Redbox and Verizon have teamed up to take on the likes of Netflix with their new Redbox Instant streaming partnership which launched publicly today. This is a big move for Redbox, but with so many streaming sites already out there, is there even room for a new player? Verizon and Redbox seem to think so, and they’ll give you a free month to think it over. I’m not convinced.
As someone who already subscribes to both Hulu Plus and Netflix, I’m not sure I have room in my life for a third streaming service. [There's also Amazon Prime, but that's neither here nor there. - Ed] The service will cost $8/month, and to try amd win over undecided streamers like myself, part of the launch of the new service is to offer a free month of not only streaming online content, but also getting physical DVDs from a Redbox kiosk.
The service itself will feature unlimited streaming and DVD rentals, but the trial limits you to four DVD credits. These are good for one DVD for one night, and get used up if you forget to return the disc. That means you can pretty easily blow all your rental DVD credits by not bringing back a disc for a few days, but I’m not too worried about it.
I rarely watch things off DVDs anymore unless I’m putting on an old episode of The Adventures of Pete and Pete, so that’s not very much of a draw for me personally. Redbox is banking on people wanting to get the newest releases in their hands before waiting for them to be available online, and there could definitely be something to that.
The selection of streaming titles seems pretty familiar since it’s made up of a lot of movies already on Netflix or Hulu, and for some reason when I mouse over most of the titles I’m getting this message:
I’m willing to chalk this up to day-one launch jitters in the site, but if there’s some problem limiting the streaming content right out of the gate then that might not bode well Redbox’s chances online.
Poking around the Redbox Instant site I noticed a section for games, and I think that’s what could be a big winner for them. Unfortunately, I can’t find anything on the site about whether games are included. Although it does specifically mention that for an extra $1/month the service will also include unlimited Blu-ray rentals, so maybe games would cost another dollar as well?
I’d happily pay $10/month to be able to switch out rented games at a Redbox, but would I pay $8/month to stream movies I can already get elsewhere? I’m still not sure, but I just signed up for the free trial, so we’ll know in a few weeks.
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