I’m guessing that everyone who’s reading this post has, at the very least, experienced watching something on Netflix. Whether is to give the free trial a spin, “borrow” someone’s Netflix’s account to watch some stuff or even pay good money for the subscription based streaming service, you know what it’s like. With it being such as success all around the world, is it any wonder that so many streaming services like Disney+, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, CBS All Access, Apple TV and many, many, many more are popping out of the woodwork to get a slice of the streaming service pie. While I think this is going to be a problem in the future, there’s just no stopping companies from copying Netflix’s success.
But there is one important linchpin to all of the imitators. In order to acquire their content, you have to pay a small fee each and every month. You have to subscribe to get into their vast catalog of movies and television shows. That’s how they make their money and that’s how they will keep giving you more content… or so they say.
Well, what if I told you that there is a service that allows you to stream movies and television shows for free and, more importantly, legally? This is where Tubi comes in.
First, you might me asking, “How does Tubi make money if it isn’t asking for money from viewers?” Well, that’s easy and it may be a tiny bitter pill to swallow. Tubi generally makes money through commercials that will pop in throughout the thing you’re watching. Whether it be a movie, television show or anime, there will be some ads that will show up. That may sound like a dealbreaker for some people but from my experience, these commercial breaks aren’t that long. The longest one I’ve seen was a couple of ads that lasted for one solid minute. I appreciate the little timer that pops in on the lower left corner of the screen, telling viewers how long the ads will present itself. It’s oddly comforting to know that I won’t be sitting through three whole minutes of ads and I’ll just be watching two quick commercials.
Tubi is also available on various platforms, such as Android and iOS devices. It’s also available on streaming service devices like the Amazon Firestick and even the PlayStation 3 and 4. However, I basically just watch Tubi using my web browser; the reason will be apparent later on.
Anyway, Tubi’s interface is relatively clean, if rather no-frills. All the films and TV shows are all categorized into their own genre, which is kind of weird, in my opinion. This makes it rather difficult if you’re in the mood to binge watch a television show or just hankering for a movie. If you do have a specific show or movie you wanna check out, Tubi’s search engine is functional since exact matches will definitely work and it does get you what you want even when you misspell even the entire title or actor’s name slightly. However, somewhat atrocious misspelling will lead to Tubi’s search engine totally missing out on the thing you want, even if you correctly spelled the rest of the title.
However, any streaming service, even if it is free, isn’t worth anything if it doesn’t have any good content in its library. This is where it becomes difficult to say Tubi’s cool or if Tubi sucks. On one hand, a lot of what they offer isn’t available anywhere. I mean, I don’t think you’ll find the original Re-Animator, The Giant Claw and Fists of Fury on services like Netflix or Amazon Prime. There’s definitely a lot of good stuff to find in Tubi that can’t be found on other streaming services. However, that’s both a good thing and a bad thing because most of Tubi’s cavalcade of content doesn’t consists of the blockbuster or mainstream variety.
There’s a lot of schlock B-Movies and cult classics like Fists of Fury, Hell Comes to Frogtown, the original Suspiria and even Plan 9 from Outer Space! If you’re into that kind of thing, then Tubi is definitely for you! However, a lot of these gems can be buried under a lot of crap that you won’t care about so it might be very difficult to really see something you like to watch. Then again, one person’s trashy movie is another person’s treasure! I mean, it takes a specific kind of person to watch something like Teenage Bank Heist by choice, doesn’t it?
Oh, and if the movies I mentioned above don’t show up on your Tubi library, that’s probably because I’m in the Philippines and you’re in a different region. Like most media streaming sites, a lot of Tubi’s content, whether is be movies, television programs and anime, are region locked. Now, I do have a VPN which allows me to switch my region to get around this but, if you don’t have one, then you’re pretty much stuck with Tubi’s offerings. This is exactly why I usually use Tubi through my computer’s web browser as I have to go through the VPN to get some of the stuff I really want to see because, honestly, Tubi’s offerings in the Philippines is severely limited when you compare it to regions like the United States!
For example, do you remember that super cool anime Cowboy Bebop? If you’re an anime lover who grew up in the end of the century, you do! Well, I can’t watch Cowboy Bebop in Tubi if I log in from the Philippines location. However, I can if I say I’m in the United States! In fact, besides Cowboy Bebop, the US side of Tubi has some classics like the entire Robotech saga, Blue Submarine No. 6, Fist of the North Star, Galaxy Express 999 and Space Dandy! Still, the simple fact that Tubi has Cowboy Bebop and you can watch the entire series for free anything is already amazing… if you’re in the United States, that is.
However, the increased library does mean there is just more schlock to dive through and, like I said before, that’s both a pro and a con. Most of the stuff on Tubi is definitely more on the direct-to-video kind of film but there are still some stuff that you just might like that you can’t see anywhere else. In fact, Tubi even has a specific section called “Not on Netflix” because they want to really let you know about the stuff you can see there but not anywhere else! Tubi’s also rather upfront about the stuff that they’re going to be losing with their “Leaving Soon” category. However, I really wish they actually mention when these films and shows will be unavailable instead of just the warning.
Overall, I guess Tubi is actually pretty good for real movie aficionados and TV buffs who like classics. However, this recommendation comes with a couple of caveats. You generally have to be in someplace like the United States that has a ton of content because, if you’re stuck in a place like the Philippines and you don’t have a VPN to connect to a server outside the country, good luck in finding something you really like! Also, Tubi doesn’t really go for more mainstream content so the casual viewer may just stick to something like Netflix or Amazon Prime that’s sure to have the latest blockbuster or new show. But, if you’re someone who’s more adventurous or wants to see a good B-movie or two, Tubi has you covered.
Have you tried watching on Tubi? Did you see anything you like? Let me know in the comments section below!