Tubi: Is this free streaming service worth your time?

This free, ad-supported streaming service is home to some real gems - you just have to look for them.

3 out of 5 stars
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    Free to use
  • Check
    Surprisingly decent catalogue
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    Occasional ads
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    Small library compared to U.S.
Georgia Dixon
Digital Content Editor
Read More
January 05, 2021
3 min read

Our verdict on Tubi

Tubi's free streaming service is a pleasant surprise, with a wide range of classic and quirky movies and TV series. It's ad-supported, but you'll run into more ads on free-to-air than while watching one of Tubi's B-movies.

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What is Tubi?

We’ve all heard of Netflix, Stan and Amazon Prime Video, but there’s a lesser-known, kinda weird cousin in the streaming family that we’d like to introduce to you - Tubi.

Tubi is a free-to-use streaming service that was acquired by Fox in early 2020. It was first launched in the US back in 2014 but only made its way to Aussie shores in late 2019. And, in case you were wondering, it is legal. Unlike most services’ subscription models, Tubi is 100% ad-supported.

Despite this, there aren’t quite as many ads as you might expect. According to Tubi’s support centre, their ad breaks are short (one to two minutes long) and only disrupt your viewing every 15 minutes or so. To test it, we watched a movie and a couple of TV episodes and only encountered about half a dozen ads. Realistically, you’d probably catch more during an episode of MasterChef.

What’s worth watching on Tubi?

It’s what you came here for, right? To find out if the content is worth a few unskippable ads? In our opinion, you really can’t go wrong. Tubi’s Australian offering launched with over 7,000 titles, however, the company expects to expand the catalogue to match the US and Canada’s 20,000-strong service.

There seem to be three major categories of content on Tubi: Classic films and TV series, quirky independent flicks and docos, and B-movies - a LOT of B-movies.

In the classics corner, we have a surprisingly good range of iconic TV series and even films by the likes of Hitchcock (the 1954 thriller Dial M for Murder) and Stanley Donen (Charade, starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant). There’s also a decent selection of old-school spaghetti westerns starring John Wayne, Charles Bronson and Peter Fonda. Otherwise, if you feel like channelling your inner detective, there are nine seasons of Midsomer Murders and eight seasons of Crime Stories to keep you busy.

As for the indie picks, there’s the 2016 comedy-drama Miss Stevens, starring Timothee Chalamet, 2018’s Sometimes Always Never with Bill Nighy and the super creepy but incredibly riveting 2009 documentary Cropsey.

Now, on to the really fun bit - the B-movies. Did you know there was a Titanic 2? Or a Triassic World? Neither did we, but they exist, and you can find them (along with one of the biggest mockbuster selections we’ve ever seen) on Tubi. There are literally thousands of low-budget, Sharknado-esque creations floating around, just waiting to be watched. We’re talking Alien Predator (not to be confused with Alien vs. Predator), Avengers Grimm: Time Wars (nope, not Avengers: Infinity War), and, my personal favourite, the Indiana Jones Jack Hunter trilogy.

How can I watch Tubi?

Even though it’s a free service, Tubi has most of the bells and whistles of the subscription-based behemoths. The website is intuitive and easy to use (although the search function could use some work) and you don’t even have to sign up to watch content. Like Netflix and Stan, you can create a watch list, but don’t expect any AI-assisted fancy recommendations based on what you’ve watched or rated.

For all your on-the-go B-movie needs, the iOS and Android apps are both really robust. However they lack the ability to download content for offline watching, so you’ll probably end up chewing through quite a bit of data.

Prefer to watch Tubi on the tube? Done. They’ve got an app for Apple TV, Android TV, Samsung, Sony and Vizio Smart TVs, Xbox and PlayStation, as well as Chromecast support. We tested it on a PS4 and Chromecast device, and both were extremely smooth experiences.

What’s the picture quality like?

Let’s rip the bandaid off: Tubi definitely isn’t 4K. It’s not even 1080p. In fact, the best you can expect is 720p - and even then, many older films and TV series can’t even hit that. Realistically, no one’s watching Tubi to show off their new state-of-the-art telly. But it’s still pretty good for what it is - free.

Georgia Dixon
Written by
Georgia Dixon
Georgia Dixon has over seven years' experience writing about all things tech, entertainment and lifestyle, with bylines in TechLife magazine, 7NEWS and Stuff.co.nz. In her spare time, you'll find her playing games and daydreaming about good food, wine, and dogs.

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