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Redbox launches a free TV streaming service . . . but why?

Redbox’s “Free Live TV” is mostly a rehash of other services that do it better.

Redbox launches a free TV streaming service . . .  but why?
[Photo: JESHOOTS.com/Pexels]
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Facing the inexorable decline of the DVD, Redbox is giving free streaming video a shot.

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As spotted by Protocol’s Janko Roettgers, Redbox’s “Free Live TV” service is a collection of streaming channels that are separate from what you’d find on cable. Some examples include a movie channel from Filmrise, news from USA Today, gossip from TMZ, and standup from Comedy Dynamics, along with marathon channels for Family Feud, Unsolved Mysteries, and America’s Funniest Home Videos.

But Roettgers notes, most of this content isn’t new. Instead, it’s sourced from Xumo, a separate service that licenses its channels to smart TV vendors such as Vizio and LG. (It also has an app of its own on Roku devices.) While Redbox does have a few of its own branded movie channels, at present they’re showing critically panned fare such Desert Saints and Labor Pains. Still, you can’t fault Redbox for trying, and compared to Redbox’s other digital foray into on-demand movie rentals, free streaming TV is at least a bigger trend right now.

Redbox says the service is only available to a “select audience” at the moment, but you can check the landing page to see if it’s live for you.