There is no shortage of video streaming services to choose from these days, most of which have two things in common. They require a monthly subscription, and they have a “plus” appended to their names. TV maker Vizio, however, is following only one of those trends. It has recently announced that it is upgrading its WatchFree free streaming video service into “WatchFree+” without asking for anything in return. Except at least for your data that it uses to personalize the recommendations it makes to viewers.
Vizio’s WatchFree+ is expanding its coverage with hundreds of free channels that span different entertainment categories and genres, including CNN, Pluto TV, FOX Sports, and Paramount Movies, just to name a small few. For those who already know what they want to watch, that volume is no problem, but it can be overwhelming for those still looking for something to watch. That’s why Vizio is also upgrading its user experience to make it easier to search and discover new content.
WatchFree+ offers what Vizio bills as “streamlined search” to get access to content with as few steps as needed. One can even navigate the UI by voice, using either the Vizio Voice remote or the SmartCast app for Android and iOS. The program guide also now has a “Featured” category to suggest seasonal content and pop-up channels exclusive to the free streaming service.
Vizio is also making its own themed collection of channels. Vizio Fork and Flight, for example, showcases culinary shows mixed with travel channels. Vizio Investigation, on the other hand, makes you feel like a detective going through real crimes or a spirit hunter exploring the unknown.
Vizio WatchFree+ will automatically land on support Vizio SmartCast TVs as a free update. Owners should probably be aware that much of these personalized experiences come from the company’s Inscape viewing data, which can be optionally turned off by more privacy-conscious users.