What Went Right With… Pluto TV?

A review of Pluto TV

When people speak about “chord cutting” they’re not fully committed to their money-saving endeavour. Lots of people set out to cancel their high-priced satellite or cable subscriptions, but they then migrate to paid streaming services, sometimes several of them, and the end result of moving from one to the other is the perception of saving money, but if you tot-up the amount spent on Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+ (and any other) you’ll realise that you’re in the same financial position as when you were with Sky or Virgin.

A genuine chord cutter will want a TV service that encompasses all genres; movies, sitcoms, reality TV, kid’s shows, sports, but most importantly, it has to be free. In these uncertain times of furloughs and job losses, people need to save as much cash as they can, and the first obvious way to trim your monthly outgoings, aside from shopping at a cheaper supermarket, is getting rid of the hefty cable or satellite bill. This is where Pluto TV comes in; it’s a great way of keeping the family entertained… for zilch.

Being free, Pluto TV’s channels of course, aren’t going to compete with the likes of Sky. You won’t get the latest movies for example, but for forgotten classics, Pluto TV is great. In a similar way to Sky Cinema’s genre-based channels, Pluto also has genre-specific offerings: Pluto TV Action, The Asylum, Pluto TV Retro Movies, Pluto TV Thrillers, Pluto TV Romance, Pluto TV Westerns, Pluto TV Indies. Whilst writing this, I had Capricorn One followed by The Philadelphia Experiment on in the background (on the Pluto TV Sci-Fi channel). Later I watched a horror-alliteration trilogy House On Haunted Hill, House That Dripped Of Blood, and Halloween on Pluto TV Retro Movies.

Away from film, there’s Pluto TV Documentaries and Pluto TV Biography which were showing documentaries about Alfred Hitchcock and Clint Eastwood whilst I was flicking through. There’s also various crime and mystery channels, drama channels, and dedicated channels devoted to single shows such as 21 Jump Street, The Beverly Hillbillies, Andromeda, The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes, and Inspector Gadget.

In addition to this, there’s the self-explanatory PlutoTV Stand-up, Pluto TV Retro Toons, a few food channels (one dedicated to Hell’s Kitchen), channels for weddings, Nosey showing chat-shows such as The Maury Show, and the strangely non-news Cheddar News. There’s also a Homes Under The Hammer channel for all property-philes out there and Fifth Gear for car-nonces, as well as kick-boxing, strongman, and fishing channels.

Aside from live-TV, there’s also an on-demand section, in which there’s currently films like Stir Of Echoes, Ninth Gate, Tales From The Crypt, and Cold In July available to download (all classics in my opinion). Like every other streaming service, if you watch Pluto TV day-in, day-out, you’ll see some repeats and a stagnant selection, but remember it’s free.

The PlutoTV app has recently been updated (I personally miss the eyeball branding) but it’s still straight-forward to use. Speaking of ease of use, there is a programme guide of sorts, although it’s essentially a now-and-next rather than a 24-hour or 7-day planner. I have seen screenshots online of a more complex EPG so I assume the device you’re using or country you’re in dictates the level of detail.

I watch Pluto TV on a Roku stick and a NowTV box, but other devices including Amazon FireTV and Apple TV are supported. Again, this varies by country; for instance the Playstation app isn’t available here in the UK but it is in the US. Aside from the limited programme guide and channels differing in each region, there’s a distinct lack of music video channels and news, but the latter is a bonus for me because I despise 24-hour news channels (aside from NHK World). The other minor issue is the quality; there’s no 4K, but what do you expect? There’s a decent amount of HD content however, and the older SD shows look pretty good too.

I’ve read that the United States has lots more channels (almost double what’s available in the UK) and that includes a Doctor Who and Nickelodeon channel. A channel that appeals to me but sadly isn’t available in the United Kingdom is the Yo! MTV Raps channel. That would be a brilliant addition for us golden era heads or anyone in a quest for 90s nostalgia. Speaking of nostalgia, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 and RiffTrax channels are available to us Brits, and they’re invaluable, especially since Netflix and Amazon Prime Video seem to constantly change which episodes they’re licensed to stream.

There’s over a hundred channels on Pluto TV in the UK, and aside from a few adverts between the shows, there’s no subscription charge or the need to login with an account. In Britain, if you use either Freeview and Freesat (the two genuinely free options) Pluto TV is a great free accompaniment to the likes of BBC, ITV, and Channel 4. If you’re without an aerial or satellite dish, each of these channels have their respective catch-up apps which is great if you want to watch mainstream soaps and reality shows, but for anything else, Pluto TV is your best option. If you’re already paying zero (aside from the mandatory TV licence) instead of forking-out for various streaming services or subscribing to satellite or cable providers, Pluto TV is a genuine and cheaper alternative. Download it now, cut the chord, and start saving.

Navigate To Pluto.

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