Quibi: Shows, price, TV streaming and how to sign up

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Quibi is now here and we've been kicking the tires of this new streaming service. And not only is it standing out with star power, but an interesting mobile-only design that adds extra dimensionality when you watch in portrait and landscape. 

And before you can say "I just added Disney Plus," realize that this is something else. Our full Quibi review explains what it's like to use the service, and how its Turnstyle feature works in practice.

As hype for the service has slowly bubbled since its 2018 announcement — it's already received funding from many of the companies behind other streaming services, including The Walt Disney Company and NBCUniversal — we're inching closer to its actual release date.

Quibi release date: When is it launching?

Quibi launched on April 6, 2020, starting with a 90-day trial.

Quibi explained

The Quibi streaming service looks to appeal to our ever-shortening attention spans: its shows are comprised of episodes shorter than 10 minutes a piece. That's where the Quibi name comes from: it's short for "quick bites."

Quibi is also the name that the service uses for each episode. So, if you thought you binged content before, get ready to inhale Quibis in less time than it takes to get a pizza. 

One big element of Quibi is that its episodes are made for viewing in both traditional landscape and vertical portrait orientations. This 'turnstile' rotation, as Quibi calls it, allows you to seamlessly move between both positions.

Quibi review

(Image credit: Quibi)

Turnstile mode opens up additional content. When Quibi showed footage of a guy discovering his girlfriend was cheating on him, the viewer could rotate their phone to portrait to see his phone as he saw it, and see the Instagram Story that revealed her making out with someone else at a party.

Quibi was founded by Dreamworks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg in 2018 and it's got Meg Whitman (formerly of HP) as its CEO. Quibi started as a mobile first platform, and while it was expected to stay that way, the company is currently working on a way to cast Quibi to your TV, according to CEO Meg Whitman, talking on CNBC.

Quibi price tiers and ads

Quibi price

(Image credit: Quibi)

Quibi starts at $5 per month for a package with ads, with 1-2 ad breaks per episode that could be as short as 6 seconds per ad. Quibi also offers an ad-free version that's $8 per month. Ads should only take up 2.5 minutes per hour, according to Whitman.

Downloadable video is available at both plans, unlike on YouTube, which offline video at its premium tier. 

Quibi save for offline

(Image credit: Quibi)

Quibi on your TV

Quibi, responding to our stuck at home situation, has added support for AirPlay streaming from Apple devices. It's scheduled to get Chromecast support in June. This feature delivered in version 1.3, which came out on May 26. We just tested it out, and Quibi's rotation feature doesn't come into play on AirPlay. You just watch the shows in the horizontal orientation.

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Quibi free trial

Right now, Quibi is offering users a massive 90-day free trial, so that prospective customers get a ton of time to see if the service is right for them. This should give Quibi enough time to show customers what it's all about and not risk people running after the first hit show (whichever that is) ends.

Quibi sign up process

You can sign up for Quibi, which is now available in the US and Canada, by downloading the Quibi app. It's only available on Android and iPhone, and there aren't any plans for a tablet version any time soon.

After you download the app, tap "Start 90-Day Free Trial" and follow the instructions to sign up. Here are the Quibi app download links:

Quibi shows

It feels like someone at Quibi opened up a checkbook and had two directive: let's get big names and let's have fun. So as you'll see above, Chance the Rapper is now Chance the Punk'd host. Really. Let that sit in. 

In an email sent on Feb. 27, Quibi teased a show called Die Hart, its "action-packed comedy on set in Atlanta, GA, starring Kevin Hart, John Travolta, Josh Hartnett and Nathalie Emmanuel." A week earlier, Variety revealed that Reno 911! is coming back as a Quibi series, including fan favorites Wendi McLendon-Covey and Niecy Nash.

Quibi CES keynote

(Image credit: Quibi)

The first year of Quibi will have approximately 8,500 pieces of content spread across 175 shows. The most exciting end of the spectrum includes new horror shows from the likes of Guillermo del Toro and Steven Spielberg. The latter is developing a show called Spielberg's After Dark, which users can only watch at nighttime. 

Unscripted programming starring Idris Elba, Jennifer Lopez and Chrissy Teigen (and many other folks) is also on the docket. Tiegen is starring in Chrissy's Court, which will borrow the Judge Judy formula. Other big names tied to the service include Peter Farrelly, Antoine Fuqua, Anna Kendrick and Trevor Noah.

Oh, and since it's the trend these days, you'll get reboots: MTV is also bringing Singled Out back from the mothballs and onto Quibi. Even Legends of the Hidden Temple is coming back, per the LA Times.

Here's our guide to the best Quibi shows at launch.

Quibi CES keynote

(Image credit: Quibi)

Quibi trailers

We got our first look at Chrissy's court and it is one zany looking show. We're curious how it is as a show, because this very much looks like an "all of the WOW moments" trailer. 

Missing your weekly dose of Sansa Stark? Quibi drama Survive places Sofie Turner in recovery for emotional trauma, and then pushes her out into icy terrain. 

Oh, and we all could use more Hemsworth brothers right? Well, in this next clip, Liam’s in a sticky pickle that looks thrilling — and I’m wondering how it will fit into the 10 minute format — Cristoph Waltz co-stars.

Quibi pronunciation

On its own website, Quibi provides a phonetic pronunciation of "kwibē" ... which still has us confused. 

Quibi outlook

For months, I've heard the name Quibi, and for months I've doubted its success — or that it could even happen. Well, I'm likely going to be wrong about the latter, as it's got a release date. As to whether people will pay $5 per month when we already have free short-form content on YouTube? Time will tell, and I'm more than a little skeptical. 

Has Quibi figured out an alternative to the free world of podcasts and online video that we're already used to? April will tell. 

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.