Pluto TV and Littlstar: Two Uniquely Entertaining Free Apple TV Apps

 Two Uniquely Entertaining Free Apple TV Apps

I cut the cord years ago, and with my Apple TV there was one thing I missed: the couch-potato mode of sitting and flipping through the channels. Opening and closing apps just wasn't the same. Then Pluto TV arrived for the fourth-generation Apple TV, offering all the ambience of a cable TV service, including surfing the channels. Also uniquely entertaining is the Littlstar app, which offers 360-degree videos. You swipe the touchpad of the Apple TV remote to view every direction.

Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers a program guide just like that you'd find on a cable TV service, including programs airing at specific times. You use the Apple TV remote to scroll through and select a program you want to watch. If you're viewing a video, click the remote to return to the program guide.

And here's the fun part. Instead of selecting a program from the program guide, as you're watching a program, you can also flip through the channels simply by swiping up and down on the remote's trackpad.

The app offers 50 channels in the following categories: News, Tech, Sports, Pop Culture, Comedy, Action & Adventure, 4K TV, Anime & Cartoons, Drama, Arts & Lifestyle, Memory Lane, Internet Gold, Chill Out, Geek & Gaming, Tastemakers, Smart Stuff, and Pluto Kids TV. Some categories only have a single channel, while others have a rich variety of offerings.

The News category offers News 24/7, NBC News/MSNBC, Sky News, Business News 24/7, and The Weather Network. The Sports category shades toward kickboxing, extreme sports, snowboarding, and skating. The Comedy category offers Standup TV, Cracked, and Onion TV.

Memory Lane offers classic movies and TV shows, with channels such as Drive-In Movies, Classic Movies, and  Classic TV. If you like viral videos of people injuring themselves, you'll enjoy the Internet Gold category, which includes Fail TV, Pranks TV, and AnimaLOLZ. Smart Stuff offers Science TV and DocuTV.

Despite all this content, the two channels I use the most are 4K TV and Slow TV. Both offer gorgeous scenery with easy listening music in the background. 4K TV focuses on travel footage, with exotic locales such as Myanmar (screenshot below) and Morocco. It also, however, includes urban locals, such as a program on LA's Hottest Bars.

Slow TV offers lush nature videos with pleasing background music. One program I recently watched was called The Seasons, showing landscapes at different times of the year with Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" chamber music in the background.

Littlstar

This app is also unique, in that it offers 360-degree video for a really immersive experience. You can look straight up or down or in any other direction as the video plays. You simply swipe the trackpad on the Apple TV remote to view whatever direction you like.

If you want to use the Apple TV feature of zooming ahead in the video, you click the trackpad to show the progress bar and then swipe forward or backward.

The app offers a surprising number of videos, including nature videos from the Discovery Channel (sharks, giraffes, rhinos, elephants, lions), sports (mainly championship boxing), arts (backstage with a ballerina at Lincoln Center), popular culture (Tina Fey at the premiere of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot), and fashion (models on a catwalk).

The travel videos are especially appealing and include tours of Paris and Rome, and videos titled Inside Syria and Inside North Korea.

Unfortunately, the videos aren't categorized, other than Featured, Popular, and Latest.

PlutoTV has commercial interruptions, but Littlstar is commercial-free.

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Author Details

Jim Karpen's picture

Author Details

Jim Karpen

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.