×

Vizio Integrates Pluto TV With New Ad-Supported WatchFree Service

Vizio is adding a new way to watch free, ad-supported TV programming to its TV sets: The company launched a new service dubbed WatchFree Wednesday that promises access to 100 channels, including programming from NBC / MSNBC, Fox Sports, MST3K and The Surf Channel.

WatchFree is powered by Pluto TV, an ad-supported streaming service that has been making this kind of programming available on a variety of platforms for some time. Programming supplied by Pluto will also include ad-supported movie channels, and the startup is looking to launch Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and Unsolved Mysteries pop-up channels in the near future.

“WatchFree is a next-generation streaming service with an easy-to-navigate, cable-like interface that delivers creative and thoughtful content selections,” said Vizio CTO Bill Baxter.

“From hit TV shows to blockbuster movies, news, sports, lifestyle and more, WatchFree is a game changer for cord-cutting enthusiasts,” added Pluto CEO Tom Ryan.

WatchFree is rolling out to TVs featuring Vizio’s SmartCast operating system, which the company first launched in 2016. At the time, Vizio took the radical step to get rid of all on-screen apps, and instead relied entirely on Google’s Chromecast technology to control playback from mobile devices.

After negative reactions from consumers, Vizio once again added apps to its TV screens in 2017. WatchFree is now presented as a dedicated input on Vizio TVs, mimicking the way a cable box would appear on a TV.

This isn’t the first time a TV maker has closely integrated an ad-supported streaming service for a cable-like experience. LG has done something similar with Pluto competitor Xumo, which is also available on Vizio TVs.

Ryan sat down last month with Variety’s Strictly Business podcast for an interview about Pluto TV. Listen:

More Digital

  • THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY

    'The Umbrella Academy' Superheroes Series Premiere Date Set on Netflix

    The dysfunctional-family superheroes of “The Umbrella Academy” are landing on Netflix worldwide on Feb. 15, 2019. The live-action series is based on the “Umbrella Academy” comic books created and written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá, published by Dark Horse Comics. The Netflix original series comprises 10 one-hour episodes. “The Umbrella Academy” stars [...]

  • ATF: Hooq Adds Trio of Original

    ATF: Hooq Adds Trio of Original Series, Partnership With Vice Media

    Asian video-on-demand service, Hooq has unveiled three Indonesian-made original series, and a partnership with online content group Vice. The new shows range from a talk show “TL;DR” that will be co-produced with Vice, to a full-length series, “Check Out The Store Next Door” (“Cek Toko Sebelah the Series”) and a short form series. The partnership [...]

  • ATF: Indian Streamer Eros Now Launches

    ATF: Indian Streamer Eros Now Launches 'Flesh' as Original Series

    Eros Now, the video streaming arm of Indian film production and distribution giant Eros International, has begun production of an original web TV series. Its human trafficking drama “Flesh” will air in early 2019. “Flesh” stars Swara Bhaskar (“Raanjhanaa,” “Veera Di Wedding”) as a belligerent female cop who takes matters into her own hands in [...]

  • Avengers End Game Trailer

    'Avengers: Endgame' Trailer Smashes 24-Hour Video Views Record

    With the Marvel fandom’s anticipation leading up to “Avengers: Endgame,” it’s no surprise that the trailer drop set a new record for most views in its first 24 hours. The “Avengers: Endgame” trailer was viewed 289 million times in its first 24 hours, after it was released around 5 a.m. PT Friday, according to Marvel [...]

  • ESL And Oculus Partner For VR

    ESL And Oculus Partner For VR Charity Challenge Game Show

    Esports company ESL is teaming up with Oculus for the Change the Game VR Charity Challenge (VRCC), it announced on Friday. Two teams of influencers will compete for a $100,000 prize during the event. Each will represent one of two gaming charities — Stack Up or Take This. Stack Up is a nonprofit that works [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content