XUMO is a free streaming service that offers a way to watch both live and on-demand TV content without the hassle of a monthly subscription.
Taking advantage of agreements with several major television manufacturers, XUMO appears as a default option on many brands of smart TVs. It is also available as a downloadable app on both Android and iOS devices.
The service, which does not require a login, offers more than 190 channels of live streaming content and a library of movies and television shows available on demand.
XUMO joins a crowded field of streaming services that are trying to survive as ad-supported offerings. As part of a series on free streaming options for Team Clark, I decided to give XUMO a test drive on my devices and report back to you on what I found.
For the purposes of this review, I downloaded the XUMO app on both the iOS and Roku platforms. This gave me an opportunity to experience both the mobile and TV presentations for the service.
Table of Contents
What Is XUMO?
XUMO is a free live TV and on-demand streaming service that touts more than 190 different channels. It was launched in 2011 as a joint venture of MySpace’s parent company — Viant Technology — and Panasonic. XUMO is headquartered in California.
In addition to live streaming channels that are genre-specific, XUMO also has a catalog of free on-demand movies and TV shows. XUMO is installed as an option on certain smart televisions from brands like Panasonic, Vizio and LG. It is also available via app on many phones and streaming devices.
How to Watch
You’re not going to need a credit card to check out XUMO and you’re probably going to own at least one device that has access to the service.
There is No Sign Up Process
In a digital world where it seems everyone wants you to have a username and password, XUMO does not require either in order to watch their content. How nice is that?
When I downloaded the app on iOS, it immediately brought me to a live television guide that may remind you of something you’ve seen with a cable or satellite service. Again, there was no email address or credit card number required and no fuss.
From download to launch, you can literally be watching content in a matter of seconds. That’s probably worth noting if you’re on the fence about anything I tell you in this review: You’re just a few seconds from downloading XUMO and trying it out for yourself without risk.
Devices and Apps
If you’re looking to watch the platform on a traditional television, you likely will need to access it via an external streaming device. XUMO is available on the following streaming and casting devices:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Google Chromecast
- Apple TV
If you’re trying to watch XUMO from a smart TV, there’s a chance that one of those devices will not be necessary. The following brands of television already have XUMO available as part of their smart TV offerings:
- LG (via Channel Plus)
Content Available to Stream on XUMO
The content mix on XUMO is ever-changing. According to the service’s official site, XUMO has more than 190 channels to choose from and strives to add two or three new channels per week.
“We are constantly working with new digital and traditional networks to bring you the channels you love,” XUMO says about its content mix. “Check back frequently for updates about new channels.”
While there are plenty of recognizable brands as live streaming content options, the quality and value of the content varies greatly from channel to channel. More on that later. Here’s a quick look at some of the brand names you may recognize that have channels on the XUMO platform:
- ABC News Live
- NBC News
- Bloomberg TV
Many of these news channels, like CBSN and ABC News Live, are available to stream 24-hours on their own websites and apps. However, XUMO does create a more traditional television feel by having them all in one place with the ability to easily switch between channels.
- Sports Illustrated
- ACC Digital Network
- Fox Sports
- PGA Tour
- USA Today Sportswire
It is important to note that some of these channels, like Fox Sports, are not the same as the live TV versions such as FS1 or a regional Fox Sports channel that you might find with a cable subscription. There are no live sporting events on many of these channels.
- AFV (America’s Funniest Home Videos)
- History Channel
- Funny or Die
Many of these entertainment channels showcase abbreviated content for brands that are better known for full-length television shows. For example, when I tuned into the History Channel it was airing Pawn Stars Shorts. Instead of full episodes, these are three-to-five minute segments from an episode that highlight one Pawn Stars transaction.
In addition to its channels format, XUMO has a free on-demand movie selection. It is an interesting mix of cinematic content, to say the least. While there are small samplings of movies featuring recognizable stars like Bill Murray, Harrison Ford and Will Smith, the majority of the offerings are much less recognizable. The collection seems to be pretty dated, as well. I was not able to immediately recognize any titles that had been released in the last few years.
Here’s a look at some of the movies available for free through XUMO:
- Patriot Games
- The Legend of Bagger Vance
- Sherlock Holmes
- Universal Soldier
If you are looking for original content in the way of movie and binge-able TV series, XUMO may not be the spot for you. I looked through their extensive content library, and while some of the content may be original in the sense that a brand is curating a channel just for this service, there is not anything that is being produced specifically by XUMO with the intent of attracting users with original content.
However, XUMO does offer content producers the opportunity to be featured on a channel of their own. So while XUMO isn’t creating it, there is the potential that one of their content partners could create something that is unique to the platform.
XUMO does a pretty nice job of presenting content in an easy-to-use platform with ads that are surprisingly tolerable.
How Bad Are the Ads?
The advertisements on XUMO are actually not too bad.
On the on-demand content via mobile app, you receive advertisements that might remind you of watching a video on a site like YouTube. As you’ll see in the screenshot below, I have red pointers indicating the two hot spots for your ad-watching management.
On the lower left side of the screen, you get a countdown timer that lets you know how much longer the advertisement will air. On the lower right side of the screen, you’ll see the ability to skip an ad after a certain amount of time. With this particular ad, it allowed me the option to skip the ad after just five seconds.
Using the Roku version of XUMO, I noticed that I was almost always subjected to a short commercial break when I tried to switch from one channel to another. This usually included two commercials that varied in length between 20 and 30 seconds.
So, basically, you’re looking at a one-minute tax for deciding you are ready to change the channel. There also were short commercial breaks within a channel if I kept it on the station for a decent length of time, but those seemed to vary with the duration of the content I was watching.
The XUMO interface is pretty straightforward and relatively easy to navigate. Earlier in the story, there is an image of what the live streaming menu looks like in the iOS app. From that menu, you’re able to make your selection full screen and enjoy the show.
For the on-demand section of the service, you’re going to find a menu that is sorted by genre and easily maneuvered by swiping left to right.
The on-demand movies are found in a separate tab from the on-demand content for the channels, as you’ll see on the bottom menu of the above image. The search function, which works for all of the available content, is also located there.
Tips for Enjoying XUMO
Has some of the available content caught your attention? If so, here are some tips for enjoying it on XUMO:
- Try to Forget the DVR Experience: If you’re watching a live streaming channel on XUMO, you can forget the pause or rewind options you may be accustomed to on other streaming services. I found myself trying to pause content with my Roku remote, only to be disappointed time and time again.
- Mark Your Favorites: With 190 or more channels to navigate, it can be easy to get lost browsing if you don’t have a viewing plan. You may find some cool things along the way, but make sure you click the heart next to the channel’s name and logo to save it for later. XUMO will collect all of your favorites and put them at the top of your channel menu moving forward.
- Set Your Content Expectations Appropriately: You’re not going to see the latest episode of NBC’s top comedy or CBS’s top drama, and you’re certainly not getting HBO-quality thrillers on this platform. What you are seeing is content from some reputable content producers in an easy-to-digest format. If you keep that in mind, you’re much less likely to be disappointed with your options.
Final Thoughts on XUMO
Still trying to decide whether or not you should add XUMO to your streaming portfolio? Here are some pros and cons to think over:
XUMO: Pros and Cons
|Blend of live and on-demand content||Dated on-demand content|
|Easy setup process||Short and abbreviated content on some channels|
|Customizable user experience using favorites||No way to pause or rewind live channels|
Bottom Line: XUMO is free, so it is probably worth trying it out to see if it fits into your streaming content mix. But with a growing number of free streaming options available, XUMO has some tough competition in services like Tubi TV and Pluto TV.
Your mileage may vary with the live channel offerings from XUMO, but I can tell you that the on-demand section does not differentiate itself from other free on-demand streaming options in any meaningful way.
Do you have experience watching the XUMO streaming service? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
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The post XUMO Review: Free Streaming for Live and On-Demand TV appeared first on Clark Howard.
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