Is STIRR worth the price you pay for it? (It’s free)

Yeah it’s your old pal Stuart again. Whatever Buckler is doing out there, it sure isn’t writing articles so you’re stuck with another Streaming Saturday, Sweet Style. 

I recently became aware of STIRR, which wants to be another free TV replacement similar to Pluto TV. You might recall I gave Pluto pretty high marks a few weeks ago. The app is organized differently from traditional pay-TV and I think their approach is pretty novel. You get a lot of content there, although you do watch a lot of commercials.

What is STIRR?

STIRR is an app for most streaming boxes that gives you live TV in a format that looks a lot like traditional cable. Like Pluto, there are some channels that follow the standard model and others where there is one show that’s on 24/7.

There’s a cable-like guide and a selection of on-demand content. It’s free, but you do have to watch commercials every so often. There’s no DVR capability but it seems like there’s some ability to pause, although it didn’t work consistently for me.

Where did STIRR come from?

STIRR is a project from Sinclair Broadcast Group. You might recall that I’ve blogged about them a few times. They are one of the largest (if not the largest) owners of local television stations across the country. They’ve come under fire over the years for quite a few things. Some media outlets have accused them of a bias in their news reporting, and they’ve been the subject of a number of FCC investigations. It’s enough that some folks suggest that there’s an ulterior motive to everything they do.

Sinclair has also been a big proponent of 4K over-the-air broadcasting and critics contend that it has everything to do with targeted advertising. I personally don’t care if my advertising is targeted or not, I tend to ignore it.

Because Sinclair is pushing hard for 4K, you can guess that they’ll be squeezing out subchannel content to make room for 4K content mirrors. This will be a slow process, but it seems like STIRR is one way that Sinclair can use some of that subchannel content.

But is it worth it?

A quick look through STIRR’s menus suggests it isn’t worth the price, even though it’s free. The content selection is pretty weak and it’s mostly stuff you can find on Pluto TV. The movies selection seems especially thin compared to the robust free choices from PopcornFlix and Tubi. I couldn’t find any reason to stay on this app instead of going back to Pluto TV.

But, hey it’s free and if you have storage space on your streaming box who cares. I have a feeling that they’ll be venturing into producing their own content soon. Why? Because, you know, it seems like pretty much everyone else does. Sinclair as a company may not be as big as Disney but it’s certainly big enough to start making their own programs. They’re about a $6 billion company and they could absolutely turn out shows just for STIRR.

The verdict, then, is to load it and try it out. You probably won’t use it for a while but in a year or so when they announce the first shows exclusively for STIRR, you’ll have it pre-loaded.