Pluto TV: What It Is and How to Watch It

Discover free live TV streaming

Pluto TV is a free streaming service. So while the number of streaming services keeps growing and most require a subscription or pay-per-view fee, Pluto TV won't add a cost to your monthly bills.

What Is Pluto TV

Pluto TV combines an assortment of live streaming channels (some of which are in-house and others are third-party) and on-demand movies and TV shows from its extensive library.

Pluto TV plays occasional ads to pay for these shows and movies. The ads are usually at the beginning of the show or movie and might be inserted during the content.

Who Owns Pluto TV

Pluto TV was started in 2013 and, as of March 2019, is owned by Viacom. In addition to tapping into Viacom's library, Pluto TV offers content from MGM, Columbia TriStar, DHX Media, Nelvana, Fremantle, Monstercat, King Features Syndicate, and more.

Where You Can Find Pluto TV

Pluto TV is available for:

  • Smart TVs from Sony, Samsung, Vizio, Roku TV, Fire Edition TV, and more.
  • Media streamers from Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV (4th Generation), and Chromecast (and TVs with Chromecast built-in).
  • PCs and Macs.
  • Sony Playstation 4 (not available for Xbox One).
  • Comcast Cable Infinity X1.
  • Android and iOS smartphones.

On Vizio TVs, Pluto TV is referred to as WatchFree and installed as an input content source. You don't need to download and install an app. Updates are made automatically.

Vizio WatchFree Channel Guide

Vizio

Pluto TV isn't available for LG TVs. LG TVs incorporate a feature called LG Channels or LG Channel Plus, which is licensed from XUMO.

LG Channels – Onscreen Interface Example

Getting Started With Pluto TV

If your TV or media streaming device is on Pluto TV's compatibility list, check if the Pluto TV app is pre-installed. If not, find it on your device's app store. Then, download and install it according to the device's instructions.

These are some examples of how to add apps to several types of devices:

How Pluto TV Works

To watch anything on Pluto TV, launch the app (no sign-in is required), find a live channel or on-demand movie or TV show, and select it to view.

Watch Live Channels

The live channels are linear. This means these channels run in real time. If you want to watch the entire show, look at the listings ahead of time so you can find out when a show starts, just as you would with antenna or cable TV.

Pluto TV – Live TV Listing Page

If the Pluto TV app is installed on your TV and the TV receives broadcast channels via antenna, the broadcast channels are incorporated into the Pluto TV Live TV listings under the Over-the-Air subcategory.

Pluto TV – Over-The-Air TV Listing

Watch On-Demand Movies and TV Shows

If you are looking for an on-demand movie or TV show, go to the Free Movies & TV Shows category and select the title you want to watch. The movie or TV show starts at the beginning. If you don't like your selection, stop it and choose something else.

Pluto TV – Free Movies and TV Page

For a buffer-free viewing experience, Pluto TV suggests an internet speed between 6 and 10 Mbps. However, for a 4K channel, you may need as much as 25 Mbps.

The Pluto TV Activation Option

Pluto TV offers an option that provides some added flexibility to complement your viewing experience, referred to as Activation.

Here are the steps:

  1. Select the Activate icon on the Pluto TV app homepage of your TV or another compatible device. At the top of the homepage, a banner appears with a link to the Pluto TV activate page and a Use Code.

    Pluto TV – Activate Prompt on TV Screen
  2. On your smartphone or PC, go to https://pluto.tv/activate. Enter the Use Code for your device.

    Pluto TV – Activate Code Entry Using Web Browser on PC

After entering the provided Use Code, the activation provides access to two additional features:

  • You can use the Pluto TV app on your smartphone to navigate Pluto TV on your device.
  • You can edit the Pluto TV channel line-up and hide channels you don't watch on the home page channel list.

Use the editing feature to unhide previously hidden channels if you want to view those channels. 

My Pluto TV – Hide/Unhide Channels Screen

The Pluto TV Mobile App

To further support its streaming service, Pluto offers a smartphone app. To use the Pluto TV features on your smartphone, download and install the mobile app and follow the onscreen prompts.

Pluto TV Smartphone App – Sign-Up

Once installed, you can view live TV and on-demand movies and shows on your mobile device.

In addition, a third feature labeled My Pluto allows you to:

  • Activate Pluto on multiple devices.
  • Edit your channel list.
  • Use the app as a Pluto TV remote control on activated devices.
  • Check and edit your Pluto TV settings, such as changing your password and contacting support.
Pluto TV Smartphone App – Live TV, Movies and TV, My Pluto TV

The Channels Pluto TV Offers

Pluto TV offers about 200 live TV channels (news ones are added periodically).

The exact number of channels and content titles may vary by device or location, depending on content streaming rights.

Although the main viewing categories are Live TV and Free Movies & TV Shows, subcategories make it easier to navigate.

In the Live TV category, the channels are grouped in:

  • Movies
  • News
  • Sports
  • Comedy 
  • Geek and Gaming 
  • Entertainment
  • Life+Style
  • Curiosity
  • Music and Radio: A selection of free online music and radio stations, mostly in partnership with Dash Radio.

Check out an official list of Pluto TV channels.

In the On-Demand TV Shows & Movies category, some options are (these are similar to the categories you might find on Netflix):

  • Most Popular Movies
  • Top TV Series
  • New Movies This Month
  • Recently Added Series
  • Last Chance to Watch
  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama, Thrillers, Sci-Fi, and more.

There is also a Trending category on the web browser version, which is like the video stories found on YouTube.

The Bottom Line

Cord-cutting opens a wide world of content viewing options on your TV. Many people gravitate toward paid streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Vudu.

However, if you want an option that provides a large selection of movies and TV shows, with some live TV channels thrown-in, and don't mind some occasional ads, Pluto TV may be the option for you.

After all, it doesn't cost anything to check it out.

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