Pluto TV vs Sling TV: The Ultimate 2024 Comparison Guide

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Written by

Jason Lin
Jason Lin

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All ArticlesPluto, Review, Sling
Pluto Tv Vs Sling Tv

Discover the key differences between streaming giants Pluto TV and Sling TV. Learn which service offers the best channel variety, pricing, device compatibility and more in this comprehensive comparison.

Introduction

The streaming world has absolutely exploded over the past few years. Industry giants like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon may first come to mind, but niche services like Pluto TV and Sling TV have also carved out a special place in viewers’ hearts.

As cable subscriptions decline, streaming has become the new normal. 68% of U.S. adults now use a streaming service regularly. However, with so much choice, finding the right service can get confusing. That’s where this guide comes in.

Below we’ll break down the key differences between free streaming provider Pluto TV and low-cost live TV service Sling TV across all the factors that matter most: channel variety, pricing, device support and more. Read on to determine which option best fits your streaming needs.

Content Variety and Channel Packages

When it comes to content, Pluto TV and Sling TV take very different approaches. Pluto TV focuses squarely on breadth, while Sling TV emphasizes customizability.

Pluto TV: 250+ Free Channels

As a free ad-supported platform, Pluto TV offers viewers over 250 live channels spanning categories like news, sports, movies, comedy, reality TV, and more. The exact channel lineup rotates frequently, but at any given time, you can flip through a deep, diverse selection reminiscent of old-school cable TV.

Pluto Tv Live Tv Channels

While light on premium offerings, Pluto is perfect for casual viewers who want to spontaneously put something on in the background. Of course, quantity doesn’t always mean quality, but Pluto TV strikes an impressive balance of both.

Sling TV: Build Your Own Channel Lineup

Unlike Pluto TV, Sling TV is not free but offers a cable-like experience for much cheaper. The core package offerings are:

  • Sling Orange ($40/month): 32 channels like Disney, ESPN, CNN and AMC
  • Sling Blue ($40/month): 412channels like Fox, NBC, FX and Discovery
  • Sling Orange + Blue ($55/month): Combined 50 channels from both packages
Sling Tv Services

Plus, Sling offers a wide variety of add-on channel packs to let you fully customize your TV experience. From lifestyle to comedy, sports to Spanish language, premium networks to local news, Sling’s got options for virtually every interest.

The ability to hand pick channels makes Sling TV a fantastic fit if you know exactly what content you want to watch. Overall, Sling shines for its supreme flexibility.

Pricing and Free Trials

One of Pluto TV’s biggest selling points is its entirely free, no-strings-attached access to live TV. Sling TV requires an affordable but paid subscription.

Pluto TV: Free!

It almost seems too good to be true, but Pluto TV genuinely does not cost a penny. No account sign-up or credit card required. Just visit the website or download the app to start streaming 250+ channels instantly free.

Since it’s ad-supported, you’ll have to sit through some commercial breaks. But that’s a small price to pay for unlimited access to premium content at no cost. If saving money is priority one, Pluto TV delivers in spades.

Sling TV: Starts at $40/Month

As an actual pay TV replacement service, Sling TV comes with a monthly subscription cost. However, prices start at only $40 which pales in comparison to traditional cable TV bills averaging $100+.

Plus, Sling TV currently offers 50% off your first month with no long term contracts. You can cancel, change packages or pause your service anytime hassle free. Existing members can also score occasional promotional offers and discounts worth keeping an eye out for.

While not free like Pluto TV, Sling TV provides incredible value for money. You would need to spend 2-3x more elsewhere to build an equivalent custom channel package.

Supported Devices and Ease of Access

Both streaming services support an extensive list of devices for supremely easy viewing access whether at home or on the go:

Pluto TV Device Compatibility

  • Web browsers
  • iOS and Android mobile devices
  • Popular streaming platforms like Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV
  • Gaming consoles such as PS4 and Xbox
  • Smart TVs from top brands
Pluto Tv Device

Occasional technical frustrations can arise with Pluto TV, from frequent buffering and freezing to complete loss of sound. Best practices can alleviate common streaming problems.

Sling TV Device Compatibility

  • Web browsers
  • iOS and Android mobile devices
  • Streaming platforms like Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV
  • Gaming consoles such as Xbox
  • Select smart TVs
Sling Tv Device Compatibility

The wide device and platform support make Pluto and Sling equally accessible. Experience your favorite shows on all tablets, phones, computers, streaming boxes or smart TVs with no compatibility headaches.

Advertisements and Ad-Free Viewing

Pluto TV relies on advertisements to fund its free service. Sling TV offers an ad-free experience but requires a paid subscription.

Pluto TV: Ad-Supported

As Pluto TV comes without monetary charge, short ads play regularly during programming – usually 30-60 seconds in length a few times per hour. While interruptive, ads are necessary to sustain a fully free TV platform.

The ad frequency on Pluto TV is comparable to basic cable. And without subscription fees, most users happily accept advertisements as the trade-off. Just don’t expect 100% uninterrupted streaming.

Sling TV: Ad-Free

Since it operates on a subscription model, Sling TV provides a commercial-free streaming experience outside of select on-demand programming. You can enjoy your favorite channels and shows without bothersome ads disrupting the flow.

If watching TV free of advertisements is top priority for you, Sling TV certainly holds the advantage over ad-supported Pluto. But premium ad-free viewing comes at a regular cost.

Sling TV certainly holds the edge overall. But if you’re debating between Pluto and other free ad-supported competitors like Samsung TV Plus or the underrated Xumo, Pluto usually comes out on top.

User Interface and Personalization

For user experience and customization, Pluto TV goes for simplicity while Sling TV opts for enhanced personalization.

Pluto TV: Simple and Intuitive

Pluto Tv Live Tv

As soon as you open Pluto TV, you’ll see a familiar grid-style channel guide. Easy browsing categories like “News”, “Reality TV”, “Comedy”, “Sports” and more allow effortless content discovery.

While simple, the interface makes navigating Pluto TV remarkably straightforward. Within seconds, you can find interesting channels to flick on instantly.

No account registration means no ability to bookmark favorites or personalize though. The streamlined design prioritizes instant gratification over customization. But some prefer this plug-and-play accessibility.

Sling TV: Highly Customizable

Sling Tv Home 1

Sling TV offers a much more tailored interface, on account creation, to enhance personalization. You can favorite specific channels, reorder listings, create multiple profiles for family members and more.

The browsing experience feels snappier compared to cable thanks to innovations like the clever SlingTV Flip tool. Sling also recently introduced an intelligent “For You” section with personalized recommendations to better surface relevant content.

If having granular control over how you navigate and manage your TV experience matters, Sling TV is the clear winner over the simpler Pluto TV. But more customization requires signing in and spending time configuring.

For serious cord cutters debating services like YouTube TV vs Sling or Sling TV vs competitor fuboTV, choosing largely depends on your favorite channels and priority features like DVR support. Sling TV often wins out on customizability.

Local vs National Channels

Are you looking to watch local programming like regional news and hometown sports? Then Sling TV is likely the better choice over nationally-focused Pluto.

Pluto TV: Mainly National Channels

The majority of Pluto TV’s channels cover national networks. So you’ll find great variety in areas like movies, comedy, tech and world news. But niche regional interests like city politics get little airtime.

A few localized news stations recently joined the platform. However, Pluto TV still lags far behind Sling TV for accessing hyper-local TV tailored to your zip code.

Sling TV: Robust Local Offerings

Conversely, Sling makes accessing local TV broadcasts a high priority. Depending on your market, Sling provides live local feeds from ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX to stay plugged into neighborhood happenings.

From community issues to city council meetings to local sports teams and weather reports, Sling TV uses location data to serve up TV relevant to wherever you live. If watching channels focused on your state or town matters most, Sling TV comes recommended over Pluto.

Sports Content and Leagues

Sports fans with specific teams and leagues in mind will get far more enjoyment from Sling over Pluto. While Pluto offers casual sporting fare, Sling provides full immersive sport experiences.

Pluto TV: Lacking in Sports Department

As a free TV platform, Pluto TV provides very limited sports coverage. You may find an ESPN channel, scattered games and niches like poker or cycling. But sports are definitely not one of Pluto’s strong suits.

While nice for casual viewing, sports junkies will find the selection too narrow and infrequent compared to dedicated sports streaming services. Exceptions like the recent ESPN on Pluto TV addition help close the gap slightly.

Sling TV: Made for Sports Fans

Sling Tv Sports Content

Conversely, Sling TV heavily targets die-hard sports enthusiasts with entire bundles crafted around leagues like the NFL, MLB, NHL plus college sports. Sling is the official streaming home for big names like ESPN, Fox Sports, NFL Network, beIN Sports and more.

When major sporting events air live, Sling TV pulls out all the stops with 360 degree replays, exciting camera angles and insightful commentary. Expect a thrilling, immersive and fan-centric experience that Pluto simply cannot match as a free platform.

Premium Channels and Add-Ons

If premium entertainment networks like HBO and Showtime are must-haves, Sling TV is miles ahead as Pluto TV offers very minimal premium fare.

Pluto TV: Lacks Premium Channels

Considering it’s a free service, Pluto TV provides excellent variety across categories like movies, news, reality and more. However, premium cable staples like HBO, Showtime or Starz rarely appear.

You might encounter select premium movies or shows on Pluto TV’s on-demand library or specialty channels. But by and large, Pluto TV lacks the breadth of premium content discerning viewers may crave. Manage expectations accordingly.

Sling TV: Robust Premium Offerings

Sling Tv Premium Channels

By contrast, Sling TV encompasses over a dozen premium channel packages from leading networks like HBO, Showtime, Starz and more. Premium network availability varies slightly by base Sling package, but most can be added on conveniently.

Gain instant access to top movies straight from theaters, new hit originals, concerts, events and additional sports – all via premium channels. Of course the extra content comes at an added fee, but serious TV fans find tremendous value.

When it comes to premium viewing, Pluto TV vs Sling TV is no contest. Only Sling can truly satiate discerning tastes among TV connoisseurs.

Key Takeaways: How Do Pluto TV and Sling TV Compare?

  • Pluto TV wins for sheer volume of free content spanning movies, news, reality, and more. Over 250 channels for 100% free makes the streaming service tough to beat on value. But expect ads and limited premium offerings.
  • Sling TV shines for its flexible, highly customizable packages allowing you to hand pick channels at significant cost savings over traditional TV. Sling also includes far more local, sports and premium offerings. But a paid subscription is required.
  • Both platforms boast wide device support, easy interfaces and convenient streaming access. Pluto TV positions as an entertainment supplement while Sling serves as an actual cable TV replacement.

If staying 100% free matters most, Pluto TV takes the crown. But Sling TV delivers greater prestige programming for a very affordable subscription fee. Combine both for unlimited variety!

FAQs

Is Pluto TV really free?

Yes! Pluto TV grants 100% free access to all users. No credit card, registration or payment required. Just visit their site or download the app to start streaming over 250 live channels instantly.

Does Sling TV offer a free trial?

Yes. Sling TV offers new users 50% off their first month which serves as an extended free trial. Additionally, limited time promotions may provide 1-3 days of preview access without payment.

Can I access local channels on Pluto TV?

Pluto TV focuses almost exclusively on national networks. Finding local channels geared towards your region on Pluto TV proves very difficult. For local news and programming, Sling TV makes accessing feeds from ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox easy depending on your market.

What devices support Pluto TV and Sling TV?

Both Pluto TV and Sling TV share wide device support including phones, tablets, web browsers, streaming boxes like Roku/Fire TV, smart TVs, and gaming consoles. Few streaming services match the ubiquitous platform access Pluto TV and Sling provide.

Can I watch Pluto TV or Sling TV outside my home country?

Pluto TV and Sling TV enable streaming exclusively within the United States currently, along with US territories. So accessing their services abroad or overseas results in geo-blocked access until international expansion.