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Redbox, the company best known for its DVD rental kiosks, is getting into free streaming. The company has experimented with streaming in the past, launching an $8/mo. subscription service in 2013 and an on-demand rental service in 2017. This time, they’re trying their hand at completely free, ad-supported streaming.
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But unlike popular free streaming services like The Roku Channel and IMDb TV, Redbox will focus entirely on free live TV streaming. There are a few services that do this — most notably Pluto TV and STIRR — but unlike those established players, Redbox doesn’t include any option for free on-demand streaming. You’re limited to what it has playing on its “channels.”
Right now, there are a little over 25 channels to choose from. It has news channels from USA Today, TMZ and NowThis, entertainment channels from Food52, The Pet Collective and FailArmy, and around a dozen channels simply labeled “TV” and “Movies.” These mostly consist of reruns of shows like Forensic Files, Unsolved Mysteries and America’s Funniest Home Videos.
Where can you watch Redbox’s free streaming service?
The Redbox app is currently available to download on both iOS and Android mobile apps, on streaming devices like Roku, Google Chromecast and Apple TV and smart TVs from LG, Samsung and Vizio. Unfortunately, you can’t currently use it on any gaming consoles or Amazon’s Fire TV Stick streaming device.
Is Redbox’s free streaming service worth trying?
Probably not. Redbox’s content is a mix of daytime TV leftovers and popular YouTube channels. For now, this service just feels like Redbox trying to generate some ad revenue without actually providing anything that’s worth sitting through ads for. It doesn’t have any channels focusing on sports, for instance, and its news channels stretch that label to its limits. In other words, you won’t find any of the stuff you’d actually want from live TV.
There are far better options out there if you want to channel-surf for free. Pluto TV has dozens of news and sports channels to choose from (including just about everything on Redbox) with content from actual name-brand sources like CNN, FOX Sports and CBS. There’s no reason you have to settle for Redbox’s offerings.