If you like Redbox but hate having to go to the closest kiosk, let me introduce you to instant streaming. The service, by Verizon, is the next competitor to go against the streaming giant Netflix. The new service, Redbox Instant, just rolled out as a public beta version, so there are likely some bugs to be worked out. However, if you like Redbox’s movie selection already and want an alternative to Netflix or another streaming service, this may be the perfect solution.
* In December, a private beta testing group took Redbox Instant for a test run. The one-month testing session gave Verizon important feedback on how well the service worked and what could be done to improve it. Though rumors stated the service might be available by year’s end, users were informed it would likely be Spring before the public had access.
* Redbox Instant made its public debut on Thursday. After the free one-month trial, the service will cost $8 per month, which includes four DVD movie credits at any kiosk.
* To truly compete with Netflix, Verizon is offering a $6 plan for streaming only, which undercuts Netflix by $2.
* According to Shawn Strickland, the Redbox Instant CEO, the service isn’t actually designed to be a direct competitor to Netflix. At CES in January, he announced Redbox Instant was only for movies unlike Netflix’s mix of TV shows and movies.
* For Blu-ray fans, the four DVD credits can be used towards Blu-ray discs for just $1 extra per month.
* Currently, the service is available for Android and iOS devices, Macs, PCs (requires the Silverlight plugin to be installed), Xbox 360 and Google TV. LG and Samsung Internet TVs and Blu-ray players will also offer access to the service.
* Redbox Instant only offers around 4,600 titles, which is far less than other well-established streaming services such as Apple, Amazon, Hulu and Netflix.
* Streaming titles are initially only available from Warner Bros. and Epix. Epix offers a mix of Lionsgate, Paramount and MGM titles. With many titles available from competing services, Redbox will need to add more exclusive titles before becoming a major player in the streaming market.
* The new service will not affect kiosks. The idea is to simply compliment their existing offerings for those with unlimited, high-speed Internet service who would prefer to stream versus rent.
* Users can check out the full subscription offerings before signing up by visiting the Redbox Instant subscription site.
For those who only want movies, the combination package of streaming and kiosk may be the edge Redbox needs for the service to succeed. However, with most other services offering both TV shows and movies, it’s going to be a rough road for Redbox Instant.