Pluto TV Review: Is it A Legit Way to Get Free Cable?
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When I compare what’s on the free streaming service to what we used to get with cable, there’s not a whole lot of difference, other than the cost.
In this Pluto TV review, I’ll cover the channels the platform offers and show just how easy it is to use.
What is Pluto TV?
There are lots of ads and commercials, but that’s how it keeps its content cost-free.
It’s popular too. More than 12 million people watch this platform, making it the largest free TV service in America. It’s second only to YouTube of the free channels on Roku.
It’s easy to download, install and use. Once you do, you’ll find hundreds of movies and just about as many live TV channels on Pluto TV. How does this app get its content? It scours the internet so you don’t have to, gathering shows and other content available online free.
Just the other night, I watched 30 minutes of pure surfing joy in my living room absolutely free.
One of the first things you’ll notice about this service is how well organized it is. It divides TV shows and movies into popular categories like Drama, Sports, Kids, and News.
You can customize the content to show just the channels you like, which is helpful since it has so many of them.
Some of the more well-known channels include the following.
- BBC, Big Sky Network, Bloomberg, CBSN
- CNBC, CNet, CNN, Crime Network, Docu TV
- Food TV, FOX Sports, Glory Kickboxing, IGN
- NASA Livestream, World Poker Tour, Science TV, Cats 24/7
Beyond what’s listed here, there are hundreds of TV channels. While many are ones you might not have heard of before, they all broadcast interesting content.
Some of the popular channels like CNN, aren’t the full live versions. Rather, you’ll find certain shows and segments aired instead. It’s not bad for being free.
There’s also dozens of music channels, which may allow you to axe your streaming music service and save even more money each month.
If you’re a fan of Duck Dynasty or Iron Chef you’ll be happy to know you can watch them free on this free cable alternative.
*Related: Love the NFL, but want to ditch cable? Check out our guide on the best options to watch NFL games live without cable.*
They’ve gone to a lot of trouble to curate a ton of videos, TV shows, and movies in all genres and then created an app that makes it very easy to watch live or on demand.
The content is both old and new. You won’t see the latest blockbusters, but scrolling through the movies the other night, I found many that I’ve seen and enjoyed including the following.
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind, When a Stranger Calls, and Golden Child
- The Italian Job and Donnie Darko
- Yentl and Jackie Chan: Kung Fu Master
There’s even a Christmas in July channel that Pluto TV runs during July with nothing but Christmas content. It’s like getting Hallmark Christmas Channel for free!
Does Pluto Offer Live TV?
Some channels offer live content. While Pluto TV doesn’t offer local channels you can get all your local networks easily with a digital antenna.
We bought a Mohu Leaf on Amazon and love it. It’s a great way to get our nightly newscast and favorite shows from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and PBS for free.
Pair that with Pluto TV and you’ll always have something to watch without having to pay a dime for it.
Platform and Streaming Quality
All you need to watch is a smart TV, smartphone, computer or tablet, and an internet connection to stream for free.
The streaming quality is excellent. When we tested Pluto TV, we experienced no interruptions, pixilation or outages. You just download the free app, install it, and start watching.
Pluto TV loads with a short, funny video explaining how to start watching content. We had to enter a six-digit code and then we were in. I downloaded the app to my smartphone and watched there too.
I could even use my smartphone as a remote to control channels on my TV.
There’s a good chance you already own something on which you can watch Pluto TV. Ways to stream include the following:
- Internet browser like Safari, Firefox, or Chrome on your computer
- Smartphone (both iPhone and Android have free Pluto TV apps)
- Apple TV
- Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
- PlayStation 4
- Smart TV (Samsung, Sony, Vizio, and more are supported)
We’ve watched on our smartphones, TVs, and laptops and had an excellent experience on all. The menu and guide are the same and the viewing experience is crystal clear.
It’s awesome that Pluto TV is free, but it’s just one of many cable alternatives. Similar apps make it easy to watch your favorite shows anywhere. Some offer more content for a very low monthly cost.
Hulu Live, Sling TV, and Philo TV are three of the best cable alternatives out there.
Hulu and Hulu with Live TV
The Hulu platform has a huge library of great content from networks as well as original shows like The Handmaid’s Tale. Hulu’s on-demand service costs just $5.99 per month.
If you’re looking for free cable, you won’t find it; if you want a cable-like experience for less than half the cost, try Hulu Live. (The average cable bill is $110 per month. Hulu Live is only $54.99.)
Hulu with Live TV is exactly what it sounds like – a vast collection of on-demand content plus live TV. We cover the Hulu Live channel list here and features in our review.
It’s extensive and filled with popular stations like ESPN, CNN, Disney Jr, and HGTV among others. Things to like about Hulu Live include:
- 60+ live TV channels
- Cloud DVR (so you can record live TV and watch later)
- Streaming on multiple devices at once
- Past seasons of hundreds of popular series
- Local channels
Try Hulu Live free for 7-days now. It’s a great risk-free way to explore the streaming service.
If you think you might want more than what you can get for free, Sling TV could be a great choice.
*Related: Love college football? Check out our guide on how to watch college football without cable to catch all the action without a pricey contract.*
For only $30 per month, you’ll enjoy live TV, local channels (in limited areas), and popular networks like ESPN, FOX Sports, Disney Channel, AMC, TBS, USA, and more.
Sling TV channel packages vary, but both include 30+ popular channels. One of the original streaming services, Sling TV is easy to use on a wide variety of devices (including all of those mentioned above for Hulu with Live TV).
Try Sling TV free for 3 days now and see what you think.
If sports aren’t your thing, but you’re tired of paying over $100 per month for cable, you might like Philo TV. At just $20 per month, there’s nothing out there quite like it.
In our review of the Philo TV channels list, we cover the benefits of the service, which include popular channels like the following:
- A&E, AMC, Hallmark Channel, HGTV
- History Channel, MTV, Nick, TLC
You receive 50+ channels for $20 per month! If you don’t want sports, this is a terrific platform to save significant money. Try Philo TV free for 7 days now!
Legal, free cable remains impossible. But, free streaming services like this one are making it harder for cable companies to make money. That’s because it offers many great TV shows and movies, absolutely free.
If you’ve been thinking about trying Pluto TV, give it, or one of the cable alternatives mentioned here, a shot. With no cost and no information to turn over besides your email address, you have nothing to lose.
How much do you pay for cable each month? What are some other free cable alternatives you’ve tried? What’s one thing that keeps you from cutting the cord?