How To Use Pluto TV Effectively

The newest darling of cord-cutters on a budget is the streaming service Pluto TV. This service is geared towards people who want the traditional feeling of watching live TV and caters its offering accordingly. For many, the biggest perk of using Pluto is that it’s completely free. As a free service, Pluto has tried to focus on a broad range of viewing options to make up for the lack of fresh content, which can make it a bit daunting for new users.

Pluto definitely has something for everyone, and in this article, you will learn how to hit the ground running with this streaming service.

Adjust Your Expectations

First and foremost, remember that this is a free service. Free really means free in this case, so you don’t need a credit card or even an account. As soon as you load the channel up on your device, you can start watching, no strings attached.

The programming is ad-supported, and those ads are on a timer, so they may interrupt your viewing sporadically. That’s unlike cable programming, where ad breaks are scheduled to be less intrusive. There isn’t currently a premium option to remove ads, so that’s something you should keep in mind.

The content on Pluto TV is not very current. It makes more sense to go for quantity in this regard rather than invest heavily in a small amount of newly released content. If you’re looking for the latest season of your favorite show, chances are you won’t find it on Pluto. This isn’t to say that the content won’t rotate, as there are movies and shows uploaded daily as well as curated web content.

Pluto TV markets itself as something akin to live TV. Keep this in mind, as you might find yourself having to channel surf for a while before you land on something you’re interested in.


Where to Start

The best way to dive into Pluto TV’s offering is to start on channel one. This is Pluto’s channel guide, and it works much like any other TV guide. You’ll find over 100 channels of live content which can be overwhelming, but most of the channels are genre based. Also, the programming on their live channels only shows what’s airing in the next few hours, so you can’t really plan too far ahead.

For live news, you’ll find some familiar names such as Sky News, Bloomberg, and CBSN. You can also find the latest web content from channels like CNN in short-form clips. Sports aficionados will be disappointed to learn that ESPN is not featured on Pluto. However, there are many other less conventional outlets for sports coverage.

There are also a lot of super-niche channels, such as Wipeout, which only plays reruns of the titular show, or Stand-Up, a channel that plays standup comedy exclusively. So the best way to approach the live channels is to have an idea of the type of programming you’re looking for first.

Besides the live channels, Pluto also has a very respectable library of on-demand content as well. Their offering is quite decent, if a bit dated. Acquired in 2019 by Viacom, Pluto TV has access to its wide range of shows and networks and these are constantly growing. You’ll find many blockbuster hits that may not even be available on subscription-based services.

Where to Watch

Pluto has grown tremendously since it started, and these days, you can watch it on just about any streaming platform. Any web browser will also give you access to Pluto TV, so you can watch Pluto on the device you’re using to read this article.

Any Android or iOS-powered device supports Pluto TV and you can find the app in their respective store. Your Apple TV, Roku, or even your PlayStation 4 all support the service, so you won’t have to work too hard to start watching. In fact, if you own a VIZIO SmartCast television, you’ve already got Pluto, since VIZIO’s WatchFree service is essentially Pluto TV repackaged for their devices.

There’s an option that is being tested on certain devices to provide access to live local channels through Pluto. This only works on Roku TVs and takes advantage of a standard broadcast antenna. There are plans to expand this service, but it is currently quite restricted.


What the Future Holds

The rise of free streaming services is an undeniable reality. With their recent acquisition by Viacom, Pluto seems poised to become the tip of the spear of this burgeoning service model. Their dedication to remaining a free service may prove challenging, however. Viacom has announced that they have plans to use Pluto’s substantial user base to upsell their subscription services.

On the other side, Viacom has been holding back on licensing their media libraries to other streaming video providers which means a massive amount of content could be headed for Pluto TV. The bottom line, though, is that the market segment is growing. A lot of changes are in the works for Pluto and other free streaming services and they mostly seem to be positive.

Stream Like You Mean It

This brief overview of Pluto TV should help you get started if you decide to give it a try. Keep in mind that you’re dealing with a free service, so don’t be too upset if you’re bombarded with long ad breaks from time to time. With their curated channels, Pluto is great whether you’re in the mood for something specific or just want to relive the old days of channel surfing without a real goal in mind.

In addition to being free, Pluto is available on just about any streaming device out there, so there’s no excuse not to try it out.

Are you already a Pluto TV user? If so, how happy are you with the service and which channels do you watch the most? Share your thoughts and top picks in the comments below.

3 thoughts on “How To Use Pluto TV Effectively”

Avatar Nacho says:
I like/love Pluto TV, but it is infuriating to me that there is no “Pause” button, on their browser or Roku support, at least. There are times I have to pause. The only option I can find it to exit the application completely and re-enter it when my pausing-cause is done. It is also infuriating to me that it will start auto-playing w/o me clicking on a title to play.

Both of these limit my watching it.

Avatar Debbi Kramer says:
Love Pluto…. but when I find a series I don’t know how to find the next time it is on????
Please help
Avatar Jill says:
LOVE it. My fav channel is Stingray Ambiance (NatureTV) and, well…Pet Collective :)

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This Guide Last Updated: July 4, 2019

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