by IFCKevin Hart’s LOLComedy Central Pluto
Comedy Central AnimationStand Up TVTosh.0
Wild’n OutMST3KRiffTrax
AFV TV Fail Army 

GAMING & ANIME

Pluto GamerIGNGamespot
Minecraft TVGameplay RobloxGameplay Fortnite
Anime All DayCameplay Call of DutyGameplay Sports
One PieceNarutoYu-Gi-Oh!
Tokushoutsu

ENTERTAINMENT

Paramount+ PicksShowtime SelectsTV Land Drama
Stories AMC90210Drama Life
NashvilleBaywatchDegrassi
Love StoriesSuspenseStar Trek
Sci FiBritish TVDr. Oz
NoseyJudge NoseyThe Price is Right
BuzzrDeal or No DealGame Show Central
Demand AfricaBET PlutoBET Her Pluto
MTV PlutoCMT Pluto Logo Pluto
ET LivePeople TV Awesomeness TV

REALITY

Reality LivesRescue 911
VH1 I Love RealityLove and Hip HopVH1 Hip Hop Family
Black Ink CrewDog the Bounty HunterSpike Pluto
Spike OutdoorsSkills + Thrills Hells Kitchen
Ink Master Survivor The Amazing Race
The ChallengeFear FactorAmerican Gladiators
WipeoutAll Reality WE TVDallas Cowboys Cheerleaders
CelebrityMTV DatingPeople Are Awesome

CLASSIC TV

Classic Comedy Family TiesHappy Days
Three’s CompanyThe Love BoatBlack Ink Crew
VH1 RuPaul’s Drag RaceCMT Dallas Cowboys CheerleadersThe Addams Family
The Beverly HillbilliesJohnny Carson TVCarol Burnett Show
The Bob Ross ChannelClassic TV DramaMission Impossible
Western TVThe Rifleman Doctor Who Classic
Dark ShadowsShout TVClassic Toons

CRIME

Pluto Crime Drama CSINARCOS
True CrimeCOPSForensic Files
Cold Case FilesThe New DetectivesUnsolved Mysteries
Crime 360Midsomer MurdersCourt TV

HOME + DIY

Food TVAmerica’s Test Kitchen BBC Food
BBC HomeFrontdoorDabl
Lively PlaceDesign NetworkThis Old House
Tiny House NationAntiques Roadshow UKPluto TV Best Life
WeddingsCats 24/7 Dogs 24/7
The Pet CollectiveFaith TVTBN

EXPLORE

HistorySmithsonian ChannelMilitary
CarsAnimalsPluto TV Paranormal
ScienceAdventure TVTravel
Voyager DocumentariesChassyNaturescape
LoupeSlow TV

EN ESPANOL

007Cine PremiereSeptimo arte
Cine AdrenalinaCine TerrorGine Ja Ja!!
XOXONashville En EspanolCSI: En Espanol
InvestigaCrimenes ImperfectosEmergencia 911
Mundo ParanormalMisterios Sin ResolverMundo Viagero
Mundo GeekFoodies Hell’s Kitchen En Espanol
Telemundo Telenovelas ClassicasBadass NovelasNovelas Con La Abuela
Amantes Del RomanceSony ComediasEntre Nosotras
Estrella TVMi Obsesion FaavoritaSony Escape Perfecto
Spike! ExtremoMTV LatinoComedy Central Latino
Ono NoticiasEuro NewsEstrella News
Nuestra VisionNosey EscandaloNosey Caso
Bein Sports ExtraCombate WorldsLucha Libre World Wide
Naruto En EspanolYu-Gi-oh! En Espanol

Kids

Kids AnimationNick Nick Jr.
Totally TurtlesDora TVKids
After School CartoonsTweenPocket Watch
Ryan and FriendsLittle Baby BumBebecito Bum y sus amigos
Nick LatinoNick Jr. Latino

Streaming quality

Picture quality is for the most part very good. Channels that show public domain movies have the worst quality, however, the majority of these channels feature at least a 720p picture.

For a free compromise, Pluto can often make you forget it isn’t the real thing.

Pluto TV Binge Watch channels

Pluto TV local channels

While you won’t find local channels for most of the USA, viewers in cities like Los Angeles and New York can access local CBS affiliate news feeds for those markets in the News section.

However, it’s worth pointing out that local channels shouldn’t be expected here. This isn’t a cable package. It’s a wildly professional, brilliant designed, and, most importantly, free streaming TV alternative.

Photo of Pluto TV's selection of local channels.

Pluto TV add-ons

Pluto TV doesn’t offer add-ons because the service is free. In other words, treat yourself and supplement the money you’re saving by getting HBO Max for $15 a month.


Pluto TV devices

No matter how you connect to the internet, you can watch. There’s an app for Windows and Mac on desktop. In addition, both Android and iOS have mobile apps. You can also download the Pluto TV app for select smart TVs from Vizio, Samsung, Sony, and more.

Here’s the list of available devices: 

  • iOS mobile & tablet
  • Android mobile & tablet
  • Android TV (various)
  • Google Chromecast
  • Chrome Web App
  • Amazon Fire Tablets
  • Amazon Fire TV + Fire Tv Stick
  • Roku Devices + Roku TV
  • Apple TV (4th Generation)

I tested the browser, desktop, Roku, and iOS versions of the app. Roku works the best, but each device provided a clear picture without skips and jumps.  

It’s also possible to activate your smartphone as a remote on certain devices, including on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV.

If you have one of the above devices, activation can be accessed by following these steps.

  • Visit Channel 02 on the guide or click “Activate” on the left side of the guide
  • You’ll see a six-digit code displayed at the top of the screen
  • There are two ways to enter that code, depending on your account and device
  • Logged in: click “MyPluto” on your phone > activate > enter digit code
  • Logged out / No account: Visit My.Pluto.Tv/activate and follow prompts

Pluto TV DVR and multiple screens

You won’t find DVR or multiple-screen capabilities here because it’s free. Everyone in your house can afford to watch on their device. Considering a free service where almost everything is on-demand, DVR isn’t needed here.


Pluto TV on-demand catalog

We adore Pluto TV’s amazing on-demand section. For one thing, we were able to watch old episodes of Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern, Death Note, House Hunters and the trash classic Flavor of Love without a hiccup.

It must be remembered this is a free service, offing shows we normally only see on paid options.

In addition, Pluto’s on-demand movie selection is also binge-worthy. Especially if you love genre movies.

You’ll find Hollywood blockbusters like Four Brothers and Super 8. Without a doubt, the biggest titles on the service currently are its Bond movie collection In addition to big-budget films, there are a host of indie titles.

You’ll find Fast and Furious director Justin Lin’s debut Better Luck Tomorrow, Weird Al’s underground classic UHF, and more. Without a doubt, Pluto TV rewards viewers who dig for gold.

In particular, its aforementioned genre selections are gold to be sure. See mega sci-fi hits like Minority Report. lost action hits like Johnny Mnemonic, and groundbreaking found footage like Cloverfield. To be sure, Pluto TV makes movies a priority.


Pluto TV vs. the competition

Pluto TV vs. Philo

Though Pluto TV’s not quite like anything else out there, Philo’s probably closest in what it offers, with 63 entertainment-focused channels for just $20 a month. Like Philo, Pluto TV has a considerable on-demand catalog of movies and shows.

While Philo offers actual channels from cable, Pluto delivers a curated experience, unlike traditional TV. Despite these differences, each service provides a great live TV experience.

It may be free, but Pluto offers more news. Philo is a comparatively great service, but Pluto TV offers more options for free. Unless Philo adds more news options, Pluto will eat its lunch.

Pluto TV vs. Sling TV

Sling TV was the first budget streaming TV solution on the market. Even though its price has gone up over time, there’s a good chance Sling is the streaming experience you’re looking for.

Sling TV comes in three packages, Orange, Blue, and Orange + Blue. The 32-channel Orange and the 47-channel Blue packages each cost $30 per month, while the 53-channel Orange + Blue package is $45.

Sling TV offers a well-rounded package of channels for the price; for instance, it includes ESPN, which isn’t a given on all services. We truly love Sling TV. It makes an incredible combination. When one is free why choose?


Pluto TV: Is it worth it? 

Pluto TV shines because it accepts what it is and strives to make that great. The service offers a diverse range of content for free and doesn’t ruin it with too many ads. So long as that continues we will celebrate it.

It’s obvious from the amount of action, stoner, and extreme sports content that this is service is currently aimed at college-age viewers, by and large. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check Pluto out if you aren’t in that demographic.

During our testing of the service, the plucky nature of its content grew on me. We all have ingrained biases about free content, but Pluto puts forth a first-rate product.

Its menus are easy to navigate and clear, so you can always find something that’s right for you. Even areas I never anticipated checking out managed to pull me in for a few episodes. Part of the fun is discovering content you never thought you’d watch. 

Pluto TV won’t replace your beloved Hulu or Netflix, but if you can’t afford those services, this is a great alternative. We pay to use plenty of services each month, but Pluto is keeping a place in my Roku library.


How to sign up for Pluto TV

While you can just navigate to the Pluto TV website and watch, you can also create an account with an email address quickly and stream on a number of different devices. Here are the simple directions for how to sign up:

  1. Visit this page.
  2. Enter your email address.
  3. Then, enter the password that you want to use.
  4. Then, insert the year you were born.
  5. Finally, click “Create Account.”

You’ll then have the ability to customize your channel display and specify what devices you use.


The Daily Dot may receive a payment in connection with purchases of products or services featured in this article. Click here to learn more.

Share this article
*First Published: May 10, 2018, 5:30 am CDT