Redbox has quietly been readying its Netflix streaming competitor for some time now, but it looks as though the service's big reveal may not be far off. GigaOm has uncovered a number of details surrounding Redbox Instant including subscription rates and devices you'll be able to watch content from when it does eventually launch. Though participation is currently limited to a small, invite-only group of beta testers, Redbox temporarily posted help files visible to anyone on the web that offer insight to its strategy.
Could the combination of streaming and kiosk rentals be a winning strategy?
Subscriptions will start at $6 per month (undercutting Netflix by a slim margin) and with that you'll gain unlimited access to Redbox's instant streaming catalog. But Redbox also plans to take full advantage of its broad kiosk presence throughout the US, offering an $8 option that grants subscribers four DVD rentals each month. Redbox specifically refers to these as "DVD credits," so it's unclear if you'll be able to put them toward Blu-ray or video game rentals. Much like Amazon Instant Video, Redbox Instant will expand beyond streaming with premium video-on-demand rentals and purchases. Those are set to start around 99 cents, though we expect new releases will demand a bit more.
Strong device compatibility out of the gate
As for device compatibility, Redbox Instant will be available on iOS, Android, Xbox 360 (presumably via a forthcoming app), and Mac/PC. Streaming over the web will require Microsoft's Silverlight plugin, a prerequisite Netflix users have grown accustomed to. Samsung will also offer the service via connected TVs and Blu-ray players. There's still no firm word on an official launch date, though beta testers will begin receiving their DVD credits in mid-December. Assuming all goes well, we could see Redbox Instant before long. And while Netflix is unquestionably chief among its rivals, there's no shortage of competition from other players fighting for a stake in the living room. Redbox will also have to contend with Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Hulu, Amazon, and Walmart's Vudu if it hopes to make a dent in the streaming segment.