10 Top-Rated Alternatives to Pluto TV for Free Streaming

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Written by

Jason Lin
Jason Lin

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Pluto Tv Alternatives

Watch endless channels and thousands of on-demand titles without paying a dime. We review the 10 best free streaming services similar to Pluto TV.

Pluto TV has skyrocketed in popularity thanks to its impressive catalog of free live TV channels and on-demand media. However, geo-restrictions and limited content libraries leave some users wanting more.

Fortunately, quite a few free streaming platforms can rival Pluto TV. After extensively testing over a dozen services, I selected my top 10 Pluto TV competitor apps based on channel variety, streaming quality, content libraries and overall user experience.

Our Evaluation Methodology

To make informed recommendations, I carefully tested each service using multiple devices under varied networking conditions to gauge performance. Key criteria included:

  • Channel Lineup: Number of live channels available across news, sports, movies and other categories.
  • On-Demand Library: Size of on-demand media collection and availability of full series/seasons.
  • Stream Quality: Consistency of video playback across devices without buffering or choppiness issues.
  • Interface: Ease of content discovery and navigation between live and on-demand sections.
  • Ad Load: Frequency of commercial interruptions during programming.
  • Device Support: Availability across popular media players and smart TV platforms.

I also researched the content licensing partnerships backing each platform as well as their corporate ownership and funding models. Services relying solely on advertising face greater risk of disruptions compared to those with more diversified revenue streams.

For sports coverage, check channels listings to verify what ESPN programming is on Pluto.

1. Tubi – Best Overall Alternative

Tubi

Tubi stands out as the best all-around free streaming app thanks to its massive on-demand catalog, solid live TV offering and wide device support.

The Fox-owned platform houses over 40,000 movies and TV series in a neatly organized, easy-to-use interface. Standout licensing deals provide full seasons of shows like 3rd Rock from the Sun and Hell’s Kitchen in addition to box office hits like Zodiac and I, Robot.

While Tubi’s 250+ live channels fall just short of Pluto TV’s roster, you still get news from Newsmax, Reuters and Cheddar as well as entertainment from the Asylum, Feel Good TV and TMZ. Expect some channel duplication between the two services however.

Fortunately, Tubi’s video quality remains consistently smooth with minimalAds. The service works great on Roku, Fire TV, Android, iOS and most newer smart TVs. And you can build a personalized watchlist after creating a free account.

2. The Roku Channel – Best for Original Content

The Roku Channel

As the name implies, The Roku Channel comes pre-installed on Roku streaming players and smart TVs. But you can also access the service via mobile apps and the web.

Compared to Tubi and Pluto TV, The Roku Channel places greater emphasis on original exclusives and curated content. Quibi castoffs like Dummy and Die Hart nicely complement licensed fare from the likes of Lionsgate, MGM and Sony Pictures.

Roughly 200 live channels also air through The Roku Channel, covering news, sports, movies and entertainment. Expect quite a bit of duplication though between The Roku Channel, Pluto and Tubi.

Navigation feels snappier here versus the competition while video quality remains consistently smooth. And the personalized home page enables quick access to your favorite movies, shows, saved watchlists and live channels based on viewing history.

3. Plex – Best DVR and Mobile Streaming

Plex Tv

Cord cutters interested in streaming free over-the-air broadcasts should also consider Plex. This guide comparing Pluto TV versus Plex looks at their live TV, DVR and on-demand capabilities to help inform your decision.

While Plex’s on-demand catalog falls far short of Tubi and Pluto TV, you still get full seasons of classic sitcoms and dramas via partnerships with MGM, Warner Bros and Lionsgate. Older cult movie favorites also abound.

Avail of 190+ free live channels spanning news, sports, movies, viral clips, music and more. Unique offerings like Classic Toons TV, FilmRise Classic TV and Tastemade complement staples like Reuters, Yahoo Finance and NBC News.

Plex really shines for screening content downloaded locally onto your media server. The unified interface seamlessly blends streaming with owned media – a big perk for power users with large personal libraries. Expect occasional ads when viewing Plex’s free on-demand programming.

4. Xumo – Huge On-Demand Catalog

Xumo

Xumo stands out in my testing as a clear Pluto TV competitor thanks to its broad smart TV availability and emphasis on digital video publishers. This side-by-side on Pluto TV versus Xumo explores their key differences.

Sports buffs can get their fix via Stadium, beIN Sports XTRA and the World Poker Tour. Movie fans will appreciate the Paramount Movie Channel, Filmrise and Drive-In Classics. But Xumo’s forte lies in bingeable series.

Xumo provides full season runs of iconic sitcoms like 3rd Rock from the Sun, Roseanne, That 70’s Show and Who’s The Boss. You’ll also find complete series sets of Unsolved Mysteries, Forensic Files, Hell’s Kitchen and lesser-known soaps like McLeod’s Daughters.

Available on Roku, Fire TV, smart TVs and iOS/Android devices, Xumo TV loads quickly with fairly seamless playback. Creating a free account unlocks advanced filters for improved content discovery.

5. Vudu – Top Movies on Demand

Vudu Home

Walmart-owned Vudu pioneered premium digital movie sales and rentals over a decade ago. But scroll down the homepage reveals a “Movies On Us” section with free ad-supported films.

You can watch box office hits like La La Land and classics like Rain Man interrupted by commercials—much like cable. Vudu also hosts select TV series for free but full season availability remains limited.

While Vudu lacks the live channels offered by Pluto TV and most competitors, the sheer size of its rental catalog helps differentiate the platform. Early release window deals also grant earlier streaming access to new theatre releases.

Vudu enjoys broad platform support beyond iOS and Android to include Roku, Fire TV, smart TVs and game consoles. Sign up to save free titles for viewing across devices. Video quality impressively maxes out at 1080p HD depending on your display.

6. Freevee – Original Content and Cult Favorites

Freevee Home

Formerly known as IMDb TV, Amazon Freevee offers an impressive collection of movies, classic shows and exclusive Originals via a content partnership with Amazon Studios.

Series buffs can binge on popular staples like Person of Interest, Dawson’s Creek and Leverage while cinephiles indulge in an eclectic mix ranging from Saw to Apocalypse Now. Families especially appreciate the dedicated Freevee Jr. kids section.

Alex Rider and Bosch: Legacy headline Freevee’s Originals slate alongside buzzworthy critical darlings like Sprung and High School. More high-profile releases remain exclusive to Prime Video but you still get some quality Amazon exclusives here.

The Freevee interface seamlessly integrates into Prime Video apps and echoes much of its design language. Streaming quality maxes out at a perfectly decent 720p across devices. Turn off auto-play to minimize ad frequency.

See how Pluto TV stacks up against the retail giant’s Freevee and IMDbTV offerings via this Pluto TV vs Freevee breakdown.

7. Crackle – Classic Sitcoms and Hidden Gems

Crackle Home

Sony-owned Crackle lives up to its promise of “Always Entertaining” thanks to an eclectic lineup combining Hollywood hits, cult favorites and retro sitcoms galore.

Classic TV buffs can binge countless throwbacks like Married with Children, Who’s The Boss, All in the Family, 3rd Rock from the Sun and more. FilmRise and Sony Pictures provide additional evergreen content.

Despite some dated navigation, it’s easy to lose hours flipping between Crackle’s channels and on-demand offerings. You can save favorites after creating a free account but don’t expect much personalization otherwise.

Video quality occasionally dips below 720p with occasional bufffering from what I observed during testing. But the sheer amount of quality comfort shows makes enduring a few extra ads worthwhile for some viewers. Just don’t expect much beyond sitcoms and B-movies here.

8. Kanopy – Indie Films Galore

Kanopy

Accessible with a public library card, Kanopy offers an unparalleled collection of indie movies, documentaries and international films commercial-free.

While light on mainstream blockbusters, Kanopy houses hidden cinematic gems endorsed by professional critics. Genre collections like Focus Features Spotlight delight as do kid-friendly selections from animation houses like GKids.

Library cardholders can stream up to 10 videos per month completely free. Bonus content drops each month often coincide with celebrations of marginalized filmmakers and themes like Black History Month.

In addition to garnering critical acclaim, Kanopy streams reliably in 1080p HD thanks to partnerships with major universities and film libraries. The service reaches over 200 countries but per-title availability varies by region.

9. Popcornflix – Independent Films and Originals

Popcornflix Home

Popcornflix offers a decidedly indie experience focused on free-to-watch movies and original premieres rather than a robust content library.

You won’t find any mainstream blockbusters on Popcornflix. But a passion for discovering rising talent and refreshingly original storytelling permeates the entire viewing experience.

Parent company Screen Media continues investing heavily into exclusive Originals spanning action to urban genres. The unique Snap Original Web of Make Believe debuted on Popcornflix after a festival run. Additional series help bolster Popcornflix’s offerings.

Frequent ads support the viewing experience across available devices including iOS/Android mobiles, Roku players, Fire TV and Xbox. Video quality maxes out at 720p but looks decent enough on smaller screens. Genre fans should bookmark Popcornflix regardless.

10. YouTube

Youtube Movies

Lastly, YouTube offers select movies and TV Shows to watch free with ads from major studios like Lionsgate, MGM and Warner Bros.

YouTube’s full length movies section includes action staples like The Last Samurai alongside comedies such as Legally Blonde and older titles rotating monthly. Quality understandably doesn’t match native streaming platforms.

Additionally, YouTube offers previous seasons of popular shows to buy or rent but holds a select list of series like Stargate freely available. Annoying mid-video ads support the licensed content.

And when considering additional paid streaming services beyond free options, weigh Pluto TV vs Sling TV based on your preferences.

Key Takeaways

After evaluating over a dozen free streaming apps seeking to mimic Pluto TV’s runaway success, I believe Tubi TV currently provides the best overall alternative thanks to:

  • Massive content library with over 40,000 movies & TV series
  • Full season availability for numerous hit shows
  • 250+ live channels spanning news, movies and entertainment
  • Smooth streaming with limited ads across devices
  • Standout licensing partnerships with studios like MGM, Warner Bros and Lionsgate

But niche streamers like The Roku Channel and Xumo also hold their own with impressive catalogs tailored to their distinct audiences. And Crackle’s comfort classics collection delights as a supplemental weekend binge provider.

No single free streaming app matches Pluto TV’s combo of broad channel variety and on-demand wealth. Mixing and matching a few services caters to diverse tastes while minimizing content overlap issues endemic to this space.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why choose a free streaming service over paid options like Netflix?

A: Cost remains the obvious incentive. But ad-supported platforms license certain shows and films unavailable on paid streamers. Trying out multiple free options helps cord cutters replicate cable variety on a budget.

Q: What are the downsides to using free streaming platforms?

A: Limited streaming quality capped at 720p or 1080p HD, frequent ad breaks disrupting viewing and inconsistent content libraries relying on shifting licensing deals. However, unlocked subscriptions to services like HBO Max minimize these drawbacks for under $10 monthly.

Q: How does Pluto TV make money?

As a free, ad-supported streaming provider, Pluto TV generates its revenues from video commercials inserted throughout programming as well as branded sponsored channels.

Q: Is PlutoTV completely free?

Yes, Pluto TV does not currently offer any paid subscription tiers. Viewers can access all programming on Pluto TV including over 300 live linear channels, thousands of hours of on-demand video content and exclusive originals completely free in exchange for watching advertisements.