Pluto tv 4k channel

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In the world of online video streaming, your options are pretty much endless. It’s the domain YouTube ruled for years (and still does) while newcomers like Facebook Video have jostled for a mere slice of the pie. 

But in the category of legitimate cable replacement services, your options dwindle down to just a few key players - even fewer of which are free.

That’s the niche pocket where Pluto TV - an ad-supported streaming service from Viacom, the owners of MTV, Nickelodeon and more - feels it can change the game.

Instead of ditching traditional cable channels for internet streams or vice-versa, Pluto TV mashes them together - giving you hundreds of channels of content you can flip through without having to drop a single dime of your own money. Better yet, Pluto TV even gives you access to a number of on-demand movies and some major news networks, perfect for throwing on in the background of your home office. 

The problem with this setup? Well, you’ll have to contend with ads, obviously, and miss out on local channels that you’d get from a paid service like Sling TV or YouTube TV. Moreover you’ll have to contend with periodic performance issues and a library of channels that tends to skew more niche than it does appeal to the general public. 

All said, if you can live with all that and you can pry yourself away from Netflix’s arsenal of original content for two minutes, Pluto TV is well worth checking out - even if it’s just for an afternoon.

Pluto TV release date and availability 

Pluto TV began as a service back in and has grown immensely over the years. Originally it was just available in the US, but starting in September , it became available on mobile platforms in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, too. Content is likely to be different in those countries (our review was written using the US catalogue) but it’s fair to expect comparable features, device support and bugs across the board.  

Pluto TV: Which devices support it? How does it work? 

One of the best things Pluto TV has going for it is its platform agnosticism - it’s a service that works on pretty much every major smart TV and streaming device, including game consoles, mobile devices and, when all else fails, web browsers as well. 

Here’s the complete list of supported devices from Pluto TV’s support website:

  • iOS mobile & tablet
  • Android mobile & tablet 
  • Android TV (various)
  • Google Chromecast
  • Chrome Web App 
  • Amazon Kindle/Fire Tablets
  • Amazon Fire TV + Fire TV Stick
  • Roku Devices + Roku TV
  • Apple TV (4th Generation) 
  • PS4
  • Xbox One

To get started with it, download the Pluto TV app on whichever device you’d like and you can begin streaming without needing to register - a huge perk of the service.

What you’ll find at the top of the + channel listings are the channels Pluto TV is currently pushing. At the time of writing, that includes a Channel that shows James Bond films 24 hours a day, the NFL Network, Movie Channel, Animals, VH1 Reality and Investiga, a Spanish language investigation network with crime dramas. Scroll down and you’ll find more channels to choose from, some of which we’ll talk about in more detail below.

The one benefit to signing up for the service is that it allows you to save your favorite channels at the top - which is great if you plan on using the service daily and know you want to see ABC News and don’t want to scroll through 50 channels to get to it.

Pluto TV channels: what’s included? 

Over the last six years since Pluto TV first started streaming, the service has made a number of lucrative deals with some of the biggest content providers in Hollywood and beyond. First and foremost, that includes a huge swath of the CBSViacom library of content - namely MTV, BET, Spike, Comedy Central plus Nickelodeon. Pluto TV also has a number of breakout channels from some of the top shows from those networks. Tosh.0 has its own channel, for example, as does Crank Yankers, Degrassi and Dora the Explorer.

On top of that, you’ll have a number of great news and sports channels from CNN, NBC, CBS, Bloomberg, Sky and FOX. The catch here is that these networks aren’t always live - in fact every time we’ve tuned into them they’ve been showing content from earlier in the day. That’s all well and good if you’re just trying to get a general idea of what’s happening in the world, but it probably won’t suffice if you need up-to-the-minute information about a situation. The same is true for the sports channels that, more often that not, are showing games from last year - and in some cases several years prior. 

While Pluto TV is clearly not the go-to place for news and sports, it does have a lot of entertainment content, particularly for niche audiences. In its Tech + Geek section you’ll find an IGN channel that cobbles together let’s play-style videos and reviews, as well a straight-up Naruto channel that only shows episodes of Naruto which is actually pretty cool.

At any point in your TV watching experience you can switch over to the On Demand tab of the Pluto TV player where you’ll find a number of on-demand movies and series. As a caveat, you probably shouldn’t go in expecting world-class cinema here - what’s on offer is more or less the schlock that either went straight-to-DVD or didn’t do super well at the box office, but there are a few gems here like the Bond movies that are currently getting featured. Otherwise expect to see films like Aeon Flux, Paranormal Activity 4 and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot with Tina Fey, all of which have some level of name recognition, but probably not enough that you’d pay to see them. It’s a similar story for the TV show selection with a few notable exceptions like One Punch Man, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and Hell’s Kitchen that are more akin to what you’d see on a paid service like Netflix surrounded by a bunch of content that you may or may not want to watch.


According to the most recent numbers from Viacom, Pluto TV has about 22 million average monthly viewers. That pales in comparison to Netflix’s million paying subscribers - many of whom use the service every month - but it’s still a surprising amount.

We float that number out there because it’s important to provide context for the service’s performance that starts out in a low resolution and slowly ramps up. There's a single channel that's available in 4K (conveniently called 4K TV) but don’t expect to see 4K or even Full HD resolution throughout the service anytime soon. As it stands now, the service peaks somewhere around HD quality. 

Like traditional cable you can expect commercials every eight minutes or so and expect them to last between 30 seconds and two minutes. It feels like the commercials stay on longer the more you watch - which would make sense logistically - but we’ll need to collect more data before we can say that with any certainty. 

Commercials are expected, but the playback issues we experienced weren’t. While this often takes the form of downgraded resolution and artifacting, the service can also experience more catastrophic failures like showing you the same part of a film three times before cutting to a commercial… which was really awful. The streaming portion of the website performs slightly better than the on-demand section, weirdly, but neither live up to the high bar set by other services like YouTube and Netflix. 

Final verdict 

At the end of the day it can be tough to categorize Pluto TV. On one hand, it’s not exactly a live TV service in the same way that YouTube TV and Sling TV are. On the other, it’s not just the kind of content you’d find on YouTube, either. It’s an ambitious blend between the two formats that’s made available to the public free of charge. And that’s really respectable.

The downside here is that the channels aren’t always live and do skew towards niche genres and B-movies. There’s not a ton of flagship content available, and Pluto TV doesn’t have any original series that you can’t find somewhere else. Tack on the occasional performance issue and you’re left a middling service that works for a very specific user. 

But hey, you get what you pay for.


Nick Pino is the senior home entertainment editor at TechRadar and covers TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He also has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.


Pluto TV is adding more channels to its free streaming lineup. This time, they’re all for kids. Pluto TV users can tune in for everyone’s favorite lasagna-eating cartoon cat, learn fun facts about the world, and go on adventures with a group of superhero friends. 

Here’s what’s coming to Pluto TV:

Garfield and Friends

This classic follows Garfield, a lazy feline whose only desires in life are lasagna, catnaps and avoiding Mondays. Along with his not-too bright pooch pal, Odie, and gullible owner, Jon, Garfield coughs up a hairball of humor that every human will love.

Find Out Why

Why is the sky blue? How do airplanes fly? On Find Out Why, you will learn how stuff works, why animals are the way they are and so much more! Shows on the channel include Best Parks Ever, Finding Stuff Out, DIY Sci, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures

Team Spirit

Defeat villains, find your strength and go on unforgettable adventures because powers or not, having team spirit comes from the heart! Shows on the channel include Kid vs. Kat, Di-Gata Defenders, Jacob Two-Two Series, Jimmy Two Shoes, and Camp Lakebottom.

You can watch Pluto TV online, with a mobile app for Android and iOS, and on Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation, TiVo, and on Hisense, Samsung, and Vizio Smart TVs.

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Pluto TV: App, channels, guide and how to activate

Want to TV for free? Then, fly over to Pluto TV. If you're tired of paying another monthly streaming bill, Pluto TV is one of the best free streaming services out there. The ad-supported service offers more than live channels, as well as on-demand movies and TV shows. New channels are added all the time, like with the James Bond movies.

The ViacomCBS-owned Pluto TV launched in and has grown quickly since. As of November , the service has more than 28 million monthly active users in the U.S. It also operates in Europe and has plans to roll out in Latin America soon. Unlike live TV streaming services such as Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV, Pluto curates free content that's already available on the web.

What is Pluto TV?

Pluto TV is an "over-the-top" (OTT) service, which means it comes through the internet (like Netflix) rather than on dedicated lines or over the air. It's also an advertiser-supported video on demand service (or AVOD). That puts it in the same bucket as streaming services like Crackle, Tubi and Sling Free. 

To use Pluto TV, you can stream it on the Pluto website or download the app to any of the many devices supported by the service. 

So, what makes Pluto TV one of the best free streaming services? Read more below.

Pluto TV free package (with ads)

Yes, seriously: Pluto TV is absolutely free. You don't even need to register with an email address and you don't have to input any credit card information. Just fire up Pluto's website or the app, and you can start watching shows and movies immediately.

You can opt to register for a Pluto TV account, which gives you special features like the ability to designate favorite channels and resume watching a program on a different device.

This is all made possible by Pluto airing commercials during shows. Generally, the experience is similar to watching cable TV. A half-hour show typically has about four commercial breaks, with each break consisting of several second ads.

Pluto TV channels and shows

Pluto TV's channels are divided into sections such as Featured, Entertainment, Movies, Sports, Comedy, Kids, Latino and Tech + Geek. 

There are versions of top cable networks like MTV but generally, Pluto TV channels aren't the ones you'd find in a standard cable or satellite package. 

The News channels are names that you know — CNN, NBC News, CBS News, etc. — but mostly, they play curated, pre-recorded clips instead of a live stream of the network. 

Similarly, the Sports channels are ones you've heard of, like Fox Sports, NFL Channel, PGA Tour and Major League Soccer. However, you can't really watch live sports on Pluto; those channels play past games, highlights or analysis.  

Pluto's TV shows are mostly older sitcoms and reality shows that are generally found on other free streaming services, like Hell's Kitchen, Roseanne and The First

Recently, Pluto added a huge new addition: Pluto TV This channel will stream nothing by James Bond movies, as Pluto says, "24 hours a day, days a week." Specifically, Pluto has 19 Bond movies starring Connery, Moore, Lazenby, Dalton and Brosnan, so don't expect Daniel Craig's run when you tune in. We're waiting for the full list. 

Pluto also added Pluto TV Pranks and British Comedy channels.

Pluto TV app and supported devices

The Pluto TV app is available on devices including web browsers as well as many major smart TVs, smartphones and streaming boxes and sticks. 

  • Android mobile and tablet 
  • Apple iPhone and iPad
  • Apple TV (4th Generation) 
  • Amazon Kindle/Fire Tablets
  • Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
  • Roku devices and Roku TVs
  • Google Chromecast
  • TiVo Stream 4K
  • Android TV (various)
  • web browsers

Pluto TV reviews

While there aren't a ton of Pluto TV reviews out there, the ones that exist are mostly positive about the free TV streaming service.

PC Mag says, "Pluto TV is a potentially viable solution for people who don't want to completely close the door on cable, but more importantly, don't want to pay for the privilege." Their review cautions potential users, "Anyone looking for a viable replacement to cable with an internet-based live TV service may be underwhelmed by Pluto TV." They think the service could use a bit of a redesign, too, saying, "Pluto TV needs to polish its interfaces and channel guides. The omission of DVR features is notable too, but not surprising given that it is free." says, "If you have decided that you’re going to quit paying for cable TV and subscription streaming services, I think Pluto TV needs serious consideration as a part of your free streaming content mix. There is a strong selection of cable-worthy content on this platform and the barrier to giving it a trial run is extremely low."

Pluto TV movies on demand

Yes, Pluto has thousands of movies on-demand and airing live on themed Movies channels, ranging from genres (Drama, Romance, Horror) to '80s Rewind and Black Cinema.  

Pluto TV movies made up of older titles that were moderate hits back in their day. Recent selections included Shaft, Addams Family Values, The Rainmaker, Airplane, Clue, Road to Perdition and First Wives Club.

Pluto TV internet speed requirements

Pluto TV doesn't provide specific guidelines about internet speed for its service. In its help section, the company says, "Having a fast connection (faster than 5mb) is certainly important, but having a 'stable' connection can be just as important, so that super fast WiFi connection drops out for a 1/2 second and that will cause playback issues."

MORE: How Much Internet Speed Should You Really Pay For?

Can Pluto TV replace cable?

You may be wondering, "Can I use Pluto TV to replace cable?" The answer is: Sort of. Pluto TV provides some programming you may enjoy, if you're satisfied with older movies and shows. But if you want a true cable TV replacement, you will need to supplement Pluto TV with other streaming services.

Kelly covers streaming media for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.


Pluto TV: Platforms, content and more info on the free streaming service

Table of contents

In this age of streaming video, we see two significant divisions if you want to watch a movie or TV show on your phone, PC, or smart TV. One is spending some cash for a subscription to Netflix, HBO Max, Disney Plus, or others. The other choice is accessing a free streaming service that’s supported by ads. One of the best, if not the best, in this latter category is Pluto TV.

Read more: Best streaming services

But just what is Pluto TV? We will tell you everything you need to know about the service and why it’s a must for any streaming video fan. You can check out Pluto TV right now at the link below.

Check out Pluto TV

What is Pluto TV?

Pluto TV

Launched in a beta version in , Pluto TV is a bit different than other streaming services. Besides being free to access, it offers over “channels” of content that run “live” 24/7. It’s like a virtual version of old-fashioned cable TV. You can surf through channels of all types, in many different categories.

More recently, the service started offering on-demand free streaming of movies and TV shows. However, much of its content is still exclusive to its “channels” lineup.

Pluto TV was purchased by Viacom (now known as ViacomCBS) for $ million in The company says that the service currently has over 52 million active monthly viewers worldwide.

Is Pluto TV worth it?

In a word, yes. Since it’s free, you should have no qualms about trying this service out. Also, unlike many other free streaming services, the content you can watch is high quality. While there are still some B-movies and C-level TV shows on the service, Pluto TV also has some great recent and classic films and shows, on-demand and streaming live.

Read more: Best websites to watch free movies legally online

Are there commercials on this free service?

As you might expect from a free streaming service, you will have to watch commercials occasionally while watching Pluto TV’s channels and on-demand movies and TV series. However, the interruptions are still less than what you would watch on standard broadcast TV or basic cable.

Where can I watch Pluto TV?

Pluto TV

Currently, the service is available in 25 countries, including the US and Canada, along with countries in Europe and Latin America.

What platforms support the service?

Pluto TV

Pluto TV is available on the following platforms and devices:

  • Android smart TVs, sticks, and set-top boxes
  • LG Smart TVs
  • Roku smart TVs, sticks, and set-top boxes
  • Samsung Smart TVs
  • Amazon Fire smart TVs, sticks, and set-top boxes
  • Vizio TVs
  • Hisense Smart TVs
  • Apple TV set-top box
  • Chromecast
  • TiVo sticks and set-top boxes
  • Verizon Fios TV and Stream TV Box
  • Sony Playstation 3, 4, and 5 game consoles
  • Microsoft Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S game consoles
  • Oculus Go and Quest VR headsets
  • iOS mobile devices
  • Android mobile devices
  • PC web browsers (Safari, Chrome, and Firefox)
  • Verizon Android smartphones (except Pixel); pre-installed.

Pluto TV interface and features

Pluto TV

As we mentioned before, the service acts as a virtual cable TV lineup, with over channels to surf. Channels are broken up into different categories, and you can switch between them as well. Some channels are only available for a limited amount of time and are considered “Popup” channels. You can also switch from Live TV to the On Demand section, which lets you pick which movie or TV show you want to stream immediately.

Does the service support 4K resolution?

Some of the channels on Pluto TV support streaming in 4K resolution, including the 4K TV channel and the Slow 4K channel. More of the service’s content will likely add 4K streaming in the future.

Additional features with free sign up

While you can watch Pluto TV without signing up for an account, you miss out on a few extra features that you get when you create a free account and log in. One of them allows you to label any of the channels as “favorites.” This will enable you to watch the channels you want to watch as it will group them into their section of the interface. You can also use the search feature to look up channels or show specific shows, either on the live channels or on demand.

The other prominent additional feature for account users is the availability to watch an on-demand movie or TV show, pause it, and then watch it again on another device at the same place you stopped.

What are the Pluto TV channel categories?


At the moment, here are the channel categories on the service. Each category has at least several different individual channels, if not more, to watch.

  • Featured – A curated look at several channels that Pluto TV wants to give some special attention to today.
  • Movies – A ton of channels showing nothing but movies, with classic and recent films, along with different genre channels.
  • Entertainment – A variety of TV shows, movies, and more showcasing entertainment from channels like MTV, CMT, BET, and more. There are also channels dedicated to individual shows like Baywatch, Star Trek, and more.
  • News – Both live and recorded daily news programs from outlets like NBC, CBS, CNN, and more.
  • Reality – Channels that run classic and more recent reality TV shows, including channels dedicated to Fear Factor, Love and Hip Hop, and more.
  • Crime – This category has fictional crime shows like CSI and Midsomer Murders mixed with true crime shows like Cops, Forensic Files, and more.
  • Comedy – TV shows, movies, and specials from outlets like Comedy Central and shows like MST3K, Tosh.O, and more.
  • Classic TV – Watch your old favorites like classic Doctor Who, Three’s Company, The Rifleman, and more.
  • Home + DIY – Check out channels dedicated to making your home better, along with food, pets, and faith channels.
  • Explore – Various unscripted channels, with some dedicated to cars, history, science, nature, and more.
  • Sports – Several channels are dedicated to sports programming, from the NFL Network, Fox Sports, and more.
  • Gaming + Anime – A mix of animation and gaming-themed channels, including ones dedicated to Minecraft, Naruto, and more.
  • Music – Many music video channels for pop, classic, and faith music.
  • Latino – Several channels with Latino language movies and TV programming.
  • Kids – Children’s programming is the theme of this category, including several Nickelodeon-based channels.

There are way too many Pluto TV channels to list here, and again some of them disappear. That’s why we are putting our favorite channels in a separate article, which you can check out below.

Read more: Our favorite Pluto TV channels

We do want to point out two channels that might be of interest. Since ViacomCBS own Pluto TV, it also offers programming from its paid streaming services like Paramount Plus and Showtime on their own Pluto TV channels. That allows users to check out select programming from both services without having to pay.

Read more: Best Showtime series

On-demand movies and TV shows

Pluto TV/Roku

As we mentioned, the service also allows users to watch thousands of movies and shows on demand. As with other free streaming services, the selection of movies tends to vary wildly from month to month. If you see a movie you want to watch, you might want to check it out before it leaves the service.

Best alternatives

Pluto TV is certainly not alone when it comes to free streaming services. Here’s a look at just a few of its rivals.



One of the oldest of the free streaming services, Crackle not only has a solid amount of movies and TV shows to watch for free, but it also has many exclusive original films and series to stream as well. It also offers some extra features if you sign up for a free account, including parental controls.

Watch Crackle for free

Tubi TV


Like Pluto TV, Tubi TV offers many new and classic shows and movies to stream on-demand. The service is slowly ramping up its original content, as well. Tubi TV also offers live local news from over Fox TV affiliates across the United States.

Check out Tubi TV



Amazon’s free content streaming service has been gaining traction over the past year. You can watch great recent films on the service, along with terrific television shows like Lost or Mad Men, for free. It’s also adding more original content, starting with the UK spy drama Alex Rider. We expect more original shows to be made available over the next year. It’s one to watch.

Check out IMDb TV



NBCUniversal’s recently launched Peacock streaming service lets you watch thousands of movies and television shows for free. It also has channels like Pluto TV that stream content, including live news and more. For $ a month, you can access even more movies and shows. You can also pay $ a month to enjoy the service ad-free.

Check out Peacock

Other FAQs

Q: How many people can stream on Pluto TV at one time?
A: Since the service is free, you can stream on as many devices you want, all at once.

Q: Is Pluto TV available in 4K?
A: Some of its streams and channels do support 4K resolution. However, you still need a compatible smart TV, streaming stick, or set-top box to watch its content in 4K.

Q: Can you share a Pluto TV account with friends and family?
A: Yes, you can share your Pluto TV account with others. You can also set up a PIN so that your kids can’t access it without your permission.

Q: Does Pluto TV work offline?
A: Unfortunately, the service’s mobile apps do not currently support downloads of its shows. However, that feature could be added at a later date.

Q: Does Pluto TV have parental controls?
A: Unfortunately, the service lacks parental controls at the moment. Hopefully, they will be added at a future date. In the meantime, parents should monitor their kids and their use of Pluto TV, as it does contain mature content on some of its channels and on-demand.

StreamingPluto TV


Channel 4k pluto tv

Pluto TV

Internet-based TV platform

Pluto TV is an internet television service owned and operated by ViacomCBS Streaming, a division of ViacomCBS,[2] Co-founded by Tom Ryan, Ilya Pozin and Nick Grouf in and based in Los Angeles, California,[3] in the United States and parts of Europe and Latin America. Pluto is an advertiser-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) service that primarily offers a selection of programming content through digital linear channels designed to emulate the experience of traditional broadcast programming. The service's revenue is generated from video advertisements seen during programming within ad breaks structured similarly to those found on conventional television.[4]

Pluto TV licenses its content directly from providers, and as of March has deals with content partners providing more than channels and , unique hours worth of programming.[5] Its content is available via its website and supported apps. As of August , the service has 52 million monthly active users.[6]


Early years (–)[edit]

Pluto TV launched its beta website on March 31, Co-founded by Thomas V. Ryan (former Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy at EMI and co-founder of now-defunct digital music retailer CDuctive), Ilya Pozin (founder and former CEO of venture builder firm Coplex) and Nick Grouf (co-founder and managing director of venture capital firm Alpha Edison), it was originally developed to provide curated channels of existing online content, offering a slate of nearly categorized channels featuring content aggregated from various video-sharing platforms (including YouTube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion) as well as additional content provided through partnerships with original web content services and television networks (including Funny or Die, QVC, Refinery29, RocketJump and TYT Network).[7] The service was originally owned by Pluto Inc., which, during the second half of and early , had raised $13 million in series A funding from investors that included Universal Music Group, Sky plc, UTA Ventures, and venture capital firms U.S. Venture Partners (USVP), QueensBridge Venture Partners, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Luminari Capital, Great Oaks Venture Capital and Chicago Ventures.[4][8] On May 14, , Pluto unveiled a digital video recorder feature on its website known as "myPluto"; users could “record” content by clicking a “save show” button that would archive content from the channel as it played.[9]

On July 1, , Pluto TV announced it had signed a deal with Hulu to distribute the ad-supported video content, available for free on Hulu's website at the time, including current-season episodes of programs from ABC, NBC and Fox, recent and older classic television series, and domestic and foreign animated programs. Under the arrangement, Hulu handled advertising for content made available through the Pluto website. Separately, in the weeks preceding the Hulu deal, Pluto TV had reached content agreements with AOL, Endemol Beyond USA, Shout! Factory, Jukin Media and YouTube content channels Devin SuperTramp, Multicom, Around the World in 4K and Amazing Places on Our Planet to distribute their programming on the service.[10][11][12][13] In October , 20 additional channels (featuring content from AwesomenessTV, IGN, Cracked, DHX Media, Just For Laughs, Newsy, Legendary Digital Networks and The Onion) were brought onto the service's lineup, bringing the total number of curated channels offered by Pluto to around [14]

On May 15, , Pluto TV signed an agreement with Sony to make the Pluto TV app available on the PlayStation Store for download by users of the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. In , Pluto Inc. raised $30 million in series B venture capital funding from ProSiebenSat.1 Media, Scripps Networks Interactive, and venture capital firms Luminari Capital, Chicago Ventures and Third Wave Ventures, valuing the company at $ million. The round was led by German television network ProSieben, with additional funding from telecommunications company Sky UK.[4] On April 30, , Pluto Inc. added a chief programming officer role, appointing Robert Magdlen—who formerly served as senior vice president of program strategy and acquisitions for E! and as a production executive for TNT—in the post, handling responsibilities for programming and channel development from the company's Los Angeles headquarters.[15]

On May 15, , Pluto TV launched a traditional video-on-demand offering, composing a large library of movies and television shows licensed from such distributors as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Viacom, Sony Pictures, DHX Media, Nelvana, Fremantle, Monstercat and King Features Syndicate that are made available for individual viewing to Pluto users.[16][17]Variety reported that as of May&#;[update], the service was averaging 6 million users per month,[18] and, as of October&#;[update], it was rated one of the most-watched apps on Roku.[19]

By October , Pluto TV reached over 15 million users. On October 17 of that year, Pluto TV announced it received a $5-million investment from Samsung Venture Investment Corporation as part of an $ million round of funding raised by various investors.[20] On March 15, , Pluto TV entered into a partnership with SpotX to provide advertising monetization services for Pluto, including engendering sales from media buyers breaking into over-the-top content services.[21] On August 1, , Vizio launched a new ad-supported streaming platform powered by Pluto TV, called WatchFree. This service is built into several models of Vizio's line of Internet-connected smart TVs, particularly those supporting its SmartCast operating system, and is advertised as having "an easy-to-navigate, cable-like interface".[22]

On October 1, , Pluto TV expanded into Europe with the launch of a platform on Sky's Now TV service in the United Kingdom, offering an initial slate of more than 12 curated channels.[23] Also in October , Pluto TV picked Tru Optik to help with advertising inventory.[24] On December 4, , Pluto TV launched a regional service in Germany and Austria, also through a separate collaborative agreement with Sky, with the app's content made available initially via the Sky TV stick; the German/Austrian service initially incorporated a slate of 15 streaming channels (composed of both Pluto-exclusive services with German and English language content as well as channels compiled by third-party content providers).[25][26]

Purchase by Viacom: ViacomCBS ownership (–present)[edit]

On January 22, , Viacom announced its intention to acquire Pluto for $ million.[27][28] Viacom's plans for Pluto TV included using the service as a marketing tool for its portfolio of linear media brands (including incorporating more licensed content from Viacom-owned properties) and to serve as a distribution outlet for its in-house digital content brands (including CBSN, AwesomenessTV and CNET), expanding the service into Latin America, and expanding its distribution on smart TVs. The company also planned to use the service to upsell its subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) properties (including Paramount+, Showtime, Noggin and the then-upcoming BET+) directly to consumers.[29] The deal was completed on March 4, [30] On March 18, , Viacom—through its Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) unit—announced plans to launch Pluto TV worldwide; VIMN President James Currell stated that the company believed the global SVOD sector was "becoming too crowded and capital intensive," choosing to focus on building scale through ad-supported streaming platforms.[31]

On May 1, , Pluto introduced branded channels based on Viacom Media Networks-owned cable outlets and other Viacom properties, including content from Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central, VH1, Logo, TV Land and MTV. Among those channels is a revival of Spike, which had been relaunched as Paramount Network in January The free channels are not simulcasts of their namesake networks, as contractual restrictions with traditional pay television providers prevent it from distributing the full linear feeds, but instead focus primarily on archival content and series that Pluto TV has acquired from other content providers.[32][33][34][35] Some of these branded services are direct offshoots of their linear counterparts, while others (such as CMT Cheer 24/7, TV Land Sitcoms, TV Land Drama, MTV Teen, VH1 I Love Reality, and Nickelodeon offshoots Dora TV[36] and Totally Turtles[35]) maintain theme formats offering speciality programming owned by ViacomCBS and other program library partners.

On June 13, , Pluto TV was launched on Comcast's Xfinity X1 cable boxes.[37] On July 1, , the service launched a Spanish language programming tier, Pluto TV Latino, consisting initially of eleven Spanish and Portuguese-language channels (including two sports-focused channels, Lucha Libre and Combate World, that were previously assigned to the service's main sports tier) that incorporate programming originally produced natively in those languages and Spanish-dubbed versions of English and Portuguese programs.[38]

Pluto TV's former logo used from until March 1, ; a variant featuring the "TV" dot in the same size as the rest of the logo text was used from until the current logo was introduced. The logo remains in use during ID bumpers shown in place of unsold advertising spots on certain channels or during technical difficulties.

On August 13, , National Amusements announced that Viacom and CBS Corporation—which had split into two separate companies in , five years after the original Viacom first acquired CBS's assets—would recombine their assets into a singular entity to be named ViacomCBS in a deal valued at up to $ billion.[39][40][41] Following the announcement, Deadline Hollywood, citing sources within the company, identified Pluto TV as a potential outlet for CBS streaming content. Pluto already carried CBS's free online news service CBSN, and technology and video-game-oriented CNET Video.[42] Additional channels from CBS, including CBSN Local's New York and Los Angeles services and an Entertainment Tonight-branded entertainment news channel (ET Live), were added to the service on November 13, , prior to the merger's closure.[43]

In September , Pluto TV became available on mobile platforms in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the United Kingdom; the service first became available in those countries on iOS and Apple TV devices on September 6, and on Android devices on September [44][45] By November , the service was estimated to have 20 million monthly active users.[46]

On February 3, , ViacomCBS announced that Pluto TV would launch in Latin America at the end of March, offering 17 channels available in Spanish and Portuguese at launch; additional channels would be added on a monthly basis with more than 80 channels expected to be available by the end of Along with content carried by ViacomCBS Networks International-owned local versions of its corporate parent's U.S. media properties, co-owned Argentinian network Telefe and Porta dos Fundos would also provide content for the Latin American service.[47][48] The service was expected to launch in Brazil in December ,[49] but was anticipated and was launched on November 17, [50]

On February 20, , ViacomCBS estimated that Pluto TV generated a monthly average of 22 million viewers in the fourth quarter of , with expectations of its user base reaching 30 million monthly viewers by December The company also announced that Pluto content would be incorporated into a revamped version of CBS All Access, which would also add content from ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks cable properties, Paramount Pictures and CBS Television Distribution. ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish stated that Pluto TV—which will remain a free, standalone offering—would be part of the company's refocusing on three core streaming services, alongside the subscription-based CBS All Access and Showtime's OTT service, which would act as its mid-level and premium offerings and which Pluto will also be used to upsell along with ViacomCBS's other niche streaming platforms.[51][52][53][54]

In January , Pluto TV unveiled a new logo at CES , and later unveiled a redesign of its Apple iOS apps, which included a new channel guide and on-demand menu interface.[55][56] The redesigned interface—absent the new logo—was rolled out to the website and desktop app the following day on February 21, its Roku app on February 26, and Android devices and other platforms on March 2.[57][58]

On July 9, , the service launched an app for Virgin Media customers in the UK.[59]

On October 8, , ViacomCBS announced it will launch Pluto TV in Spain, Italy and France, with 40 channels and thousands of hours of on-demand content.[60]

On July 17, , Pluto TV added several new channels including News 12 New York, Pluto TV Home, and Professional Bull Riders’ RidePass.[61] A deal made between Pluto TV and PBR allowed for Pluto TV to be the exclusive home to RidePass content.[62]

On September 29, , ViacomCBS and its subsidiary Pluto TV agreed to pay $ million and enter into a consent decree with the FCC because Pluto failed to include captions in streamed programming that had previously been broadcast with captions on TV. The FCC’s investigation revealed that Pluto did not enable the delivery of captions provided by the programmer on numerous online platforms that carry Pluto TV, did not implement certain closed captioning functionalities, and did not make contact information for closed captioning complaints available to viewers. Under FCC rules, all nonexempt full-length video programming delivered over the internet must be closed captioned, if the programming had previously been shown on television in the U.S. with captions. (Order and Consent Decree) DAA1 [63]


Pluto TV is structured similarly to the traditional cable television model, offering its content as designated channels categorized by program content type into multiple channel categories:

  • Featured – new channels and special event content.
  • Movies – movie channels, consisting of both general-format and genre-based (e.g., comedy, action, horror) services.
  • Entertainment – varied general and specialty entertainment-based programming.
  • News + Opinion – mainstream news and opinion channels, as well as partisan, commentary-based outlets reflecting progressive and conservative viewpoints.
  • Reality – reality and competition shows
  • Crime – crime-based programming, primarily dramas and reality shows
  • Comedy – comedy-based services, consisting of stand-up, sitcom/sketch comedy, and curated viral video channels.
  • Classic TV – channels focused on classic television shows
  • Home + DIY – lifestyle-oriented channels
  • Explore – travel, lifestyle, historical and special-interest channels.
  • Sports – live and previously-aired events, sporting news and analysis programs.
  • Gaming + Anime – technology, science, sci-fi, and geek culture-oriented channels.
  • Music – music videos and video concerts (audio-based music channels from Dash Radio were previously among the selections, but they were dropped in July ).[64]
  • En Español – Spanish entertainment channels.
  • Kids – channels aimed at children and young teenagers.
  • Local – CBSN Local channels (which had previously been carried in the news section via geolocation)

As of August , Pluto TV carries over channels, packaging content acquired through various content syndication deals, as well as programming from ViacomCBS's internal libraries. Traditional television channels whose feeds are carried directly on Pluto include Court TV, NASA TV, Discovery Channel, CNN (plus sister network HLN, HBO and Cartoon Network), WeatherNation TV, Buzzr, Newsmax TV, the Trinity Broadcasting Network (and sister network Hillsong Channel), Fox News (and sister network Fox Business), Euronews, Bloomberg Television, Sky News (plus sister network CNBC, MSNBC, USA Network, Syfy and E!), Professional Bull Riders’ RidePass, Eleven Sports (albeit with some events replaced with alternative programming due to streaming rights restrictions), Stadium and TheBlaze.[65] AVOD services whose feeds are carried on Pluto include Nosey, NBC News Now, ABC News Live, Cheddar News, TYT Network, and People TV.[66] In addition, Pluto also offers “pop-up channels," which maintain binge-viewing or specialty programming formats that operate on a temporary or open-ended basis.


Pluto TV content can be streamed through a number of desktop, mobile and internet-connected TV platforms, including: Android and AppleiOS/iPadOS devices, Android TV, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Cox Contour Stream Player, Vizio SmartCast, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, webOS, Chromecast, Virgin Media and macOS and Windows computers.[67] Pluto-operated channels are also offered through The Roku Channel's live TV section.

Outside of the United States, Pluto TV and its apps are currently available in Europe and Latin America. Pluto is also available in countries such as Canada, but only in a limited capacity due to existing program rights held by domestic broadcasters.[68]

See also[edit]

  • BET+ – co-owned subscription video-on-demand offshoot of BET, operated in conjunction with Tyler Perry Studios
  • My5 – catchup service of ViacomCBS' British TV network Channel 5, featuring Pluto-branded channels and content
  • Noggin – a subscription video-on-demand service specializing in preschool programming
  • Paramount+ – a subscription video-on-demand service with content from the library of various ViacomCBS divisions and subsidiaries
  • Philo – a virtual cable TVex service jointly owned by ViacomCBS, in conjunction with A&E Networks, AMC Networks and Discovery, Inc.
  • Showtime – a subscription video-on-demand offshoot of the premium television network of the same name
  • Voot – an Indian subscription video-on-demand service featuring programming from various Viacom 18 networks along with some original programs


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External links[edit]

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