What is Pluto TV and is it really free?

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Pluto TV

The TV streaming 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” falls somewhere in the middle and has a lot to like.

At its core, Pluto TV is simply a streaming TV service similar to Sling TV, YouTube TV, and others. You enter the channels and see what’s on at that moment. However, there are some key differences (price is big) compared to Pluto TV. Let’s take a look at what makes this service special.

RELATED: Why are streaming TV services still more expensive?

Who is the owner of Pluto TV?

Former Pluto TV logo.
Former Pluto TV logo.

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

The service has continued to expand with more content deals. Pluto TV has gone from being available only on the web to having apps on all major TV platforms including Apple TV, Fire TV, Google 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 combine with CBS to become ViacomCBS. As of May 2022, Pluto TV is under the umbrella of Paramount Streaming.

Is Pluto TV free?

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

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

Pluto television channels

Pluto TV is free, but does it have something you 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 does not broadcast live programming in real time. It is a linear stream of videos that play one after another. You can’t decide what to watch on demand. Think of it like a traditional cable TV channel or radio station.

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

Pluto TV Channels.

Beyond “live” TV channels, Pluto TV also offers a selection of “thousands” of on-demand movies and TV shows. So if there is nothing that catches your eye, 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 of all, you do not need to create an account or enter payment information. You can create an account for some additional features, such as favorite channels, but it is not required.

Pluto TV is available to watch on almost any platform you 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 is a completely free TV service that offers content from all over 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.