Pluto TV logo.
Pluto TV

The streaming TV space is very crowded these days. All the big-name companies have their own services, plus there are dozens of lesser-known options. “Pluto TV” sits somewhere in the middle and it has a lot to like.

At the core, Pluto TV is simply a streaming TV service similar to Sling TV, YouTube TV, and others. You drop into channels and watch whatever’s on at that time. However, there are a few key differences—price being a big one—compared to Pluto TV. Let’s take a look at what makes this service special.

RELATED: Why Do Streaming TV Services Keep Getting More Expensive?

Who Owns Pluto TV?

Old Pluto TV logo.
Old Pluto TV logo.

Pluto TV launched as only a website in March 2014 with around 100 curated channels. These channels were made from user-created platforms like YouTube and partnerships with original content producers such as Funny or Die and RocketJump.

The service has continued to expand with more content agreements. Pluto TV has moved from being only available on the web to having apps on major TV platforms, including Apple TV, Fire TVGoogle TV, and Roku.

In October 2017, Pluto TV reached 15 million users. Two years later, Pluto TV was acquired by Viacom for $340 million. Viacom would eventually recombine with CBS to become ViacomCBS. As of May 2022, Pluto TV is under the Paramount Streaming umbrella.

Is Pluto TV Free?

Yes. Perhaps the best thing about Pluto TV is it is 100% free. You don’t even need to create a user account—though you can for extra features. Like many traditional TV networks, Pluto TV is supported by advertisements. You have to sit through commercials.

That’s really the only “catch” to Pluto TV. People who have gotten accustomed to not seeing ads while streaming may not like it. If you’re familiar with the typical linear TV format of ads mixed into the content, Pluto TV is a great deal.

Pluto TV Channels

Pluto TV is free, but does it have anything you might want to watch? As of May 2022, Pluto TV has over 250 “live” channels. We put “live” in quotes because many of the channels are not live in the traditional sense of the word.

A typical channel on Pluto TV is not streaming live real-time programming. It’s a linear stream of videos playing one after another. You don’t get to decide what to watch on-demand. Think of it like a traditional cable TV channel or a radio station.

Channels are organized into sections such as Featured, Entertainment, Movies, Sports, Comedy, Kids, Classic TV, and more. The full channel lineup can be seen in the graphic below (click here for the full size).

Pluto TV channels.

Beyond the “live” TV channels, Pluto TV does offer a selection of “1,000s” of on-demand movies and TV shows as well. So if there’s nothing on that grabs your attention, you can try to find something else.

How to Watch Pluto TV

Pluto TV guide.
Pluto TV

Another great thing about Pluto TV is how easy it is to watch. First and foremost, you don’t need to create an account or enter payment information. You can create an account for some extra features—like favoriting channels—but it’s not required.

Pluto TV is available to watch on just about any platform you could want:

Simply download the app on your desired platform and you’re ready to watch. The interface is a pretty typical guide like you’d find on cable or other streaming TV services.

That’s the story behind Pluto TV. It’s a completely free TV service that serves up content from around the web in a familiar interface. If you miss the simplicity of linear TV and don’t want to bother with antennas, Pluto TV is a great service to have around.

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Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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