Yesterday, in a not so surprising move, Redbox announced that they have ended beta testing of their video streaming service and are officially open for business. The service called Redbox Instant is a collaboration between Verizon and Coinstar.
Joining the ranks of other video-on-demand (VOD) services already available such as Hulu, Netflix, iTunes and Amazon, Redbox hopes to raise the bar on the competition by combining its new streaming service with its network of 35,000 kiosks nationwide that offer newly released DVDs.
For a familiar $8 a month, customers have unlimited streaming to movies and receive four credits to rent DVDs at its kiosks. For a buck ($1) more, customers get the same deal and four credits towards Blu-ray rentals.
This interest in pursuing a video streaming service first started in December of last year, when Verizon and Redbox parent company Coinstar decided they could offer the customer better value. By logging on to RedboxInstant.com, beta customers could receive a special code to try out the service. Redbox has removed the code requirement as of Thursday.
The streaming service is currently available on PC's, Macs and works on smartphones and tablets that run on both Apple iOS and Google Android devices. It is also available on a few Samsung televisions and Blu-ray players. It even runs on Microsoft's Xbox 360. According to CEO Shawn Strickland "They are still adding functions and devices that will embed its streaming player".
Similar to its competition, Redbox Instant will allow customers to rent or buy newly released VOD titles that aren't available for its library of free streaming movies. Unfortunately, the same credits that make their service unique are not redeemable for online rentals and purchases.
Redbox Instant has all the makings of a great VOD service but is lacking in initial streaming movie releases. For now, they have only 4,600 streaming titles to start, but will grow as the weeks and months go on. Hopefully it will be enough to get customers to hop on board.