Vizio SmartCast TVs get early access to 30 free streaming channels

Home entertainment company Vizio has launched 30 free streaming channels on its SmartCast TVs, the company has announced, giving quarantined customers some additional entertainment. The new content is available as of April 7; it spans a variety of genres, including news, comedy, entertainment, sports, music, and lifestyle.

The newly added free channels include networks like "Law & Crime," "Hungry," "Fail Army," "Divorce Court," "CBC News," "Adventure Sports Network," "Food52," "OutsideTV," "Hollywire," "TMZ," "WeatherSpy," "This Old House," "USA Today," "People Are Awesome," and more. Vizio smart TV owners can find the new free content under the 'Free Channels' category on the SmartCast home screen.

These new channels join Vizio's existing WatchFree offering, which is powered by the free Pluto TV live TV streaming service from ViacomCBS. With WatchFree, Vizio customers have access to more than 150 streaming TV channels, according to the company, including networks like the Pluto TV version of Nick Jr., Comedy Central's Stand-Up, Spike Outdoors, Pluto TV Travel, MTV Dating, Fox Sports, and more.

Free streaming video platforms have become increasingly common among companies that are fighting for viewers and customers in the increasingly crowded streaming market. As more companies launch their own on-demand and live streaming services, consumers are increasingly limiting the number of plans they're willing to pay for, instead filling in the content gaps with free ad-supported services like Pluto TV and OTA broadcast television.

Vizio had originally intended to launch its free streaming channels later this spring season, but as with many companies, made the decision to speed up the launch amid the coronavirus pandemic. Video streaming has seen a surge in demand as consumers turn to new and familiar services for entertainment.