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Pluto TV Logo
A free take on the live TV experience
7.8 / 10  Review Rating

If you’re like me, then you love a good deal. And when it comes to good deals, it’s hard to find a better price tag than one that says “free!” That’s what makes Pluto TV so intriguing to streamers like us. By offering a free and ad-supported streaming experience, Pluto TV has clearly differentiated itself from paid streaming services. But can a free service really offer the same caliber of content as Netflix and Hulu do? And how does Pluto TV measure up against fellow freebies like Tubi and Peacock?

These are just a couple of the questions that I set out to answer when I tested Pluto TV for this review. So join me, and we’ll journey to the far edges of the solar system! No, wait, that’s the wrong Pluto. Let’s try again: Join me, and we’ll journey to the far edges of the cord cutter universe and discover all there is to love (or not love) about Pluto TV.


  • Completely free
  • Both live-streaming and on-demand content
  • Available on all major streaming devices
  • Lots of James Bond


  • No option to pay for ad-free content
  • Most content is at least five years old
  • Cross-device support is lacking
  • No HD
  • Hard to find content due to lack of search and limited filtering

What You Can Watch on Pluto TV

Pluto TV app
A look at Pluto TV’s app on Amazon’s Fire TV platform

Pluto TV offers a combination of streaming that I found really interesting. On one level, Pluto TV works just like the other free, ad-supported on-demand streaming services we’ve tried: It’s basically Netflix, but with ads (and without quite the same amount of quality films and shows).

But Pluto TV also offers live streaming channels. It’s not quite a skinny bundle like fuboTV or Sling TV, but it does offer a pretty cool “live TV” experience. Pluto TV’s live-streaming side includes more than 250 channels, most of which are made-up networks that Pluto TV assembled out of on-demand content, but a few of which are real, honest-to-goodness channels. A few lucky markets will find their local CBS news station on Pluto TV. Other channels include free spin-off versions of familiar cable networks — for example, I couldn’t watch AMC online with Pluto TV, but I could watch a channel called “Stories by AMC.” BET isn’t on Pluto TV, either, but a BET-branded channel called “BET Pluto TV” is. I even spotted live-streaming channels from Shout Factory TV (which actually has a live TV “channels” service of its own). Other live-streaming channels offered me sports, kids’ entertainment, classic TV, game shows, Spanish-language programming, comedy, crime, anime, and more.

I was pretty impressed with the sheer amount of content on both the live and on-demand sides. With about 250 channels and thousands of hours of on-demand content, I always felt like I had several good options to choose from when it was time to watch.

The on-demand content is just as wide-ranging as the live content. It includes full movies and TV shows, not just the short little clips that you might expect to find free online. And many of these movies and TV shows are pretty recognizable and popular, which was great to see — free services don’t always have top-notch content, but I found that Pluto TV did.

What particularly stood out to me was Pluto TV’s pride and joy: Its large selection of James Bond movies.

Pluto TV web app
The name’s TV… Pluto TV. This image shows Pluto TV’s web app

Bond’s a big deal in my household, so I was pretty impressed that Pluto TV had it. Not everything in Pluto TV’s catalog was this interesting, but I think that the Bond films help illustrate that Pluto TV’s top-tier content is as good as anything you’d find on a paid service.

It didn’t take me long to realize that most of the on-demand content was old. I love the classic Star Trek movies as much as the next guy — or maybe about 10 times as much as the next guy — but it still would be nice to get some post-2015 content on Pluto TV.

To be fair, this is a common issue with free services. Still, it certainly limits the ability of Pluto TV to become your primary replacement for cable. The live channels contain newer content, which helps — but it’s just not enough. Like most free services, Pluto TV has a great top tier of content, but lacks some catalog depth and doesn’t include enough new movies and TV shows. It gives you great viewing options, but it has its limitations.

How It Felt to Use Pluto TV

Watching Pluto TV on the mobile app
Watching Pluto TV on the mobile app

The Pluto TV interface is clean and simple. I found that it felt pretty familiar, and I think you will, too — Pluto TV’s designers were clearly inspired by the classic cable TV guide layout.

Both the live-streaming and on-demand content are split into categories to make it easier to find what you are looking for. But there was one thing I was surprised to see was missing: a search feature! With roughly 250 channels and 1000’s of on-demand TV shows and movies, you’ll probably find something eventually, but a search would certainly help. Pluto TV’s huge amount of content was a good thing, but it sometimes felt like a downside as I struggled to find the thing that I actually wanted to watch.

It wasn’t just the missing search feature, either — I consistently found that Pluto TV was missing the content discovery features I’m used to seeing in streaming services. Aside from the divisions by category, I found there was no way to filter or change the view of the available TV shows, movies, or channels. Other services — like Crackle, for example — allow you to look at titles alphabetically or filter by length, content type, and other characteristics. That’s completely missing here. Even the categories filter was limited: There was no way for me to see a full list of the titles in a given category. I think this is something you might find frustrating. If you didn’t know which category to find Divorce Court under, for example, you’d probably never find it! That category, by the way, is “nosey.”

Using Pluto TV’s web app
Using Pluto TV’s web app

I was pleasantly surprised by the low number of commercials I saw while watching Pluto TV’s on-demand content. I am happy to describe the ad experience as unintrusive. To be honest, I was not expecting to find a free service with fewer ads than the ad-supported tiers of paid services like Hulu. The live channels do often have more commercials, but that isn’t entirely Pluto TV’s fault; these channels (AMC, NBC, and so on) always have commercial breaks, no matter how you choose to watch them.

I wasn’t wowed with Pluto TV’s functionality. The interface is just glitchy enough to be annoying, though it’s at least not glitchy enough to interfere with its usability (in most cases, anyway). As an example, when I scroll to the end of a row of movie options on most services, I’m used to the menu either circling back to the beginning of the list (like on Netflix) or giving me some kind of visual clue that I’m at the end of the list (like on Max). For reasons that I just can not figure out, Pluto TV chose a third option: They just spring back to the beginning of the list, with no looping option to get back back to the end quickly. On some screen sizes, I had to scroll at a fairly slow rate to actually view the last move in the lists — one false move, and I’d blow right past the final few options!

I also noticed some minor technical issues that occurred when coming back from commercials. In particular, the video would sometimes stutter and repeat a second or two of the content. It’s not a dealbreaker for me, but it was very far from ideal.

Pluto TV running on iOS
Pluto TV running on iOS

Pluto TV Features and Streaming Quality

I found that the video quality was mostly okay on Pluto TV, but could quickly tell that it wasn’t HD. When I was watching on a mobile device, this wasn’t a problem. On my smart TV, though, the lower quality was hard to ignore. As with several of my other complaints, this is a common issue with free streaming services.

The first feature I noticed about Pluto TV’s app was the option to create an account. Many free streaming services — Shout Factory TV, for example — don’t bother with user accounts. This feature has its good and bad sides. On the one hand, having no accounts would have meant no need to hand over my data. On the other hand, having a Pluto TV account allowed me to mark favorite channels, create watch lists, and pause a program on one device to resume watching it on another. Those are all great features.

Or, at least, they would be great features if they actually worked on all of my devices. Unfortunately, favorites and watch lists are only available on iOS, Apple TV, and Roku devices. They don’t even work for the in-browser app!

Even the ability to continue watching a show or movie on another device seemed to have platform issues. In my testing, it appeared to only work on those same select devices: iOS, Apple TV, and Roku. As far as I can tell, there’s no advantage in creating a Pluto TV user account if you are not using one of those three devices.

Speaking of missing features, there is no way to pause or rewind the live TV channels. However, this is not something I’ve seen a lot of free “live TV” alternatives offer, so I don’t penalize Pluto TV much for it. Still, it was a bit limiting. Aside from the ability to change channels, the only thing you can really control as a Pluto TV live viewer are the closed captions.

Pluto TV closed captioning
Playing with closed captioning settings in Pluto TV’s web app

Although I couldn’t change the language of the closed captions, I found that Pluto TV gave me a surprising amount of control over their appearance: I could mess with the size, font, and background opacity. At first, I thought this seemed like an unnecessary level of control. Actually, I still think it is, but with giant red captions kept me amused for a few minutes.

Pluto TV Platform Support

Pluto TV Fire TV Stick
Viewing Pluto TV’s TV guide-style menu on a Fire TV Stick.

Pluto TV is available as an in-browser app, a mobile app on Android and iOS, and on most streaming devices and Smart TVs. No matter what device you have, there’s a good chance you can watch Pluto TV on it. The only caveat is one I mentioned earlier: Certain Pluto TV features, such as favorites and watch lists, only work on select devices. iOS, Roku, and Apple TV users definitely get the best of Pluto TV. I was generally impressed with Pluto TV’s platform support, but I would have liked to have seen them extend support for all of their features on other platforms, especially the extremely popular Fire TV platform.

Using Pluto TV on iOS
Using Pluto TV on iOS

Pluto TV Value

Free is a hard price to beat. When it comes to value, Pluto TV is starting from a pretty good place. I had my issues with Pluto TV, but there were also things I loved, and getting those things for free made for a pretty good value.

Unlike several other free streaming services, Pluto TV does not offer a paid option. If you are okay with ads, and you like the content that Pluto TV has to offer, the price is right. If you’d rather pony up some cash and cut out the ads, though, you’re out of luck.

Pluto TV Review: My Verdict

I love a good freebie, so I really wanted to like Pluto TV. And, in many ways, I did! The quality of the content was a pleasant surprise, and I liked the mix of live and on-demand content.

But “free” isn’t a magic word. Pluto TV may be free, but any time you spend watching this service is time you aren’t spending watching something else. And free services only save you money if they’re replacing paid alternatives — something that I don’t think many free options are good enough to do.

The things I didn’t like about Pluto TV — the video quality, the age of the on-demand content, and the missing features of the app — keep me from calling it an A+ streaming service. Given its price tag (or lack thereof), Pluto TV is probably worth adding to your list as a supplement to your main streaming services. However, it’s definitely not ready to stand on its own.

106 thoughts on “Pluto TV Review

  1. mark d geary says:

    Can’t beat Pluto TV’s price cause it’s free- Just one complaint, you’ll be watching a movie and the same scene keeps repeating. What’s up with that?

    1. Tony L says:

      That’s called poor quality, Mark, but don’t complain. At least you are able to watch movies on it. I’m not able to do that!
      Just TV! Like New York…It’s oversold bandwidth (their low speeds) I’m guessing as an electronics technician.

  2. Pamela Rice says:

    My family was watching Pluto everyday until my sons and daughters were starting to talk racist about Asians and other races and they were going to join some boogaloo and race war and saying some very disgruntling things about the pandemic being fake and they don’t need to wear a mask and other things. I asked where they were getting these ideas and they showed me these new news channels on Pluto. OMG. Immediately I removed Pluto from our home.

  3. KB says:

    Another Liberal Media outlet. Every time a watch it they continue negative ads for President Trump…lies! Go figure..the parent company is CBS!!!!

    1. Joe smith says:

      News channel calling the pandemic fake and not to wear masks would be a conservative channel. And if I found one that played true ads about a lying, loser criminal ex president I would watch it continuously.

  4. Michelle Acosta says:

    I really like Pluto TV. I watch it very often. I like watching the movies of the 80s and 90s. I also like watching the conservative news and opinion channels.

  5. Dave says:

    where did RT America go?

  6. David Mangold says:

    worst app i ever had goes out all the time your wacthing something and in 35-40 mins it drops out im deleting it and finding something better even if i have to pay for it

  7. grant says:

    Due to the ridiculously excessive and obtrusive ad situation, I can take Pluto TV only in small doses. I’ve tried binge watching old sitcoms on Pluto (or even just one good documentary) but I can’t make it through more than a couple of episodes before I have to give up in frustration.

    I can understand having to put up with ads, it IS a “free” service after all, but the ads are so frequent, they’re the same few ads over and over, and the ads aren’t in the places in the programs that were designed for ad breaks (for example, at the end of a scene). Nope, they come right in the middle of a scene, sometimes in the middle of a sentence, or right before the punch line. Then it goes back to the show, a few seconds later is the end of the scene, a new scene begins, and 2 minutes later in the middle that scene, bam, the same ads all over again. Sometimes after the ads it drops you back exactly where it took you away from the show, sometimes not.

    And no, you can’t skip forward past the ads. My only defense against the psychological warfare of having the same loud ads blasted at me over and over again every few minutes is to quickly hit the mute button and ride it out, but after an episode or two it just gets to be not worth the aggravation.

    It’s one of the rare instances where “free” may be too high a price to pay.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I agree completely! I timed it. A scant 4 minutes of a show to 3-4 minutes of commercials. PLUS: for series shows like Amazing Race and Hell’s Kitchen, there is no way you can ever watch the whole series without binge watching it for HOURS!! Very disappointed. I understand that it is free and that they have to pay for the shows they are airing. I’m fine with having to watch commercials vs paying a monthly fee, but it is excessive to have equal show to commercials ratio!

  9. Kathleen says:


  10. PlutoSUX says:

    Pluto freezes up or the audio fails to match the video (out of sync). It is a very unreliable streaming service. FYI – I have no problems with my 500MB up/down FiOS Internet service.

    Nice touch in the review…putting a politically-biased message in the Platforms section using an MSNBC screenshot.

  11. GM Casey says:

    To the powers that be,
    Promoting F/MF/N-bombers like Adam Carolla, & T-Pain to name a couple is to aid & abet vulgarity under the guise of being socially acceptable. Please rethink what you teach children & the large contingency of us who don’t talk that way

  12. JJ says:

    Pluto overplays really awful doctor whos. The TOM BAKER ones are great! PLUTO! CHANGE THE DOCTOR WHO PROGRAM LINE UP FOR MORE TOM BAKER. A few of the first doctor series are okay.

    BAD STORYLINES, ACTING, PRODUCTION FOR THESE >>> The Jon Pertwee series are way too much overplayed and they really SUCK SUCK SUCK. Just air ONE Pertwee —please!! That guy is the worse doctor who ever. Why even play that crap.
    COLIN BAKER? BLOWS! and SYLVESTER McCOY series are written super bad. NOBODY WATCHES THEM.

  13. Betsy says:

    Pluto is great for what it is. Generally our ‘go to’ channel! However, the commercials are set on a different volume setting. We can be watching something, goes to commercial & literally blasts out! What is up with that? My husband usually has the remote, commercial comes on, he turns it down, gets up & consequently the show comes back on but too low. That, I realize is a personal issue, but PLEASE, turn it down on the commercials!

  14. Nick Mumbach says:

    Pluto TV is frequently annoying when it advertises channels that are not freely available. I was watching channel 150 (STNG) and saw adds for channel 110 (Star Trek of all kinds). When I try to go to channel 110, it is not available. Pluto’s channel navigation options are awful. Frequently, you can’t get anywhere without visually scanning thru the channel list, with no clue what section to look in. Seems to have more ads than broadcast TV.

    1. Liv says:

      Been watching & enjoying Pluto Tv for some years now! I never really payed any attention to the title of the up coming shows. Until I start watching shows that I’ve seen already. I happen to notice the title are all WRONG. It’s pretty annoying that after the show starts not even 30 sec in there’s a commercial ugh! Please fix the title @pluto-tv for the gunsmoke channel 527 your titles are not right for the show that’s air’s.

  15. End User says:

    The company that produces the content and ads doesn’t understand audio normalization. Overall the quality is rather poor.

    Yes, they are still having issues with playback overlapping, especially on longer pieces.

    There are too many ads, and the repetition frequency is too often. If you are an advertiser don’t go with Pluto, because every customer will hate your product and brand. I know I would never spend a penny on any of these scam-like ads. Also, never ask your doctor about any drug you see an ad for. Ads are basically commercial cancer. The only good ads are PSAs or information on other channels offered by Pluto.

    I would like to say that I enjoy Pluto, but the low quality content (editing, delays), plus excessive ads, make it only borderline tolerable.

    Have enjoyed many of the programming channels, movie channels, on-demand movies. Thanks for Doctor Who, but I miss the 007 channel. Wish we could get Al Jazeera as a news channel, but that’s also free (and ad-free) and has it’s own app. Most of the conservative news channels are replays from several days earlier. I can’t determine if Newsy offers more ads here or on their own channel. I can’t stand looking at coffee sellout people on Bloomberg. Skynews is an absolute gem! Also checkout the railroad channel.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Been using pluto for a couple years and dont have the problems these people are having. Most of the time bad reviews are brought on by a bad user, whether it is generally speaking software or hardware issues.

  17. Nacho says:

    A “Pause Video” button is sorely missing on web browser and Roku support, at least! That, and that is automatically starts playing a video when you start is ap are my main complaints.

  18. says:

    The main problems I have with Pluto TV are number one you have to have a Facebook account in order to give feedback, many of the movies have severe audio problems such as the movie that I just watched almost famous and lastly their commercials are so ridiculous especially how they constantly repeat the same stupid commercial over and over for things that I would never even consider buying

  19. Anonymous says:

    The On Demand is terrible. It doesn’t save my place, so when I came back to finish a movie I was 2hrs into (had an hour left), I had to fast forward through every commercial break (~10 of them) to get back to that spot. Then with 10 minutes to go, my Internet cut out and it booted me out of Pluto. I’m not going to spend another half an hour fast forwarding between commercials to finish this movie. What a waste of time.

  20. TS says:

    same commercials over and over again, this sucks!

  21. Jay says:

    Watching Pluto for a long time & thought it was great until recently. We’ve been watching Newsmax on Pluto for some time now, we more-so lately we have been noticing that whenever Newsmax is in the middle of an interview with someone exposing evidence of extreme liberal nonsense – the channel will suddenly cut out and go to the Pluto color screen. It cuts out the content that seems to oppose extreme liberal content. When we watch Newsmax on Plex, this doesn’t happen. This recently seems to happen more often than a person would think as coincidence. If you’re watching Newsmax on Pluto, pay attention and see if I’m wrong and that this isn’t actually happening? Are they doing this on purpose to censor conservative content?

  22. Cherlyn says:

    As a fan of older tv shows, particularly Classic TV, I was initially very excited about see all the channels being added….BUT…..
    It’s the same episodes repeated over and over. Would also be nice to be able to avoid having channels I know I won’t ever watch be visible on the guide. Seriously thinking about switching to another viewing service.

    1. Stephen Lovely says:

      I agree, Cherlyn. I like Pluto TV, but (like a lot of free services), I don’t think it’s good enough on its own to replace cable. I think it’s a good app to have… but if it’s the ONLY app you have, it’ll get old fast!

  23. joe camel says:

    I get it. it’s free tv but way too man commercial, 3-5 min after a show starts time for a break, watch a movie concert in the middle of a song got to break away for a commercial, didn’t sell enough ads just repeat the same one over and over again, I mean that stupid ATT one. I stop watching Pluto just way to many and poorly timed even on one tv show with pre timed breaks doesn’t matter just cut away in the middle of a scene got to take a commercial break, free tv shouldn’t be this awful, no wonder they claimed they made a billion last quarter on this program, all those awful commercial break, dead break watching vevo music, way to many freeze, play back of the same scene, just a poorly run program from CBS-Paramount
    But I guess all TV has too many commercials tried watching the evening new come back from a break play one news story for a min then right back to a commercial break.

    1. Just liv says:

      I agree with you about the commercial breaks. Show just starts and then comes a break. Yeah the ads are really annoying but hey you cant beat that when it’s free right 😂

  24. Anonymous says:

    Love being able to watch my favorite show on Pluto Tv. But I did recongize that the titles are wrong for the show that are playing. I think if your looking to change anything it should be that. Thx for the great shows unlimited!

  25. Tony says:

    Wow, you all are really programmed. You know, tv used to be free all the time. If I see those damn Covid 19 commercials over and over again…..

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