A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tubi TV is a streaming-movie and -TV series site that runs ads every 10 minutes or so during showings. The Kids and Family section has 60 titles, and the remainder of the site carries more adult-oriented titles numbering in the thousands. Ads cannot be skipped but appear to be aligned with the ratings of the titles; for example, ads during kids' titles promote teaching as a profession. Adult titles include R-rated, M, and NR titles, and users can create an account simply by logging in with an email and password.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Tubi TV is a multiplatform movie and TV series service that carries some classics, such as Star Trek V, Night of the Living Dead, and Ordinary People, plus some lesser-known festival award-winners, such as Falling Angels and Alamar. Unique categories include Best of British, Women First, Korean Drama, Music, Grindhouse, and Killer Kung Fu. Kids and Family standouts include Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown, Jim Henson titles such as Fraggle Rock, some Disney knockoffs, and more. Social-media links are plentiful, as are ads that interrupt play but can be muted manually. Tubi TV can be accessed via Xbox 360, Roku, iPad or iPhone, Google Play Store, Amazon Fire TV, or a Web browser. Closed-captioning is available for some titles, and there are of course subtitles for foreign flicks.
Is it any good?
Tubi TV exemplifies a new breed of Web-based entertainment services that blend on-demand streaming with the old days when we paused for "announcements." The total number of titles is impressive, with about 15 percent category overlap, but there are only a few recognizable classics. A good number of foreign films, especially from Korea, and global festival award-winners plus inspiring independent titles will broaden your kids' horizons or put smiles on their faces, and the Music and Get Fit! categories offer variety and depth. Some documentaries might test your kids' patience but expand their global cultural knowledge in the same stroke.
Though there are plenty of titles to keep you and your family busy for a good while, the Kids and Family section is the only place to reliably avoid R-rated films and mature TV series. There also doesn't appear to be a way to purchase a subscription or buy titles ad-free. Getting the whole shebang for nothing is nice -- make no mistake -- but having the choice to go ad-free at least on occasion would be even nicer. Though Tubi TV lacks a queue, it does have a "keep watching" feature. Overall, despite its shortcomings, Tubi TV is a worthwhile free entertainment resource for adults. For kids under 17 who are surfing the Web independently, the potential exposure to mature content probably isn't worth the benefits.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why ratings exist. What makes a movie or TV show appropriate for a certain age? Do you think some kids can handle more than others? Why?
There are lots of documentaries available on Tubi TV; viewing one is a great opportunity to start a conversation. After watching Alamar, do a bit of research as a family about fishing cultures in Mexico and the work of Mexican director Pedro González-Rubio.
Enjoy titles that have won festival awards, and set a goal to attend a festival as a family one day.
- Subjects: Social Studies: cultural understanding, global awareness
Arts: acting, film
Hobbies: cooking, sports
- Skills: Emotional Development: empathy
Responsibility & Ethics: embracing differences, respect for others
Health & Fitness: exercise
- Genre: Video Sites
- Pricing structure: Free