Early review for Redbox Instant (in case it comes to Roku)

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Early review for Redbox Instant (in case it comes to Roku)

Postby LizJ » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:14 am

I'm beta testing two different online services in the next few weeks - the Redbox Instant streaming service and the Viki Roku channel.

While Redbox does not have a Roku channel yet, it's likely they will soon. With that in mind, I thought I'd give you a little report on what I've found so far.

I would guess a big question for everyone would be "Is this going to be an alternative to Netflix?" I think it has a long way to go before it's a viable alternative. For one thing, the movie catalog at this point really is pretty dismal. There are a few recent films thrown in here and there, but mostly it's low budget films from previous decades. Now, that might appeal to some users, but is it worth the price?

"Is it worth it?" - The Redbox Instant streaming service is going to cost $8/month. You get 4 free rental credits currently, right now they can only be used with the Redbox kiosk. If that expands to online VOD rentals (more recent films not included in the subscription), it may be worth the cost for that alone. If you typically watch paid-for movie videos on demand through Amazon, Vudu, or other providers, $2.00 per rental would be pretty inexpensive in comparison. But that's if they have movies that you want to watch, and that is a question that each user will have to figure out on their own. Right now they only have a subset of what is available, presumably because they don't have digital rights to all the movies they carry at a kiosk. Sample titles currently available include Pitch Perfect, Arbitrage,Ted, Bourne Legacy, ParaNorman, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Amazing Spiderman, Magic Mike, Total Recall, The Expendables 2, etc. It's not a large selection right now, maybe 40 titles. Right now these movies are more costly to rent through Redbox Instant than other instant-streaming alternatives - $6.99 for HD rental of Ted, for example.

Ease of use - right now there is the website version and apps for iOS and Android. While the beta information doesn't tell you this, you need a separate invite code for each platform. You'll have to request one from customer service. I'm assuming that even using a different browser will require another access code, since logging on from my PC didn't allow me through to instant, after I registered on my Mac. Hopefully after the beta, this will get straightened out and we will have device linking available. The iOS app doesn't allow instant watch rentals to be purchased from the app. This is consistent with other iOS apps, since it competes against the iTunes store.

So...my verdict is WATCH and WAIT. I'll be unsubscribing when my free trial is over. What they need to do to keep me as a customer (or have me come back later) is include recent VOD titles as part of that 4-rentals-included-per-month deal (or at the very least reduce the rental costs to below Amazon, Vudu and VOD offered by cable companies), expand their library of videos included in the subscription , and offer a Roku channel.
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Re: Early review for Redbox Instant (in case it comes to Rok

Postby TheEndless » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:03 am

If you're officially beta testing, you might want to check to see if you're bound by an NDA. Posting on a public forum your impressions of a product you're beta testing is usually frowned upon by those running the beta.
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Re: Early review for Redbox Instant (in case it comes to Rok

Postby LizJ » Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:12 pm

I've double-checked; there does not appear to be an NDA for this beta. While it's still considered a beta, they are handing out the trial codes after users request them. I think it took about 2 weeks for me, but they may have opened up the widespread beta recently.

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Re: Early review for Redbox Instant (in case it comes to Rok

Postby mkiker2089 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:03 pm

This isn't a secret beta, it's a public one so there shouldn't be any problem posting about it.

I'm not sure Redbox know what they want to do. You can't compete with Netflix and Amazon on numbers, nor should they. That would at best just make them a third (at best, Hulu and Crackle are already ahead of them) in the market.

They originally planned on offering a handful of better movies and that would have worked. Rather than get 10 good but older movies they could get one new release that is only VOD with other services. Ted for example is the reason people go to Redbox so they need it as part of the membership not as just another VOD option. That brings them back to the original problem in that they'll just be another in the already over crowded market.

I wish they'd go back to the original idea and offer maybe 5 or 10 newest hits as part of the membership, toss in a few of the b movies as a novelty (works in the kiosk already) and drop the charades. Give back all the Epix movies as we already have them, get the stuff no one else has ONLY. If they don't then I don't expect it to survive. Amazon is making it on sheer determination by throwing tons of cash at it, Netflix had a head start, and Hulu has important owners. Everyone else is in for a tough ride.
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Re: Early review for Redbox Instant (in case it comes to Rok

Postby vandergraff » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:26 pm

What does the video quality look like? Sound quality?

Anyway you can check the bit rates?
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Re: Early review for Redbox Instant (in case it comes to Rok

Postby jellybean7 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:09 am

So, what does redbox have to offer that their (numerous) competitors don't? That is the most important question. There is much overlap now and I'm not sure exactly what they can add to the field.
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Re: Early review for Redbox Instant (in case it comes to Rok

Postby mkiker2089 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:49 am

jellybean7 wrote:So, what does redbox have to offer that their (numerous) competitors don't? That is the most important question. There is much overlap now and I'm not sure exactly what they can add to the field.


Nothing.
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Re: Early review for Redbox Instant (in case it comes to Rok

Postby knuckle » Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:18 am

I think Marshall hit on it..if red box picked a handful of the newer titles (the new releases not available on netflix yet) to add to the mediocre fare available in the beta it would be an easy sell at 8 bucks--that and a good roku channel to stream from ... from what I hear firefox is the only browser that works with the service and the android app is crash prone.
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Re: Early review for Redbox Instant (in case it comes to Rok

Postby mkiker2089 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:45 am

The fact that they wasted money on epix content is what especially worries me. They will cost Verizon and coinstar a lot of money before fading away.
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Re: Early review for Redbox Instant (in case it comes to Rok

Postby renojim » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:54 am

knuckle wrote:from what I hear firefox is the only browser that works with the service

That's not true, or at least shouldn't be. They use Smooth Streaming a la Silverlight, so there's no reason any browser and even a Roku wouldn't be able to support Redbox Instant.

In my very limited testing on all of one movie, they provide a 3.2Mbps and 2.0Mbps stream both of which are too much for my pathetic connection. Oh well, I guess I can use the 4 DVD rentals. Now if I could just find 4 movies worth my time. :lol:

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Re: Early review for Redbox Instant (in case it comes to Rok

Postby SCOREtv.TV » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:16 am

I'm of the opinion that the consumer is interested in all-you-can-eat subscription services, not on a one at time purchase. Redbox is trying a mixture, of Physical Rental subscription, VOD, and streaming subscription service.

Like the OP said it will be
So...my verdict is WATCH and WAIT.


Here is an article on Redbox
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/20 ... -streaming

and it seams Redbox is working with the studios

Hollywood studios like to roll out their films gradually, wringing revenue from each stage of the home video market, in a system known as “release windows.” Redbox Instant believes it’s best structured to exploit that system to provide immediate gratification. A movie like Lincoln, for example, typically will first be available on disc in Redbox kiosks, then a few weeks later will move to Redbox Instant’s video-on-demand store, where subscribers can buy or rent it on a computer, mobile device, or set-top box. Eventually members will be able to stream it for free. “We think we have an opportunity to partner with studios to extend the life of their windowing structure,” Strickland says.

So far, studios seem to like the approach. Warner Bros. (TWX), Sony Pictures (SNE), Lionsgate (LGF), NBC Universal, and Paramount Pictures will sell and rent films through the service; Redbox Instant has also licensed content from Epix, a joint venture between the major movie studios, for its streaming catalog.
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Re: Early review for Redbox Instant (in case it comes to Rok

Postby mkiker2089 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:52 pm

Unfortunately red box is too little too late. They have competition in the digital world. By offering the movies as vod they are showing that they bring nothing new to the table. Charging more than Amazon even after paying a subscription is the final nail in the coffin.

Red box like it is now will not work. They may get better content and better deals to change their system but as of now its a non starter.

If the movies have to be treated like pay per view they need to compromise it and give a limited amount free equal to the subscription. People have speculated that a token system would be accepted.

Let me add that I think they need less content. They have so much that comparisons with Netflix are bound to happen. They need to think more like HBO did in their infancy. A few hits, a few b movies, a little niche content, and rotate it out.
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Re: Early review for Redbox Instant (in case it comes to Rok

Postby rythemovieguy » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:57 pm

I think RedBox Instant plan sounds great. What do they have to offer that Netflix does not? 4 free rentals from their kiosks each month. That is their big draw - and is what has me interested. New Releases are going disc first or for a premium price to rent via a streaming service. This is not going to change in the near future. So What RedBox is saying is that for $8 a month you can get unlimited Streaming of older films + 4 New Releases from our kiosks. Their library of films available to stream will grow in time. As soon as they have a Roku channel - I am in.
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Re: Early review for Redbox Instant (in case it comes to Rok

Postby jeffrok » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:09 pm

I had high hopes, but I tried the streaming beta for about 5 minutes before realizing what they're really doing..

Offering "Netflix streaming-type" films.. Meaning NO big mega-blockbuster types included in the subscription price.. You pay extra for those, at a pay-per-play rental rate much like Amazon's..

I don't need to pay a monthly rate to rent Redbox discs- I can pay my $1.20 or whatever it costs per disc, and be quite happy with that.
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Re: Early review for Redbox Instant (in case it comes to Rok

Postby rythemovieguy » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:18 pm

I read an article that revealed the fact that over 75% of people that have Netflix streaming service endup using another serivce to get new releases (many I am sure use RedBox) - I think RedBox Instant was born from this fact. If they can offer a large library of films to stream and also give people 4 disc rentals a month to use for new releases it makes sense.
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