The Quarantine Stream: Pluto TV Is A Fantastic, Free Substitute For Cable And Streaming

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they've been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)The App: Pluto TVWhere You Can Stream It: Smart TVs, Streaming Devices, Mobile Devices, Desktop Apps, and Web BrowsersThe Pitch: What if you had the variety of cable and streaming without any payments or passwords? Pluto TV provides over 200 channels and a library of on-demand content for every taste. Sure, there are commercials like regular television, but the variety of content available, from basic entertainment to niche programming, gives Pluto TV an edge over traditional cable subscriptions and streaming services.Why It's Essential Viewing: Pluto TV combines the specificity of streaming service libraries with the spontaneity of channel surfing. There are movie channels for every single genre, from documentaries to westerns, and spotlights on Black and Asian cinema. You'll also find singular-focused channels with endless marathons of Star Trek, Mystery Science Theater 3000, American Gladiators, The Price is Right and James Bond movies. That's not even including all the niche programming for gamers, anime fans, reality TV lovers, and those looking for DIY and home repair projects. There are even channels dedicated to pretty much every single major sport. 

Pluto TV got a boost not too long ago from being purchased by ViacomCBS, which brought in content from from Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central, VH1,  TV Land and MTV, including more focused channels with specific audiences in mind. For example, there are Comedy Central channels with only stand-up comedy or animated series, a revival of Spike TV (which was turned into Paramount Network on cable), and channels dedicated to classic TV show like Happy Days, The Love Boat, Mission: Impossible, and Johnny Carson. By that, I mean there are channels for only those shows and many more. It's about as close as you can get to having a random button and the ability to make a playlist of TV shows you love.

But one of the features of Pluto TV that I'm digging the most are music video channels that will make you remember the days when MTV actually stood for Music Television. There are MTV channels dedicated to specific music genres and decades, which makes you feel like you're watching Total Request Live or old school video countdowns from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. Adding to the music line-up are a series of Vevo music channels that follow in the same footsteps. They're great background noise if you still find yourself working from home.

Plus, the good news is that if you're not in the mood to channel surf or settle for what happens to be playing at any given time during the day or evening, many of the shows and movies that play in the channel line-up are available on-demand. You still have to deal with intermittent ads, but that's a small price to pay for a service that's totally free.