These days, it's a safe bet to call Netflix the king of streaming services. It has many users, all enjoying the wide variety of streaming choices available any time on demand for one low price. But by the time the ball drops on New Year's Eve, there's expected to be a new threat to Netflix's dominance from none other than Redbox, who will be offering their new Redbox Instant Streaming service, Redbox Instant by Verizon (News - Alert).
We've heard this before, of course, but Redbox may well be a credible threat to Netflix thanks to some very wide support. Later this month, Redbox Instant by Verizon will seek to undercut Netflix by not only offering up streaming support, but also physical DVD rentals. Plans start at $8 a month--Netflix's current price for streaming alone--and will offer streaming video from major names like Warner Brothers and Epix (which represents a series of titles from Lionsgate, Paramount and MGM) as well as the newest in physical DVDs. Those wanting Blu-ray titles can get them for just an extra dollar a month, and early word suggests that Redbox Instant by Verizon will boast fully 5,500 titles at launch. By way of comparison, Netflix has nearly 10 times that amount in streaming.
Image via www.redbox.com
There are, however, several flaws in the system that suggest it may not make it worthwhile to switch. One, for those who enjoy TV show collections, they won't be found on Redbox Instant by Verizon. Netflix has a substantial variety of them in place. Two, the amount of DVDs available is also a point to note; while Netflix's least expensive DVD and streaming plan runs $16 a month, that's for one DVD at a time. Users who watch DVDs and return them quickly could see around 10 or more a month for that $16. With Redbox Instant by Verizon, users get just four one-night credits per month. Users wanting games will be out of luck with both programs, as neither Netflix nor Redbox Instant by Verizon has such offerings included.
There also won't be any speed advantages with Redbox Instant by Verizon, as they will apparently be operating under similar embargoes that Netflix currently endures in a bid to protect physical DVD sales and the value of the Epix cable channel. Additionally, Redbox Instant by Verizon will only be available on certain devices--game console users are right out, at least for now, and there's no word on just how many set-top boxes will get access--limited mainly to PCs and some Blu-ray players and Internet-connected televisions.
Still, for those viewers who are extremely price-conscious or don't need very many titles available to them, the Redbox Instant by Verizon program may be just the program for them. It's going to be interesting to see what kind of change Redbox Instant by Verizon can bring about in the marketplace once it finally makes its release, and whether Netflix will truly be threatened by this newcomer.
Edited by Brooke Neuman