Redbox debuts a free, ad-backed live TV service

Just be sure to set your expectations accordingly.

Redbox is still better known for its rental kiosks than anything else, but it's clearly keen to expand its streaming offerings. The company has launched a free, ad-supported live TV service (appropriately, Redbox Free Live TV) for some users. You don't need to sign in -- you just have to use Redbox's website or mobile app to tune in. You'll eventually see the service reach other platforms where Redbox is available, including smart TVs, Apple TV boxes and Roku players.

Before you have dreams of dropping your paid TV package, though, you'll want to tone down your expectations. Much like TiVo's free TV, you're not about to find big-name broadcasters. These are niche channels like TMZ, USA Today and FailArmy, plus Redbox's own selections. These are 'snackable' stations that revolve around news, comedy and the occasional viral video. They're meant to reel in potential On Demand customers rather than replace cable. Still, free is free -- if you've run out of interesting movies and TV shows elsewhere, it won't hurt much to check this out.

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