Redbox is joining the crowded cord-cutting market. The company, best known for its DVD kiosks, rolled out the ad-supported Redbox Free Live TV last week to compete with the likes of Pluto and add to its arsenal in battling Netflix.
Redbox Free Live TV isn’t actually “live TV,” like the cable replacement packages you get with Hulu With Live TV (opens in new tab) or YouTube TV. (opens in new tab) The new service offers a set of free, curated, ad-supported shows and movies. So, no, you can't scroll through various cable channels, see what's airing now and watch it.
Instead, the content on Redbox Free Live TV comes from brands like TMZ, USA Today, Food52, Fail Army and FilmRise. The most recognizable TV shows include Forensic Files, Unsolved Mysteries and Family Feud. Fire up an episode and watch it "live" with ads. Redbox has also created movie collections like Redbox Comedy and Redbox Rush. The titles will come and go, as they do on most streaming services.
While Redbox Free Live TV may not really be “live” it is definitely free— making it most similar to Pluto or IMDB TV. You don’t need a subscription (or even enter your email address) to watch.
Right now, the service is available on Redbox.com (opens in new tab) as well as iOS and Android devices. In the coming months, it’ll roll out to smart TVs from Samsung, Vizio and LG as well as Roku, Apple TV And Chromecast.
The new offering expands Redbox’s streaming efforts. The company launched Redbox on Demand in 2017. The online marketplace has movies and TV shows for rental and purchase (much like Amazon Prime and Apple).
And last year, Redbox announced plans to develop original content across multiple genres, including action, comedy and suspense/thrillers — positioning the company to compete with the likes of Netflix (opens in new tab).
In a statement, 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.”