With so many streaming services out there for you to choose from, how on earth are you supposed to figure out which ones are worth your time, energy, and money? It seems as if every other day I hear about a new way to stream movies and TV shows. Some of them are free, some of them are cheap, and others can be rather pricey. Money aside, though, nobody wants to waste their time on a site or app that turns out to be garbage, right? Well, that is precisely why I write these reviews – so that you can have a good idea of what to expect from a certain streaming service without having to waste your time figuring that out for yourself.
That being said, there is a good chance that you may have heard of the free streaming service that I will be taking a look at today. Tubi has quickly skyrocketed to become one of the most popular and widely used free streaming services in the world. Having been founded just six years ago, it is rather impressive to see just how recognizable and how much of a household name Tubi has become.
Then again, just because something is well known does not always necessarily mean that it is quality. Sometimes great branding goes a long way to compensate for a subpar product. Is this the case with Tubi? Well, there is only really one way to find out for sure … and that is to dive in and take a look at everything that Tubi has to offer, where it comes from, whether it is going to be available on your preferred devices, what kind of content you can expect to find on it, how well it is designed, and what Tubi could potentially be doing better (if anything).
If you are looking for a free streaming alternative to Netflix and Hulu, I cannot blame you. Monthly streaming bills seem to be getting a little bit out of hand. As I just said, there are new streaming platforms being released all the time, each of which has specialized or original content that can’t be found anywhere else. At a certain point, the financial convenience that streaming sites once provided over traditional cable begins to become undone.
At this point, if I add up all of my streaming bills each month, I am coming close to paying the same amount that I was paying for traditional cable back in the day. I thought one of the reasons for cutting the cord was to save some money! Well, thanks to free premium streaming services such as Tubi, hopefully, I can get back to saving on my monthly bills. Or, at the very least, I can be given an even larger selection of content without adding to my bills … that has to count for something, right?
Tubi, as far as free streaming services are concerned, is definitely one of the most critically acclaimed and beloved out there. So, let’s see if the service, in fact, lives up to all of the hype that it has received, shall we?
Founded by Farhad Massoud and Thomas Ahn Hicks of Ad Rise, Tubi launched as a free service in 2014. Fast forward to June of 2019: Tubi announces that it has over 20 million active monthly users. Skip ahead to September of the same year, Tubi boasts that users have reportedly streamed 132 million hours of content on their platform. Talk about growth!
One of the aspects that, no doubt, contributed to Tubi’s rapid ascent is its involvement with members of Fox. Sandy Grushow, namely, former Fox TV chairman, is an advisory board member of Tubi. He is not the only heavy hitter to populate the Tubi round table, though. Mark Amin, too, Liongate’s former vice-chairman, is an investor. Furthermore, Ad Rise, the company that has always been at the core of Tubi’s operations, is also a notable investor, having raised $4 million in the capital.
Although Tubi was wildly popular for a time in Europe, it has recently become unavailable in the EU. This occurred as a result of the General Data Protection Regulation that went into effect on May 25, 2018. Of course, in light of Tubi providing top-tier streaming content for free, one of the major caveats includes heavy data mining of users. I figure I should let that be known upfront, that way, in case this is a dealbreaker, you can choose to proceed accordingly.
Tubi appears to only be growing in recent years as well. In 2019, for instance, CEO Farhad Massoud went public with Tubi’s intent to double its 2018 expenditures on content licensing, bringing the annual number to nearly $100 million. The same year, Tubi signed landmark distribution agreements with NBC Universal, accounting for an additional 400 TV episodes and movies.
Tubi, too, has continued to increase its reach, growing in the number of devices that the service is available on. On September 25, for instance, Tubi’s platform became available on Vizio Smartcast TVs. And in October, Tubi launched Tubi Kids, a dedicated channel on the platform that provides children’s content solely. The service also launched in the United Kingdom in early 2020, and it has announced its intent to expand to Mexico as well.
Tubi offers an intuitive and sleek interface. I trust that anyone who has used Netflix before will instinctively know how to navigate Tubi like a veteran. It’s a similar design as Netflix, though I would argue that Tubi is even simpler. Easily browse titles, by Most Popular, New Releases, and genre. Each section, like Netflix, offers a side-scrolling menu of options.
Tubi looks good, functions well, and is easy for anyone to use.
Content and Features
Tubi has thousands of titles, many of which are widely known and popular. Whether you are looking for your favorite classic movies, hot new TV series, or cult classics, Tubi has a little bit of something for everyone. Although Tubi has content from “over 200 partners,” according to its splash page, some of the most notable production studios include Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount, NBC Universal, and Starz. As is the case with any streaming service that specializes in syndicated (as opposed to original) content, though, the titles that are actually available are based on contracts and, thus, are subject to change from season to season (depending on contract length).
As far as free streaming services go, Tubi is probably one of the most widely accessible. Available on just about every device there is, you will never have to go without Tubi. Whether you use Roku, Android, iOS, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Xfinity X1, X Box, PlayStation, Tivo, Chromecast, or your laptop, you will be able to access Tubi’s thousands of titles no matter where you are.
When it comes to user features, Tubi, just like Netflix and any other premium service, learns what you like over time. It will recommend TV shows and movies based on your viewing habits, and it allows you to add titles to customizable lists.
Mobile and Desktop Experience
Tubi has to be the highest-rated free streaming app that I have ever seen on the Apple App Store. In fact, it might be the highest-rated streaming app, the period that I have seen there. With an average user rating of 4.7 stars (out of 5), people seem to love the Tubi app. Even more impressive, though, is the user rating of 4.6 that Tubi has received from Android users who tend to be a bit pickier and harder to impress with apps in general.
In addition to an excellent selection of content, reviewers of the app cite how user-friendly the layout is, how functionally flawless it is (very few streaming issues), and, of course, how top-notch the service is for the fact that it is free.
Pricing and Plans
So, although you do not pay with your wallet when it comes to Tubi, some would argue that there are other ways in which you will pay. You pay, for instance, with your time. Tubi is 100% ad-supported, so do expect the service to be heavy with the ads and commercial breaks. Furthermore, Tubi is also very heavy with its data mining, which is why it is currently unavailable in the EU. So, if that is a dealbreaker, Tubi may not be the free streaming service for you, after all.
Suggestions that I have for Tubi
I would obviously love to see Tubi back off of my data and privacy. It would also be preferable for Tubi to at least offer a premium option for which I could choose to pay a monthly fee to bypass ads.