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Redbox launches a free, ad-supported live TV streaming service

Redbox, the company best known for its red movie rental kiosks, has launched a free, ad-supported live TV streaming service called Redbox Free Live TV. Available on a limited basis at the moment, you can watch the live streaming service on Apple’s iOS devices and Android device and is compatible with AirPlay casting to devices like Apple TV.

In a statement provided to TechCrunch, Redbox said:

Redbox is always exploring ways to bring more content and value to consumers. We’ve begun offering free live streaming movies and TV to a subset of consumers via our website and mobile app, with plans to roll it on more devices in the coming days and weeks. Redbox believes that the future of entertainment is dynamic and consists of the right mix of live and video content, and that’s why we’re building this new ecosystem of free content. The offering complements our new-release kiosk and On-Demand offering with ad-supported catalog content, driving new entertainment occasions, while also providing new ways for Redbox to promote the brand outside of our network.

Redbox Free Live TV doesn’t provide any major broadcasters and has more in common with free on-demand services like the Roku Channel and Plex’s recently launched ad-supported streaming video service. Content plays “live,” which means that you join streams in progress instead of starting them from scratch.

Redbox Free Live TV
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Digital Trends tried a few different livestreams from collections such as The Pet Collective and Now This and found that the streaming quality was very low and not consistent, at least when attempting to view the streams from the Redbox website.

Redbox Free Live TV joins the company’s paid On-Demand video purchase and rental service which launched in 2017. Curiously, even though the company’s DVD and Blu-ray rental business survived the streaming onslaught, its attempt to use its kiosks to rent out video games to the console market was apparently less successful. Redbox ended the rental of video games in December 2019.

Whether Redbox Free Live TV will find watchers remains to be seen. At the moment, it doesn’t appear to have a strongly differentiated content offering and seems to be relying heavily on content from sources like USA Today, TMZ, and America’s Funniest Home Videos. Moreover, it’s hard to see how this content competes with traditional sources of live TV like free, over-the-air HDTV, or even newer services like Pluto TV.

Another growing option for those looking to cut the cord but keep their local network affiliate stations is Locast TV. Now available in 17 major markets, it’s an easy way to get started with live TV streaming.

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