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CES 2013: Verizon's Redbox Instant disc/streaming service set to rival Netflix

Consumer Reports News: January 07, 2013 11:38 AM

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Are you a disgruntled Netflix subscriber who used to get both discs and streaming as part of one low-cost plan? Well, here at CES we expect to learn more about a new hybrid disc/streaming service called Redbox Instant that promises to return what Netflix took away.

During the Verizon keynote this week, we expect to hear more about the Redbox Instant service, which is now being beta tested with a limited number of users. The service, a joint venture between Verizon and Redbox, combines unlimited streaming with coupons good for four disc rentals from a Redbox kiosk for an $8 monthly subscription. A streaming-only subscription will cost $6 per month.

Among the first manufacturers to embrace Redbox Instant will be LG Electronics, which will offer the service as part of its smart TV lineup. I've heard that it may also be included on the Google TV platform, on some Samsung TVs and Blu-ray players, and on Android and iOS mobile devices, but these haven't been confirmed.

Currently we know that the service will include titles from Epix, as well as movies from MGM and Paramount, but I'm hoping to hear more this week about what other content will be available when the service actually launches later this year.

For now it looks like Redbox Instant's focus is on movies rather than TV shows, but it's too early to tell if that's the ultimate goal. Verizon, obviously, sees the service as an adjunct to its FiOS pay TV service, as well as a way to reach customers that subscribe to other pay TV services.

Here at CES, I'll try to find out more about which hardware companies and content partners are supporting the new service. We're also trying to sign up as beta testers, and we'll let you know if and when we get a chance to actually try out the Redbox Instant service and see how it compares.

Check out the rest of our CES 2013 coverage.

James K. Willcox

   

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