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Jola Moss, marketing director of NCR, did a demo of NCR’s new kiosk at a recent trade show. This is the kiosk that was developed for Blockbuster to use in its test deployment of kiosks to compete with Redbox, DVDPlay and others.

In addition to the demo, she also discussed the future of possible “digital download” kiosks NCR is developing using newly developed SD cards to get the movies from the kiosk to your home. Now if only everybody had SD cards built-in to their TVs!

Check out the hardware and software specs of the new kiosk, and watch the video after the break.


In its current form, the kiosk is quite ugly with a very retro, ATM-like design. Not nearly as elegant as the Redbox kiosks we are used to, but I assume they may tweak the design when they install it at actual retail locations. The card reader also looks quite susceptible to phishing attacks like we saw early this year at Redbox.

The system uses RFID to track the discs, which means no barcode scanning is necessary. Discs can be inserted either direction and the kiosk can still read it. This should be nice for inventory control and make it less likely a customer will return a disc and still be charged because of bad barcodes.

With RFID, the system should always have an accurate account of exactly which discs are in the machine, as well. As long as the technology holds up, this should be a step forward for the kiosk owners and customers alike.

The DVD return slot is a bit weird, and it appears that the DVDs are stored “naked” in the kiosk, with no case like those used at Redbox. While this could allow for more inventory to be stored in the kiosk, it could cause the discs to be more easily scratched. As Redbox knows, scratched and unplayable discs are a customer service nightmare.

Update: Apparently the DVDs are not stored “naked”, but the machine takes the entire black sleeve back into the machine. Thanks to Steve for clarifying.


The software seems adequate, with title sorting, DVD cover art, etc. I saw no place for entering a promo code in the demo, but something like that is easily added. Software can easily be changed, and Redbox has had a lot of time to improve their software to make it easy to use, so I will give NCR the benefit of the doubt in this area.

Check out the video below and let me know what you think.

Source: Self-service & Kiosk Association

26 Responses to “NCR Demos New Express Entertainment DVD Kiosk”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    Donn [visitor]

    “Now if only everybody had SD cards built-in to their TVs!”

    Um, I do. Well, my Mac has video out to my TV, which is perfect for watching TV shows on the web–it’s no different than regular TV, except the higher quality and fewer commercials part. I don’t have or need TV service anymore.

    Anyway, it would be great to just “rent” an SD card with a movie on it.

    • Administrator
      Michael [administrator]


      My TV has and SD slot, too, and so does my Blu-ray player, and my Wii, my computer, etc… But I don’t think it is common, and I am certain that you cannot play video off of the built-in SD slots on most TVs.

      By the time most people can rent movies on SD card, I think everyone will be able to stream HD movies straight to their TV, anyway.

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        Donn [visitor]

        Oh, absolutely, I agree. I’m skipping Blu-ray entirely, since I am already getting and watching HD content without it. Digital streaming/downloading is the future. It’s already here, for those who are interested in the content available.

    • Member [Join Now]

      What do you do about sporting events? I hate my cable company and would love to never give them another dime, but I can’t get away from my Cavs!

  2. Visitor [Join Now]
    Steve [visitor]

    Actually in these kiosks the disc’s are not stored naked. Maybe you couldn’t tell from the video but it actually pulls the whole sleeve back in and stores it. They are much thinner and therefore you do get more density within the kiosk. But unlike a lot of the other ones you don’t snap them open and closed. They tend to last a lot longer than the ones where the plastic eventually fails.

    • Administrator
      Michael [administrator]


      Thanks for clarifying. That is good to know.

      Do you know if the DVD is always “exposed” when it is in the case, though? It seems that about a third of the DVD is showing when it is in the case, or is there some clear plastic covering it that I could not see.

      Thanks again. If you have any other information about the kiosks, let me know.

  3. Member [Join Now]
    CeridianMN [ceridianmn]

    The RFID was not touched on very much and is a very important piece of the process. If it is based on the case then all kinds of problems arise as there is no longer direct DVD to tag correlation. If it is on the DVD then is it balanced well enough such that it does not disturb the spin of the dics, and is it low-profile enough so as to allow the disc to still fit in a player. The would be my main questions as to the process. In all though, it’s good. Competition should breed further innovation.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Steve [visitor]

      The RFID tag is actually right around the hub just like the barcode would be in the Redbox or other kiosk. Just a little ring. Maybe I can rent a movie tomorrow and post a pic.

  4. Member [Join Now]

    These appear similar to the units in use by “The New Release” vending machines at local Ralphs grocery stores here in Southern California.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Steve [visitor]

      You are correct. The New Release (or MovieCube) is actually using these machines. There are some at an occasional Kroger’s here.

  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    Joe [visitor]

    RFID’s can be zapped. If you put that in a microwave for less than a second it would blow the RFID. High power RF at lower frequencies will also burn them out.

    You don’t have to worry about that with a bar code. I think redbox did it right, plus they have redundancy with several codes around the sticker.

    I didn’t like that “sleeve” at all, looks like it’s easy for the disk to slip out and thus you will have more scratched disks as people drop them all over the place.

    Redbox kiosks are metal and rugged, I see them at outside locations. The NCR one is plast-icky.

    I also didn’t like the way the DVD went back in, it didn’t look very dependable, but it was hard to tell from the video.

    I love the way she swiped her card again to do a return. She then said you don’t have to do that, so was that a screw up?

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Steve [visitor]

      Of course, a little microwave time for a DVD itself is a little fun as well ;-). But really, the RFID’s are likely to be more reliable than the barcodes. The barcode scanner is what is usually at fault. Just like what you see at the grocery…they scan and scan some things and can’t seem to get them to scan. Same thing happens in the kiosk.

      I’m headed to a kiosk right now. I’ll pull one of these new sleeves and take some pics of it for y’all.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Dragon Reborn [visitor]

      oddly enough, I noticed the screen asking her to swipe a card. I’m really not sure why you’d want to swipe your card more then you have to. Kinda Scary enough everytime you put your numbers into the world. Though I guess they would use an encrypted matching code… still…

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    Jim [visitor]

    If Blockbuster can match Redbox in price I would use them. How much are they goung to charge per rental. Will Blockbuster have Blueray. Blockbuster has closed all their stores near me. I have 2 Redboxes within a mile from my house. Where will these kiosks be located. Many questions need to be answered.

    I feel the the Netflix one time fee of $99.00 for a box made by Roku is the way to go. I pay about $20.00 a month for 3 dvd’s at a time plus unlimited movies downloaded to the Roku box which is connected to the router and goes directly to the tv.

  7. Visitor [Join Now]
    cooldru [visitor]

    would you have to return the movie on the sd card? What if u lose the sd card?Will the movie just go away when you are thru with the movie 1 time?

    • Member [Join Now]

      They have DVDs now that work only for 24 hours or something. I have no idea how that works, but I imagine they could use the same technology on the SD movies. The only difference is that people can explore SD cards and someone will figure out how to eliminate whatever it is that stops it from working.

      • Visitor [Join Now]
        Steve [visitor]

        There is actually DVD media that degrades after being exposed to air. So when you open the package to view the movie it starts dying. You can find those at truck stops now. But what you would do in a kiosk is to take and burn the DVD right then and dispense it. Then it would degrade to much to be viewed again after about 5 days.

        But…this goes against the rental model. They want you to keep the movie longer and to get to keep charging you for it. They want you to return to the kiosk often as well which is why we have these weekly codes. And mostly they like it when you don’t return a movie and they get to charge you for it.

        This doesn’t answer what happens with memory card rentals though. They probably will have DRM that allows the video to be viewed but only thorugh XX date.

  8. Visitor [Join Now]
    Timothy Veldman [visitor]

    Can any one tell me if there is a way for an individual to purchase a DVD vending system. It seems the days of independant ownership are gone but by would I like to buy an NCR, Redbox or other for myself.

  9. Visitor [Join Now]
    Steve [visitor]

    I don’t see why you couldn’t buy a kiosk and stock it yourself. It wouldn’t be a redbox or moviecube or dvdplay but you could make something of your own. You might not have the pull with the studios to get copies of the movies like the big boys do but I don’t see why you couldn’t put some agreement into place. Its an interesting thought. I have some connections…I’ll ask.

  10. Visitor [Join Now]
    gerry [visitor]

    I tested the Apple TV VOD, wow it was really amazing! But this type of kiosk makes me rent movies again. I rent movies at Redbox and DVD Play. Time is really gold, just want simpler way to rent DVDs. I use the computer at work, I use the computer for news, stocks, banking, bills, e-mails etc … I dont think I will want to use a computer to watch movies. If I want VOD, I’ll just buy it from my cable company. They have HDs anyway. Just wish this kiosks be loaded with Blu Rays.

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