Netflix is one of those ideas that has turned out to be so good that everyone else wishes they'd thought of it. Now, Verizon and Redbox are trying to take it one step further, with a new service that offers streaming movies and rental DVDs.
Oh wait, that's what Netflix does.
OK, let's try it again: Verizon and Redbox are offering a new service that offers streaming movies and DVDs you can rent from one of those 35,000 Redbox vending machines.
But although it is starting out with a lot of vending machines and a lot of network capacity, the new venture -- called Redbox Instant by Verizon (catchy, eh?) -- is kind of short of movies. It only has 4,600 streaming titles, far fewer than Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Plus, the household names in the field.
But never mind that. The company says it's not trying to compete with Netflix, which offers not only movies but also thousands of TV shows old and new, and even a few Netflix-produced original series.
Redbox Instant will only offer movies. Old movies. New movies. Just, you know, movies. Many better titles are only available at the kiosks, which will take a little getting used to.
It will cost you $8 a month -- which, coincidentally, is what Netflix charges -- to be part of this grand experiment. For that you can stream as many movies as often as you can stand it and also get credits good for four DVD rentals at one of those kiosks. Kick in another buck and you can upgrade to Blu-ray rentals.
Verizon and Coinstar -- Redbox' elegantly-named corporate parent -- are high on the idea anyway.
“When you consider the core elements the parties bring to this venture – our powerful brands; our national rental kiosk footprint; our anytime, anywhere network presence; and our mutual commitment to customer-focused innovation – it’s clear that Verizon and Redbox are a powerful entertainment team,” said Bob Mudge, president of Verizon consumer and mass business markets.
The companies have been working on this for the last year or so and they say it's finally ready for primetime at RedboxInstant.com.