Review of Tubi TV

Review of Tubi TV

Netflix and Hulu have some new competition from free streaming services like Crackle and Pluto TV. These newer services have a different business model from the subscription systems that we’ve seen from Netflix, Hulu, and HBO NOW. Instead of offering paid memberships, Crackle and its ilk are totally free and ad-supported.

Among these new services is Tubi TV, a new but fast-growing service that recently acquired a bunch of new content from Lionsgate and MGM. Tubi TV is available for a bunch of different platforms, including a couple of the major streaming boxes. Should it be a part of your streaming arsenal? Here is our full review.

 

User Experience

Tubi TV's web app interface

Tubi TV’s web app interface

Tubi TV works like most streaming services do. You’ll get a pretty standard interface with scrollable rows of movies sorted by topics and genres. The Tubi TV catagories are pretty clever: they include “Not on Netflix” and “Highly Rated on Rotten Tomatoes,” among others. The smart choice of categories made it really easy to find the best content on Tubi TV. The service seems to be aware of the fact that most users will be turning to it as a second option after major services like Netflix, and rather than running from that, they’ve embraced it.

The interface was easy to use on all of the different platforms we tried, including the mobile apps, web app, and Roku channel. The service will remember where you left off streaming on your device, though this memory isn’t maintained when you switch devices.

 

Content

Tubi TV has made some efforts to improve its content library lately, and it will surely gain some more content in the future. For now, however, the content library remains far behind what paid services like Netflix and Hulu can offer. Tubi TV offers a relatively limited selection of big-budget, well-received films. The service pads its collection with a ton of filler movies that you’re unlikely to have ever heard of. The TV show collections are similarly bursting with filler – there’s even a knock-off version of Toddlers and Tiaras called Baby Beauty Queens.

There are some spots where Tubi TV’s content library shines, however. They do well with their “Cult Favorites” category, and they have some decent documentaries, foreign films, and indie films. Clearly, Tubi TV is held back primarily by its budget and business model. It will be interesting to see how they grow their library in the coming months and years.

 

Streaming Quality

The Birdcage streaming via Tubi TV on iOS

The Birdcage streaming via Tubi TV on iOS

Streaming quality was very solid across most of the different platforms we tried. We didn’t have to deal with much buffering or loading (there were occasionally short times after the commercials). The picture isn’t always in the highest definition, but it never dips to terribly low quality, and there was no crashing during our trials. The stream was exceptionally smooth on almost every platform we tried – we observed some limited choppiness on the web app (using Wi-Fi), and that was it. We used the Verizon network and Wi-Fi when testing the mobile devices.

 

Platforms

Tubi TV has pretty robust platform support. In addition to their web app, they offer versions for iOS, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung, Xbox One, and even the old Xbox 360. We tried out Tubi TV on the web app, iOS, Android, and Roku.

Tubi TV is particularly well integrated on the Roku, where it’s a part of Roku’s universal search feature.

 

Price

Tubi TV is free, of course, but you’ll pay for it in the form of ads. Ads run for a few minutes at a time and will interrupt your viewing about once every ten minutes. They’re pretty frequent, so the experience is similar to watching a movie on a television network (minus the editing, of course).

 

Verdict

Tubi TV is still held back a bit by its content library, but the service’s clever categories (“Not on Netflix,” “Highly Rated on Rotten Tomatoes”) and its integration with Roku’s universal search make it easy to find the best it has to offer while ignoring the large amount of filler. Streaming works well, and the user interface is quite good.

Tubi TV doesn’t beat the paid streaming services, of course, but that’s not really what it’s meant to do – at least not yet. If you can stand the ads, there’s absolutely no reason not to use Tubi TV to supplement your Netflix, Hulu, or HBO subscription. We recommend this service.

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About the Author

Stephen Lovely
Stephen Lovely
Stephen Lovely is a freelance writer and a longtime cord cutter with a passion for technology and entertainment. You can find his work on Cordcutting.com and his tweets at @stephenlovely.

22 Comments on "Review of Tubi TV"

  1. I just watched my first (and only) movie on Tubi TV, “The Big Easy”. For about half the movie they showed 5 1/2 minutes of movie interrupted by 2 1/2 minutes of commercials (yes, I timed it!). I expect to see commercials, but this was an annoying experience I will not repeat. Goodbye Tubi.

  2. It’s actually a grest service. It’s FREE and the ads are actually less than broadcast TV. They listened and now there are less ads. Awesome selection and getting better. Highly recommended.

  3. Scott Carlson | June 27, 2016 at 11:04 pm | Reply

    I like their selection of movies, especially horror and other grind house and genre movies. I’d actually dump Netflix for Tubi TV if they offered a commercial free pay option.

  4. Floridagirl | July 5, 2016 at 8:52 pm | Reply

    I personally love Tubi! I don’t mind the commercials at all. For me it’s a no brainer, cut the cord and watch commercials. Or keep paying 1,600.00 a year to a satellite company. My home has adjusted well to living without satellite television. And honestly we have so many more choices on what to watch. I’ve always said that I miss the 70’s and 80’s when things went at a slower pace and life was simpler. So what if we can’t fast forward through some commercials. Take a deep breath and embrace the commercials. Don’t be in such a hurry to rush through everything in life, stress less!

  5. I mind the commercials. I mind ALL commercials. And so should you. Read The “Hidden Persuaders” by Vance Packard, about the ad industry, for why. Written in 1957, it remains relevant to this day. If you suffer ads gladly then you’ve been bought and sold. This is why I cancelled my Hulu subscription. And now we’re seeing ads in movies – movies we’ve PAID to see. Yet the sheeple say nothing. I will not be disabling my ad blocker for this disaster of a “service.”

  6. 22 commercial breaks in one movie is way too many. Even more annoying is that it was the same commercial every time.

  7. Lady Highlander | July 16, 2016 at 3:57 am | Reply

    Tubi TV sucks. Sorry people, we repeatedly tried to watch one film on Tubi and were repeatedly kicked off for no reason. First for trying to pause the move (duh, everyone can pause these days); second, we got bumped off trying to fast forward (a NO NO in Tubi land); third, we were watching and ENDURING every 5 minutes commercials and dared not touch anything, and as the move faded to black with us happily awaiting a commercial, BANG, back to our Roku home screen, WHAT!!! We did nothing, Tubi, but you scorned us. SO, TUBI, YOU SUCK! And yes I will happily pay Netflix and Amazon not to be annoyed by you!

  8. Holy S***, the ads are terribly annoying and I had to stop watching…

  9. I discovered Tubi while using Roku’s search function. The film I was looking for, Jacob’s Ladder (1990), starring a young Tim Robbins, is an under-rated psycho-drama that has never been broadcast on network or cable television. I was delighted to find it on Tubi. While I admittedly would have enjoyed the film more were it not interrupted by commercial breaks, Tubi has distinguished itself from its competitors by even offering this hard-to-find gem.

  10. Tubi restarts Roku 2 over and over, it sucks.

  11. Commercials are way too often. Movies are 90% B movies, not even worth watching. Let alone putting up with so many commercials.

  12. Victoria Mathis | September 4, 2016 at 2:56 am | Reply

    Yes, the commercials are very annoying and far too frequent. I would prefer to pay a nominal fee to skip the ads. However, Tubi TV offers a wide selection of films and actually includes romance and dramas, something that’s not easy to find on streaming TV. I’m very happy about finding the screen gem, Irma Green, for fans of classic movies, it’s a true winner. Every now and then, a classic film no matter the age makes even a commercial tolerable.

  13. I thought I was the only one who got “bumped” repeatedly off Tubi. It’s the only service I’ve ever been shut off. Won’t waste my time again. The choices of view are terrible, ads are too frequent and REPETITIVE… worse than cable TV. I dumped Netflix a year ago because their content didn’t seem to change… same movies over and over.

  14. Tubi is starting to piss me off. Whenever I go to rewind back to a part in the movie I missed, Tubi then goes on to play 1/5 commercials. It happens every time I try to ffwd or rewind. If this continues, I will get rid of Tubi TV. I get that I am watching it for free, but to play endless commercials and not to mention the same ones, and to sit through 3 mins of commercials every time you ffwd or rewind is asinine!

  15. One of the worst apps out there! First time I tried watching a movie several months ago, it would play the same commercial over several times in a row. Then I would get kicked out of movie if i tried pausing. Contacted developer which stated an update to the app would be coming out in a couple of weeks that would fix this issue. I tuned back in several weeks later to try and watch the same movie. While it stopped playing the same commercials several times in a row during one break, there were still too many commercial breaks. I left it alone for a little over a month. Today, I tried going into the app to watch a different movie and found that I could not get into app either by signing in or registering. Every time I reach the field to enter my birthdate (which I’ve known all my life), it tells me it is an “invalid birthdate!” Wait… What? App cannot find my email address even though Customer Support used my email to contact me after registering my first complaint! Ain’t nobody got time for this crap!!! Buh-bye Tubitv!!!

  16. I was trying to watch a documentary called “Gay Sex in the 70’s” but the screen kept going red.

  17. It’s free and a larger selection than I thought… and the ads go by quick. And it’s free. Not meant to beat a paid streaming service, and it’s free.

  18. Commercials, commercials, and more commercials IN SPANISH? I live in Miami which is basically South America but forcing the Spanish commercials down my throat every few minutes is a HUGE negative. I can find most of what this lame app has on YouTube with the options to skip the advertisement after 3 seconds. There are plenty of other freebee options out there without this advertising business called Tubi TV.

  19. For a free service it’s fine. Sure the ads are annoying, especially if you’re use to ad-free streaming but ads are your price for free movies. I like that there are movies and shows that aren’t on other streaming services. With that said, I wouldn’t recommend cancelling your Netflix subscription but rather supplement it with Tubi TV as a serviceable alternative. I want to add that I would pay half the price of Netflix for an ad-free option.

  20. I’m actually starting to HATE Tubi TV! It was OK at 1st, but then I got super annoyed! It freezes sooo much. Like WTF I miss half of the movie!!! Plus the commercials every 3 minutes! Ugh never again! I would not recommend this at all.

  21. Susi Linares | March 5, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Reply

    My movie have been buffering min after min. Is there a way you can stop this!?

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