Redbox and Verizon’s streaming video service reportedly won’t have as many movies and shows as Netflix, but it may be $2 per month cheaper.
The so-called “Redbox Instant by Verizon” will cost $6 per month according to GigaOM’s Janko Roettgers, who discovered the details by looking through publicly available support documents. (The web pages in question now require a password to see.)
Like Netflix, the service will provide unlimited video streaming, but will also have some other optional perks. Subscribers can pay an extra $2 per month for four nights of DVD rentals through Redbox kiosks. (Rentals usually cost $1.20 per night.) The service will also offer on-demand rentals of newer movies, starting at $0.99, with offline access to those videos available on some devices.
At launch, the Redbox and Verizon service will be available on web browsers, iOS and Android devices, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and select TVs and Blu-ray players from Samsung, GigaOM reports. Despite Verizon’s involvement, anyone will be able to sign up, not just Verizon TV and Internet subscribers.
Granted, the service is in closed beta now, and final pricing could change, but if those details prove accurate, Redbox Instant by Verizon would be the cheapest alternative to Netflix yet. On a yearly basis, it’d be $24 less expensive than Netflix. It would also be $9 per year less expensive than Amazon Prime, whose other perks include free two-day shipping on store orders and a free e-book catalog for Kindle devices.
Still, the service wouldn’t quite be the same as those rivals in terms of selection. Paul Davis, CEO of Redbox operator Coinstar, told Fast Company last August that it wants to have a smaller, but better selection of movies than Netflix. Also, he suggested that the focus will be more on movies than television.
The one thing that’s always worried me about the service is that it might play things safe so as not to endanger Verizon’s existing FiOS TV and on-demand video services. Netflix, meanwhile, can keep pursuing newer and better content without fear of cord cutting or cord shaving. Netflix has even funded original shows, including a Kevin Spacey drama and a new season of Arrested Development. Somehow I doubt that Redbox and Verizon will be as aggressive.
We won’t know how well the Redbox-Verizon approach compares until the service goes live–possibly December 17, according to the documents GigaOM turned up. Still, it could be a useful alternative to Netflix and Amazon by offering unique features and a lower overall price.