Here are the FAST services you should know

FAST, or free streaming television with ads, is the closest thing to cable without actually paying for it. As the name implies, FAST services allow you to watch a wide selection of content while browsing individual “channels”, all without a subscription. While FAST services may not get the latest and greatest content, they’re still a nice option to have when you want to jump into a random show or movie without taking ages to decide what to watch on Netflix. Plus, you don’t even need to create an account to watch shows on most FAST services, so you can hop on and off as you please. All you need to do is check out some ads.

Here we’ve put together a list of some of the most popular FAST services you might want to try if you’re suffering from Netflix burnout.

Pluto TV

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Pluto TV, which is owned by Paramount, offers over 250 different channels to browse, along with thousands of free shows and movies that you can watch on demand, without the need for an account. It has one of our favorite UIs, starting from the channel you last watched instead of forcing you to choose a channel every time you open the app. Like most other FAST services, Pluto TV offers channels dedicated to specific shows and their genres, but being Paramount means it has many Paramount properties you’ve heard of, including Star Trek And CSI.

There are also a large number of movie channels to choose from, and Pluto TV also has some of its own channels, such as Pluto TV Spotlight, Pluto TV Crime Movies, and Pluto TV Staff Picks, featuring shows and movies curated by the service.

And because Paramount owns CBS, Pluto TV also provides access to local CBS news stations in major cities such as Baltimore, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, New York, Detroit and others, making it feel like you’re actually using a linear TV in instead of a FAST service. You can use the Pluto TV app on a range of smart TVs and devices, including Android, iOS and on the web.

The Roku Channel

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Roku, the company known for its set-top boxes and its Roku-enabled smart TVs, also has a FAST service called The Roku Channel. Here you can access countless shows and movies on more than 350 channels without creating an account. That includes some of the discontinued shows that Warner Bros. Discovery sent out earlier this year, as well as some original content from Roku, such as The heart 2 with Kevin Hart or Martha cooks with Martha Stewart.

What really sets Roku apart from other services is the user interface. Browsing The Roku Channel is a bit more like scrolling through Netflix than typical linear TV, with live content in a carousel towards the top of the screen and all other on-demand content split into categories below. It has quite a wide range of content, including classic movies and TV shows, sitcoms, reality shows, and sports.

The Roku channel also lists Premium content from services like Paramount Plus, Showtime, and AMC Plus, which you have to pay for. While some of these Premium shows let you play the first episode for free, if you want to continue, you’ll have to pay for a subscription to the service it comes from. This makes The Roku Channel look like a cross between a FAST service, a traditional media store, and a hub for your subscriptions.

Now for the bad. One of the biggest drawbacks to the service is that you can only watch it from your TV if you have a Roku device, Amazon Fire TV device, or a Samsung smart TV. Otherwise, you can use the service from Roku’s desktop site or mobile app, casting is not allowed.


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Tubi, owned by Fox, has a huge collection of live and on-demand content. It sits behind The Roku Channel as the second most popular FAST service, with 64 million monthly active users in February. With over 50,000 movies and TV shows on tap, Tubi has one of the largest streaming libraries in the FAST space. It also has a wide selection of local news channels from networks such as Fox, ABC and NBC. That makes it one of the more attractive options for people looking to replace cable (or their old TV antenna).

Like Roku, Tubi also has some of its own Tubi Originals, although some of them seem rather cheesy. The service added even more content when Tubi and Roku signed a deal with Warner Bros. earlier this year. Discovery, through which West world, the wife of the time traveler, Raised by wolves, How it’s made, and others to both platforms. Aside from that, you can find basically any genre of movie or TV show you’re looking for (just look at that huge menu when you hover over the Browse button).

Tubi is available on a number of platforms, including Android, iOS, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Xfinity X1, Xbox, Samsung smart TVs, Sony smart TVs, PlayStation, the web, and more. You can view the full list of supported devices on Tubi’s website.


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Freevee – formerly called IMDb Freedive and then IMDb TV – is a FAST service owned by Amazon. And because this is an Amazon-owned product means that you must sign in to your Amazon account (or create a new account) to actually use the service. Once you’re logged in, you can access a wealth of on-demand movies and TV shows in an interface much like Amazon Prime Video.

Freevee also has its own originals, including one Judge Judy reboot, a Alex Rider series and documentaries about stars such as Post Malone and Luke Bryan. There’s also some live content, including channels of news, reality shows, classics, and more, but it really feels like Freevee prioritizes on-demand shows.

You can access the Freevee app from virtually anywhere. It’s available on a variety of smart TVs from LG, Samsung, and Amazon, and you can also access it from streaming devices, including the Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, and Roku devices, as well as the web, Android, and iOS.


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While Plex is mostly known as a kind of homemade Netflix server software, it also has its own FAST service that you can use with or without setting up a server. It includes a large library of live and on-demand content, with a channel guide with an easy-to-use interface that lets you sort content by genre.

The 200+ channels on the service include channels dedicated to some of the shows you’ll often see on other FAST platforms, such as Portlandia, Top gearAnd Ice road truckers. It also has a sizable collection of over 50,000 on-demand shows and movies such as Pulp Fiction And Hannibal. But the flexibility – and accessibility – of Plex is what really makes it stand out.

Not only can you use the service to set up your own media server, but you can also access it on just about any device, including smart TVs, streaming devices, game consoles, mobile phones, and even VR systems. Plex also claims that it is available in almost every country in the world.

Bad game

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Xumo Play, owned by Comcast, is yet another QUICK option you can try. It comes with a number of live national and local news channels along with a wide variety of networks playing movies, sports, crime TV shows and more 24/7. It’s also quite easy to browse all the content as you can navigate the live TV guide or choose from a list of different networks.

The content on Xumo Play doesn’t really stand out from the other services listed here, but it does have some (very cheesy looking) originals, as well as some semi-recent exclusive shows and movies that you can only stream on the service, such as that of 2021 Fortress And Catch the bullet. Xumo’s software also helps drive the FAST channels on Google TVs, as well as the LG Channels app built into LG smart TVs, so you may notice the same content in all three apps.

Xumo is part of Comcast’s larger goal to create a streaming hardware ecosystem like Roku as part of its partnership with Charter. While it’s built into the company’s rebranded Xumo TVs and Xumo Stream Boxes, it’s also available on the web, Android, iOS, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Sling Freestream

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Not only does Sling offer a paid subscription to live TV, it also has the Sling Freestream FAST service that just rolled out in February 2023. To date, it has more than 270 live channels with 40,000 on-demand titles, including The kitchen of hell, The living DeadAnd Bob’s burgers. While you don’t need to sign up for a Freestream account, it allows you to unlock features that allow you to save channels, shows, movies, and create profiles for different members of your household.

And if you want to watch more recent content, you can switch to the Rent tab where you can rent various movies for a fee, such as Belief And Stockroom. Of course, this isn’t ideal if you already have access to these movies on another streaming service, but it’s a nice option if you don’t mind paying a fee.

Sling Freestream is available through the Sling TV app on a number of platforms, including the web, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, and many others.

Samsung TVPlus

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Samsung TV Plus is the company’s own take on a FAST service. While it was initially only available on Samsung-branded smart TVs, Galaxy smartphones, and even its own refrigerators, the company slowly expanded its reach. The service is now free to watch from the company’s desktop site and Android app, and reports indicate that Samsung is thinking about bringing it to other manufacturers’ smart TVs.

As Samsung looks to grow its service, it’s also building content. Last year it added Top Gear, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, And NCIS to the service, announcing its plans to triple the amount of on-demand content it has on the platform this year through “new and expanded partnerships” with Lionsgate, Vice Media and others.

It has also created some of its own original channels, such as the home improvement-focused Home.Made.Nation channel it launched in partnership with A&E. Samsung TV Plus currently offers access to 220 different channels in the US, a small fraction of the 1,600 channels it offers in 24 different countries.

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