Pluto.tv brings channel surfing and passive viewing to the Fire TV

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Online video service Pluto.tv has just released a free app for the Amazon Fire TV. The app features over 100 curated channels of continuos web videos presented in a TV guide-like interface reminiscent of traditional cable TV. 

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In an era of voice search and on-demand everything, Pluto.tv provides a refreshing alternative to the often monotonous chore of figuring out exactly what to watch. Launching the app puts you on the TV guide screen with the channel list in the bottom third and the last viewed channel immediately streaming above.

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Controls are dead simple. In full screen mode, you can press up or down to flip through channels and press the play button to pause and restart the video. Pressing the center select button on the Fire TV remote brings up an overlay giving you more information about what you’re currently watching. Pressing the menu button toggles between full screen mode and the TV guide screen where all you can do is scroll through the channel list and select a channel. That’s it. You can’t scroll right or left in the guide or select to load a future video that isn’t currently playing. You can’t even rewind or fast forward. And that’s a good thing. Adding more control would defeat the purpose and simplicity that differentiates Pluto.tv from all the other web video apps.

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Channels are grouped together in one of 10 categories, like Music, News, and Sports. Some channels are broad, like Comedy Webseries, while others are more specific, like Weird Al Yankovic which plays nothing but Weird Al music videos. The content is all ad-free, apart from the occasional  5 second clip reminding you that you’re watching Pluto.tv.

Initially, I didn’t think much of Pluto.tv. Then, once realizing an hour had past and I’d been flipping through channels being thoroughly entertained, I saw the appeal of such a service. There’s still a place for the type of traditional passive viewing that most of us grew up watching. I say install Pluto.tv, and the next time you find yourself spending 30 minutes flipping through lists of shows and movies trying to figure out what to watch, load up Pluto.tv and give it a try.

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6 comments
  1. hdmkv says:

    Initially I thought it was junk as well, kinda like the AOL app. But, I like it, and it’s quite nice for web channel surfing. They also have CNN/Headline News (would prefer BBC, but that’s another story), cooking shows, tech, and other fairly decent content. Nicely, simply organized as well.

  2. Dave Ninja says:

    This app is great! The Weird Al channel originally sold me on it but then i spent a couple hours flipping through the stations on night. Some channels wouldnt work (like Funny or Die) and some were messed up (Classic Toons had no sound and a ‘pause’ icon in the middle) but there were enough left that were entertaining.

  3. Alex says:

    After using Pluto.TV I was not able to stream videos from other apps or even from Amazon’s Instant Video. I came to this conclusion after having to factory reset my Fire TV twice. The problem only started after using the Pluto.TV app. I haven’t had the problem since. I hope it is addressed in the future because I thought the app was a pretty brilliant idea.

  4. willie dynamite says:

    i am pretty impressed by the app so far. considering everything is free the content is pretty good and the app is fast and simple. good for putting on in the background when you are doing other things.

  5. Robert Parmar says:

    I have lost Pluto tv on my Amazon Fire stick and I don’t know how to get it back.

    Can someone please tell me how to get it back on my fire stick
    Thank you

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