Redbox Instant Unveils Details

Netflix has held a dominant position in the movie and television streaming market since the induction of its video-on-demand service in 2007. Other companies have tried to compete, such as Amazon and Blockbuster @ Home, but so far none have been successful at taking much of the market away from Netflix.

A few months ago Redbox announced its intention to move into the streaming market by the end of the year. This move was regarded by many as the best opportunity for another company to make a dent in the market that Netflix has dominated. No specific details were released at the time, and since then it had largely been forgotten about.

Today, Redbox officially announced its new Redbox Instant by Verizon service in a press release providing a fair amount of details. I’ve broken down the highlights for you below.

  • The monthly fee will be $8
  • That fee includes 4 traditional one-night DVD rentals at a Redbox kiosk.
  • For $1 more, those 4 rentals can be made Blu-ray rentals.
  • Some initial studios partnered with are Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, MGM, NBCUniversal, Warner Bros., Relatvity and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
  • Films from the first three studios are coming through Epix, and will hit Redbox Instant 90 days after they premiere in the traditional premium window.
  • Films from Warner Bros. will be mostly from the older selection.
  • The invitation-only beta launch will occur by the end of the month.
  • At launch, the service will be offered via the web, as well as through home entertainment, tablet and mobile devices. More devices will be announced in the coming months.
  • There will be an online store from which customers can purchase movies.
Some of the films that are coming to Redbox Instant through Epix are The Hunger GamesMission: Impossible Ghost ProtocolHugo and Captain America in terms of newer titles, along with classics such as Apocalypse Now and Footloose.

The partnership with Warner is huge. The fact that Warner has yet to link up with Netflix has been a major downside to its instant streaming. Now fans of the studio have a solid reason to jump ship to Redbox Instant.

If you’re interested in the specific devices it’ll be available on, check out the list from the press release below.

At launch, Redbox Instant by Verizon will be offered via the web, as well as through home entertainment, tablet and mobile devices, including iOS®, Android™, Samsung® Blu-ray Players and TVs with SmartHub™, LG Smart TV and Blu-ray Players, and Google TV. More devices will be announced in the coming months.

There is also a report from All Things D that without the kiosk rentals, the monthly charge will only be $6, but that wasn’t mentioned in the press release so I’m staying wary of that report until the company confirms it.

If you’re interested, the new CEO of Redbox Instant by Verizon, Shawn Strickland, released a very formulaic statement, which you can check out below.

“We are building a compelling entertainment choice through our ability to support both physical and digital distribution of movies that people love, made possible by the depth of relationships we’ve established with top Hollywood studios and distribution partners.”

Redbox is urging movie fans to sign up at to have a chance at being one of the “first to try the service and experience a fun, simple way to discover the best Hollywood entertainment.” I signed up, and so far all I’ve received in the way of fun is an e-mail from Redbox welcoming me as a “new friend,” but if I get a chance to test the service, I will definitely report back.

It basically sounds like Redbox will have less of a selection (reportedly 5,500 movies at launch), but the new films it does have will be available before they are on Netflix, plus it’ll have Warner Bros. films. Another big perk is the kiosk rentals coming at the same price at Netflix’s streaming-only price. Also, Redbox kiosks are far more convenient than waiting in the mail for a Netflix DVD to come your way.

A major thing missing from this Redbox announcement is any mention of TV shows. If Redbox doesn’t include those, that will be a major plus on the side of Netflix. The majority of popular programs on Netflix are TV shows, and I know plenty of people who won’t even watch shows when they’re first on TV, so as to be able to watch the whole season at once on Netflix.

I’ll be checking out Redbox Instant for sure, but my loyalties still lie with Netflix until I have reason to jump over. This press release, albeit impressive, isn’t reason enough.

What do you think of this new Redbox Instant service? Will it have any chance of competing with Netflix? Are you willing to make the jump? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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