Pluto TV Review

The price is right, but is the free streaming app Pluto TV worth trying out? Our expert review reveals all.

Price: Free
Features: 100s of live channels, 9,000+ on-demand movies and shows

Is Pluto TV good?

Pluto TV is a free, ad-supported streaming service that’s a hybrid of live and on-demand TV. It features hundreds of channels streaming movies, TV series, music, kids’ shows, news, sports, Spanish-language programming, and more 24/7.

On-demand content is also available, but Pluto TV’s draw is its “set it and forget it” ease of use when you don’t feel like choosing something to watch from your other dozen streaming services. Just pick a channel and let it loop—instant background noise (with ads, of course).

Pluto TV pros and cons

Pros

  • Large content variety
  • On-demand functionality

Cons

  • Un-skippable ads
  • Few customization options

Pluto TV free trials and deals

Pluto TV is completely free. If a deal comes up where it pays you to watch, we’ll let you know.

Plans and prices

Service Price Channels Video Multiple streams Details
Pluto TV Free 250+ 720p Unlimited View Plan

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

That’s a lot of channels (and on-demand movies and shows) for the low, low cost of nothing. But if you have little to no tolerance for commercials, Pluto TV might not be for you, even for free.

Pluto TV channels

Pluto TV does stream some actual live, happening-right-now TV in its News and Sports sections, but most of its channels are 24/7 loops of content that can’t be paused or rewound. If you drop in halfway through a movie, you’ll either have to look it up in the on-demand section or wait for it to come around again (which it will).

Since it’s owned by ViacomCBS, much of Pluto TV’s content comes from CBS, Paramount, Comedy Central, MTV, and other company networks and studios. There’s also a SHOWTIME channel that runs blocks of its older shows and the occasional first episode of a newer series, like Yellowjackets or Dexter: New Blood.

Pluto TV’s channels are arranged under 16 sections: Featured, Movies, Entertainment, News + Opinion, Reality, Crime, Comedy, Classic TV, Home + DIY, Explore, Sports, Gaming + Anime, Music, En Español, Kids, and Local (CBS News stations from select cities). More on some of these sections below.

You can create a Favorites section at the top of the list by clicking the heart icons on your preferred channels. If you only like a handful of Pluto TV’s channels, this can save you a lot of scrolling.

Pluto TV’s channels are also numbered, though we’re not sure why. Maybe it’s trying to replicate that classic cable TV experience, who knows?

Pluto TV channel sections (partial list)

Movies

  • Action
  • Comedy
  • Romance
  • Crime Movies
  • Horror
  • Black Cinema
  • Documentaries
  • ’90s Throwback
  • ’80s Rewind
  • + 14 more

Entertainment

  • Paramount+ Picks
  • SHOWTIME Selects
  • TV Land Drama
  • Stories by AMC
  • Baywatch
  • Soaps
  • Courtroom
  • CMT
  • MTV
  • + 28 more

Reality

  • Jersey Shore
  • Rescue 911
  • Love & Hip-Hop
  • Black Ink Crew
  • Inkmaster
  • Bar Rescue
  • Survivor
  • The Amazing Race
  • Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders
  • + 17 more

Comedy

  • Funny AF
  • TV Land Sitcoms
  • Wings
  • Slightly Off IFC
  • Comedy Central
  • Comedy Central Animation
  • Standup TV
  • MST3K
  • RiffTrax
  • + 8 more

Classic TV

  • Family Ties
  • Happy Days
  • Three’s Company
  • The Love Boat
  • Johnny Carson TV
  • Matlock
  • Mission: Impossible
  • Shout! Factory TV
  • Classic Toons
  • + 13 more

Sports

  • CBS Sports HQ
  • FOX Sports
  • NFL Channel
  • MLB
  • Major League Soccer
  • PGA Tour
  • Fight
  • Bellator MMA
  • Impact Wrestling
  • + 12 more

News + Opinion

  • Pluto TV News
  • CBS News
  • CNN
  • Bloomberg Television
  • NBC News Now
  • Cheddar News
  • Yahoo! Finance
  • Weather Nation
  • TYT Network
  • + 12 more

Home + DIY

  • Food TV
  • Iron Chef
  • Home
  • Tiny House Nation
  • Antiques Roadshow
  • Cats 24/7
  • Dogs 24/7
  • Weddings
  • This Old House
  • + 13 more

Pluto TV specs and features

Pluto TV has about as many bells and whistles as a spork—it’s super basic but functional. Besides the Favorites section option, its most useful feature would be the PIN-protected Kids Mode, which blocks the li’l ones’ access to adult content (there’s many an R-rated flick in the channels and on-demand sections, FYI). Adjustable closed-captioning is also available.

On-demand movies and shows

Service Movies and TV shows Offline downloads
Pluto TV 9,000+ N/A

Pluto TV is known best for its live channels, but its on-demand selection shouldn’t be overlooked. There are over 9,000 movies and TV shows available in Pluto TV’s on-demand section, including full seasons of current CBS series like Ghosts and The Equalizer (love that corporate synergy).

Multiple streams

Service Simultaneous streams
Pluto TV Unlimited

Since Pluto TV is free, it doesn’t have that petty hang-up about how many viewers can watch simultaneously. Unlimited streams for the win.

Compatible devices

Device Pluto TV
Amazon Fire Cube, Stick, TV
Android phones, tablets
Android TV
Apple TV (4th gen.)
Apple TV 4K
Chromecast, Chromecast with Google TV
Facebook Portal
Echo Show
iPhone, iPad
LG TVs (select models)
Nintendo Switch
NVIDIA SHIELD Pro TV
PC, Mac web browsers
PlayStation 4, 5
Roku Ultra, Express, Premiere, Stick, TV
Samsung TVs (select models)
TiVo Stream
Vizio TVs (select models)
Wii
Xbox One
Xfinity Flex, X1

Data effective as of post date.

Unless your streaming device is a Nintendo or NVIDIA Shield, you’ll be able to watch Pluto TV easily. It’s also worth noting that Pluto TV’s interface is nearly identical on web browsers, mobile apps, and streaming devices—consistency sticklers rejoice.

Video and audio quality

Pluto TV’s live channels stream at 720p, which is average for live TV streaming services. The on-demand content also streams at 720p, though it tends to appear a bit sharper than the live channels.

Pluto TV home screen (desktop)

Pluto TV’s audio output is standard 2.0 stereo—no Dolby surround-sound options here. Still, Pluto TV’s 18 music channels crank out more than adequate vibes for a bangin’ dance party (we’re partial to the Yo! MTV hip-hop channel, ourselves).

Pluto TV on-demand menu

Final take: Is Pluto TV worth it?

You can’t beat a $0 price tag, and Pluto TV gives you plenty of decent content for nada. Casual TV watchers could probably get by with this app alone (though we’d recommend also getting an antenna).

For everyone else (those of us who live by our TV, that is), Pluto TV is not going to replace your paid cable, satellite, or streaming TV services. Those who are commercial-averse will also dislike Pluto TV’s unavoidable ad load. There’s no downside to trying it out, though—you might even find it to be your go-to background-noise companion when you just can’t decide what to stream next.

Get Pluto TV

Methodology

Our TV experts spent hundreds of hours watching Pluto TV, rating the service on content, value, and reliability. Then we matched it up against other on-demand streaming TV services head to head to give a clearer picture of its strengths and weaknesses. For more information on our methodology, check out our How We Rank page.

FAQ

Is Pluto TV free?

There’s no monthly subscription fee or any cost at all with Pluto TV—it’s completely free (but comes with ads, as with most free services).

What live channels are on Pluto TV?

Pluto TV features over 250 live channels, which are made of 24/7 looping content with little actual “live” programming. The channels are arranged under these sections: Featured, Movies, Entertainment, News + Opinion, Reality, Crime, Comedy, Classic TV, Home + DIY, Explore, Sports, Gaming + Anime, Music, En Español, Kids, and Local (CBS News stations from select cities).

Is the Pluto TV app compatible with all devices?

The Pluto TV app can be used on most streaming devices, web browsers, and mobile devices. The Pluto TV app isn’t compatible with Nintendo or NVIDIA Shield gaming devices.

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