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Is Tubi Really Free? Yes, And It’s Worth Using

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Tubi really is free and it’s definitely worth using. There are already plenty of streaming services to choose from and many homes may find they don’t really need yet another one. Then again, of course they do, and especially when the service costs absolutely nothing to use each month.

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The streaming market has been growing in two different directions over the past few years. There are those that have been continually increasing in price, with live TV services a prime example. However, it’s not just live TV. Netflix, Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, and others have all increased in price as well. Then there are those that are racing to be the cheapest option, even offering access for free.

Tubi falls very clearly into the latter camp, as it is completely free to use. There are no tiers like Peacock where consumers can watch for free, but only some of the content. Instead, everything that is available to watch on Tubi, is available to watch without having to pay anything. There are also no caps on watching with users able to stream for as long as they want. Although you can (and probably should) create an account, one isn’t required. There’s no handing over of email addresses or phone numbers, let alone payment methods, if you don’t want to. Put simply, it is a free service.

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Where’s the Tubi catch?

There isn’t really one. Tubi is simply a free movies and TV service, and that’s by the design. Yes, it does include ad breaks but that’s sort of the point. Like many other similar services, Tubi relies on ads to generate revenue, removing the need for users to pay for the service each month. To some, the use of ads might be considered a catch, but it’s not really. Live TV is already full of ads and consumers pay on top. Services like HBO Max, Peacock, Paramount Plus, and Discovery Plus offer ad-supported plans which consumers still have to pay for. Even Disney Plus and Netflix are working on ad versions now. Similar to the other services, if and when ads arrive on Netflix and Disney Plus they won’t make these services free to use, just a little cheaper than they currently are.

In this sense, the use of ads on Tubi shouldn’t really be considered a catch. The service is free to use and has no immediate limits that are of concern. In fact, after using the service over a long period, the ad load is surprisingly light. They are not overly frequent nor do they last an unnaturally long time. They are a reasonable amount of ads, and especially when considering the service is free. For those that want a less anecdotal explanation of the ads, Tubi claims ad breaks are one to two minutes long and take place roughly every 15 minutes, resulting in 4 to 8 minutes of ads per hour.

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To be clear, Tubi is not a must-have service. Even though it is free, and the library of movies and shows (movies more so than shows) is extensive, many won’t find the catalog quite as appealing as other streaming services. The limited resolution in comparison may also be a turn off for some. However, Tubi is not designed to replace those services. It is simply one that’s worth having in addition to those others. Tubi has even started releasing its own Tubi Originals, providing access to some videos that you won’t find elsewhere. Again, they may not be the very best in terms of budget, but when you’re struggling to find something to watch on HBO Max or Netflix, they just might come in handy.

In terms of the rest of the library, it is mostly made up of really new movies that have not only bypassed the theater but also video (not that ‘video’ is really a thing anymore), and more older movies that were once the cream of the crop. It is in this latter camp where Tubi’s additional value comes in. For those that are often looking for a somewhat older movie and can’t find it on any of the more mainstream services, it could be on Tubi. Although there are no guarantees that it will be, quickly looking through the library will highlight that there are plenty of old and newer classics available to stream.

Tubi Most popular
Tubi most popular

Like any other service, and excluding its own original movies and shows, the library is constantly changing, so what’s there now won’t be tomorrow but could be again in a year from now. More to the point, there is a lot of content available to watch at any given time. Officially, Tubi claims to have “the largest library of content” with access to more than 40,000 movies and television shows. Even though all of them won’t be for everyone, it’s hard to assume there won’t be something for most people available right now. All of which, combined with the fact it doesn’t actually cost anything, makes Tubi a streaming service worth using.

Is Tubi worth it summary

Tubi is free and well worth having access to. A lot of the shows and movies that are available to stream are not the newest or the greatest, but the library is vast, includes a growing number of Originals, and many titles that aren’t currently available to stream through many of the paid subscription services. In reality, consumers are already paying enough for their live TV and on-demand subscription services, and if Tubi did cost something, then it may not be worth it. For no cost, however, it’s hard to really complain too much. Even if it only ever once helps you find that movie you couldn’t stream elsewhere (without renting or buying), then Tubi was worth knowing about and having access to. Of course, if it’s not available on the devices you commonly use at home, then it probably won’t matter that Tubi is really free or that it’s worth using.

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John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

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