By Alexandra Burlacu | Mar 15, 2013 10:19 AM EDT
Redbox Instant kept its promise to launch for the general public by spring, as the video streaming service publicly opens its doors in the U.S.
The new Redbox Instant streaming service was first announced back in February 2012 as a joint venture between Verizon and Redbox.
According to the Redbox Instant website, the service will give new users unlimited streaming, as well as four free DVD credits for one month. The service will cost $8 per month after the one-month trial ends.
The service rolled out in private beta back in December, allowing first-time users to sign up for the service. The video streaming service publicly launched in the U.S. on Thursday, March 14. It is available on several operating systems and devices, including Android, iOS, Xbox 360, some Samsung TVs and Blu-ray players.
Redbox is going up against already established services such as Netflix, Hulu, Apple and others, most of which have streaming libraries that are much more comprehensive than Redbox's 4,600 titles. On the other hand, Redbox is undercutting Netflix' monthly rates by charging $6 per month for unlimited streaming: $2 less than Netflix's comparable offer. Redbox's $8-per-month plan includes the four DVDs. Meanwhile, a plan that includes Blu-ray discs goes up to $9 per month.
The Redbox service is more affordable compared to Neflix's offering, at least for now. However, it will not have the same access to movies and shows that Netflix has to offer. As previously mentioned, Redbox Instant currently offers access to 4,600 subscription titles from a content agreement it has with Epix, which operates Lionsgate, Viacom, MGM and other studios. While this is good for starters, it's nothing compared to the slew of offerings Netflix carries.
On the other hand, Redbox Instant CEO Shawn Strickland said back in January at the International CES that Redbox Instant does not aim to compete against Netflix. According to the CEO, his service would offer old and new movies, but only movies, to cater to the needs of consumers who are only looking for a film experience and nothing more.
Redbox will offer downloads for sale, video-on-demand, streaming and physical rentals, aiming to offer titles as soon as they become available to competitors in those markets, or even sooner in the case of DVD rentals, Strickland told Bloomberg. Moreover, Redbox Instant's partners identified a potential audience of 35 million users.
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