Free Streaming Giant Tubi Is Back In UK: Is It Any Good?

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Tubi, the popular ad-supported streaming service, has officially returned to UK shores today, six years after its initial departure.

The platform, which has seen significant success in the US with nearly 80 million monthly active users, now offers British viewers a vast library of over 20,000 movies and TV episodes – all free.

Known for its eclectic mix of content in the US, ranging from Hollywood blockbusters to cult classics, Tubi aims to carve out a niche in the crowded UK streaming market.

However, as with many free, ad-supported services across the Atlantic, UK viewers may find the content selection somewhat different from that of their American counterparts.

What is Tubi?

Tubi, launched in 2014 and now owned by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Corporation, is a free streaming service that offers movies and TV shows supported by adverts.

Tubi streaming service on a phone
Photo: Deposit Photos

It has grown to become one of the largest ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) platforms in the US, boasting nearly 80 million monthly active users.

Being ad-supported, Tubi allows users to access its extensive content library without any subscription fees. Instead, viewers must sit through several advert breaks while streaming.

In the US, Tubi has built a reputation for offering a mix of content, from Hollywood blockbusters and independent films to classic TV shows and original productions.

Its library has expanded significantly over the years, with the US version boasting over 200,000 titles as of last year.

Tubi’s unique selling point has been its ability to secure rights to some premium TV shows and films – the kind typically found on paid streaming services – albeit often focusing on older content.

This strategy has allowed it to compete effectively with subscription-based services, by being free.

Other free, ad-supported services like The Roku Channel and Amazon’s Freevee are catching up though (at least in the US), also offering a mix of blockbusters and lesser-known titles.

Freevee app bosch
Amazon’s Freevee

Tubi initially expanded to the UK years ago, but withdrew in 2018, along with its presence in Europe, due to GDPR compliance issues.

During its absence from the UK, Tubi has continued to grow and evolve in other markets. It’s currently available in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Australia.

Late in 2023, Tubi set its sights on returning to the UK, by appointing David Salmon as Executive Vice President and Managing Director, International.

Now, after a six-year hiatus, Tubi is making its official comeback to the British market, aiming to replicate its North American success.

Tubi’s UK Return

Tubi’s UK launch brings over 20,000 movies and TV episodes to British viewers.

The content library includes titles from major distributors such as Disney, Lionsgate, NBCUniversal, and Sony Pictures Entertainment, as well as a selection of Tubi Originals.

Tubi app on Fire TV

Anjali Sud, CEO of Tubi, stated, “We are launching with one of the largest and most diverse content libraries in the UK, designed to indulge viewers in everything from blockbusters to original stories to hidden gems.”

The service is available as a free app on some of the major streaming platforms such as Amazon’s Fire TV, iOS and Android smartphones, and via web browsers (however, it’s not available on Roku in the UK, as of this writing).

David Salmon emphasised the platform’s focus on diverse content: “We believe that we can build a brilliantly broad, culturally ambitious offering that puts UK audiences back at the centre, and makes it fun and easy to enjoy great entertainment from around the world.”

Tubi in the UK: What’s it like?

While Tubi’s arrival is welcome news for those seeking more free streaming options, UK viewers should temper their expectations regarding well-known films and TV shows.

As with many free, ad-supported services like Pluto TV and The Roku Channel, Tubi’s UK library tends to focus on a large selection of obscure films and TV shows, with only a sprinkling of better-known titles.

This discrepancy is even more pronounced in the UK compared to the US version.

While American viewers might scroll through a more comprehensive selection of blockbusters and classic TV shows, UK users might feel they’ve stumbled into an old, independent video rental store.

For instance, the US version of Tubi offers a superhero binge with Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman 1984, Batman and Aquaman, along with several of the Fast and Furious films.

Tubi US Fast and Furious
Tubi US

In the mood for some classic Tom Cruise? Rainman’s at your service. Feeling nostalgic for some 90s sci-fi? Jurassic Park is just a click away.

And TV fans in the US can indulge in popular series like Empire, Scandal, Gotham, Babylon 5, and even quirky classics like NYPD Blue, Alf, and Soap.

Meanwhile, on our side of the pond, Tubi UK’s offering is considerably more… let’s say, eclectic – but there are a few well-known (albeit old) titles.

Twilight fans can rejoice as the entire saga is available. Action enthusiasts might enjoy Olympus Has Fallen, though they’ll have to look elsewhere for its sequels.

Comedy lovers can take a trip back to 1996 with Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore. And for those with a penchant for creepy dolls, Child’s Play 2 and 3 are on offer (though the absence of the first film might leave you wondering if Chucky got lost in customs).

TV options include the cult sci-fi series Farscape (a personal favourite of mine), the ever-educational MythBusters, and Boss, a 2012 political drama starring Kelsey Grammer, which was actually quite good – but was cancelled after two seasons.

Farscape tv show
Farscape

Tubi also offers a selection of ‘Tubi Originals’ that are available in the UK. These range from the aquatic thriller Blind Waters (because who doesn’t love an “unrelenting shark” ruining a holiday?) to Clickbait: Unfollowed (a cautionary tale for aspiring influencers).

For those seeking something a bit different, there’s My Crazy Quince, a series celebrating wild Quinceañera moments, or VICE News Presents: Searching for Masculinity, along with a few other Vice News documentaries.

The contrast between the US and UK offerings is perhaps best illustrated by their respective homepages. While US viewers are greeted by Wonder Woman, UK users are welcomed by the aforementioned “unrelenting shark”.

Tubi UK Blind Waters
Tubi UK

That being said, those who enjoy niche programming, and especially horror B-movie fans, are likely to find lots of binge-watching material.

As for the adverts, they appear to be minimal at launch, but users can expect their frequency to increase as the service becomes more established in the UK market.

Despite these limitations, Tubi’s arrival does offer another free option for UK streaming enthusiasts.

It might not be the treasure trove of blockbusters and hit shows that its US counterpart offers, but for those willing to dig a little deeper and embrace the unconventional, Tubi UK might just become a quirky addition to their streaming repertoire.

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3 thoughts on “Free Streaming Giant Tubi Is Back In UK: Is It Any Good?”

  1. I’ll take a look if it ever becomes available via my Roku. I can add it to all the other channels showing rubbish films and TV shows that I never watch.

    Reply

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