Redbox Instant has completed its beta run and is now open to the general public. The service from Verizon combines streaming movies and DVD rentals via Redbox in a convenient bundle starting at just $8 per month ($9 monthly if you prefer Blu-ray rentals).
The service offers unlimited streaming access to 4,600 streaming titles from the likes of Warner Bros. and Epix, a joint venture between MGM Studios, Lionsgate, Paramount and Viacom. The streaming catalog is smaller than more established outfits like Amazon, Hulu Plus and Netflix but the company is hoping that the DVD rental service will make up for any shortcomings.
Members are entitled to four free DVD or Blu-ray rentals per month at any of the 35,000 Redbox kiosks nationwide as part of their Instant plan. Furthermore, the service allows customers to rent or buy new titles online that aren’t yet available for streaming. It’s worth pointing out that members won’t be able to use their Redbox rentals for this service.
In an interview with GigaOm, Redbox Instant CEO Shawn Strickland said the service saw interest from hundreds of thousands of people during the closed beta. What’s more, the beta confirmed their belief that there are still a lot of people that value physical rentals. Tens of thousands stuck around after the free trial and are now paying customers, he said.
With regards to original content (something that competitors like Netflix and even YouTube are now exploring), the executive said such talk is premature as they don’t yet have enough insight into what sort of exclusive content members would be interested in.