Streaming movies may be nothing new, but it seems that new services are popping up with increased frequency. Though Netflix Instant Watch started the trend, services like Hulu Plus, Blockbuster Instant and Amazon Prime have been trying to compete with the service to gain market share (with mixed results).
The latest party to enter the streaming movies fray is Redbox Instant by Verizon. This service is unique as it includes physical rentals in its base price of $8 a month. However, if you are considering switching over from one provider to Redbox Instant, you may want to learn a bit more about the service first.
What’s Included With Your Redbox Instant Subscription
When you sign up for Redbox Instant by Verizon, you will have access to unlimited streaming movies from the Redbox Instant online library, and will be able to claim four physical DVD rentals at Redbox kiosks a month. This includes new releases.
In addition, Redbox Instant by Verizon also allows you to purchase streaming new releases through the service at additional cost, according to The USA Today. So, if for instance you wanted to see the latest Marvel movie, which was released two weeks ago. The movie is not available for regular streaming, but you can pay an extra $1-$2 to stream it before it becomes available using the standard service. Once you purchase this “premium” title you will have 30 days to watch it, and once you begin streaming, you can watch it as many times as you want over a 48-hour period.
What’s Not Included
Your four free rentals only apply to regular, standard-definition DVDs. If you want to rent a Blu-Ray, you will need to pay a little extra. The DVD rentals are also only good for a single day. If you need to keep out a DVD, you can either pay extra, or use another one of your physical rentals to add an extra day to your rental.
Video games are also not eligible to be used as part of the Redbox Instant subscription program, and must be paid for in addition to the subscription service.
Who This Service is Intended For
If you are already a heavy Redbox users, then Redbox Instant by Verizon is designed with you in mind. Netflix has an unquestionable stranglehold on the streaming only market, and it is hard for any new service (including Redbox Instant) to compete with them. However, Redbox Instant by Verizon aims to entice those who already rent content from Redbox regularly to enroll in a subscription-based program with movie streaming touted as an extra feature in addition to the physical rentals.
What Devices are Supported
Of course, in order to take advantage of the Redbox Instant by Verizon streaming service, you will need to have a compatible device. As of June 2013, devices that can run the Redbox Instant by Verizon Application include iPad/iPhones, Android phones and tablets, Samsung and Vizio Smart TVs, and the Roku 2 box.
You can also stream Redbox Instant content using a browser on a Mac or PC.
Looking Towards the Future
It’s hard to say whether Redbox Instant by Verizon has a legitimate shot at becoming the next big streaming platform. On the one hand, Redbox is an instantly recognizable name, and already has a loyal following of kiosk customers. However, their streaming library leaves much to be desired, and if users don’t see the value in having a subscription versus renting a la carte, then they may abandon the service. And unlike Netflix and Amazon, Redbox has said they have no plans for original content for their streaming service, which could be a potential turn off.
Should I Try it Out?
Like anything else, that depends on your movie-watching preferences. If you use Redbox at least four times a month to rent standard DVDs, and like what they have to offer in their streaming library (you can check out their current selection on the Redbox website), then Redbox Instant by Verizon might be a good fit for you.
However, if you already subscribe to a streaming service, and only occasionally rent movies from Redbox, you might want to wait and see. Because so much of Redbox Instant’s streaming movies library is duplicated across other services, it might be hard to justify the $8 a month entry fee.
Until Redbox Instant either gives users more choice at the kiosk (Blu-Rays and games need to at least be an option) or bolsters its streaming movies library with some exclusive content or newer releases that you don’t require users to pay an additional fee to access, it may not be as cost-effective as other streaming services.
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