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Even the most non-tech savvy people know that the days of physical media dominance are drawing to a close. As bandwidth slowly expands and online content delivery methods proliferate, people are increasingly turning to streaming and other web-based sources for their entertainment.
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Redbox, a company whose entire business model is currently based on discs, has been rumored for months to be working on a streaming service that would allow it to compete with streaming-dominated Netflix and others.

The company has yet to announce details on a streaming initiative, nor has it announced who its partner would be in such a venture. Redbox president Mitch Lowe, at least publicly, feels that the potential market for a streaming service remains niche, and will stay that way for at least the next few years. Says Lowe:

“Four or five years from now, half of the households in the U.S. will have the device, have the broadband, have it turned on and have the ability to get these movies. However, when you look at — when you look at the consumption models and you track those going forward and you put — you apply that as a percentage of the overall movie rental business, it reaches about 28 percent of the business in 2015, so still a small fraction.”

What do you think, Insiders? Are Lowe’s comments prescient or preposterous? What price point would a Redbox streaming service have to be at to entice you to use it?
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How close do you think Redbox is to launching such a service? Weeks? Months? Dare we say it: years?

(via GigaOM)

27 Responses to “When Will Redbox Announce a Streaming Service?”

  1. Member [Join Now]

    Mr. Lowe’s crystal ball has failed him. Once all content becomes universally streamable DVD’s will become valuable only as coasters and Redbox will go by the wayside.

  2. Visitor [Join Now]
    Video Store Owner [visitor]

    Sorry, guys, but physical product will be here for a long time. Their is a certain demographic of people that will not ever stream. Rural and low income. Even more affluent people who are in their 30’s and above don’t stream. We are talking decades before physical media goes the way of CD’s. This is coming from somebody with more than just an opinion like most around here. I have skin in this game.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Liz Snider [visitor]

      I agree with the Rural & Low Income, not necessarily the 30’s and above… I’m well above 30……
      BUT… my problem with the streaming is Netflix & Hulu don’t have the new releases on streaming.
      Additionally, I can rent 2 DVD’s one cartoon/kid friendly for my grandkids when they are here, to watch in their room, and something I want to see for me to watch in another room. I have a DVD player & a Blu-Ray player. Still need to be able to rent DVD’s.
      In MY OPINION, there will ALWAYS be a need for DVD’s

  3. Member [Join Now]

    As much as I want Redbox to succeed I think they’ve waited too long.

  4. Member [Join Now]

    Most folks I know want nothing to do with streaming…and that is a lot of folks…so I agree 100% with the video store owner…the physical product will be in high demand for years to come…no worries…

  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    JBG [visitor]

    I think the statement “Even the most non-tech savvy people know that the days of physical media dominance are drawing to a close” is incorrect. It is being presented as some absolute truth, the knowledge of which is reserved for the initiated elite. I am a long-time IT professional and I can confidently tell you that the future of physical media is guaranteed to be sunny. From the olden days of ferromagnetic tape to the future of cheap, three-dimensional solid-state mega-storage, physical media carriers will remain the standard. Entertainment moguls might be trying to dictate how to distribute their products but the choice is ultimately with the consumers. Luckily, technology might be precipitated by entertainment but it is ultimately decided by real needs. And once consumers know they have good alternatives, they will find a way to impose their will on the entertainment industry. You can live without entertainment. After all, even the Roman metaphor “Bread and Circuses” puts bread before the spectacle.

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    Vernon Dent [visitor]

    One issue not mentioned is the **deteriorating** quality of recently released DVD media. Since Blu-Ray disks starting shipping [~2007], the unit-to-unit consistency of ISO/IEC 16448 DVD disks continues to decline.

    Even if the DVD disks are just released and in pristine unplayed condition, the number of defective disks or those with blocking [pixelated cells] continue to increase, regardless of the source–redbox, Netflix or Blockbuster.

    Each ensuing year, since 2007, the percentage of rented disks that have to be returned and or exchanged went from one in twenty to one in SIX today!

    I know; I keep records. ;)

  7. Visitor [Join Now]
    Video Store Owner [visitor]

    I clean every disk that is returned. Not a problem at most brick and mortar stores. We have virtually no complaints about disc quality. Now at redbox and netflix…………..

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Lindsay [visitor]

      Who ever you are , where ever you are, SHUT UP about the brick and motor stores. All you seem to do is complain about how Netflix and Redbox has ruined “B&M” stores. Let me tell you a secret, The customer service at both Hollywood video and BlockBuster is I should say “WAS” SH*#ty And thats being very nice.

  8. Visitor [Join Now]
    Segarolow [visitor]

    I want the real deal.. A DVD disc….So I can watch it on my Home Theater set up…
    With my 8 Ft wide, 4 Ft high screen…
    The real deal is the best deal…

  9. Member [Join Now]

    While I have both means to watch media I at this time chose mostly to watch rented dvds. However the wise move for Redbox would be to start aligning themselves with a partner to provide streaming. It will be a little too late to suddenly five years from now try to build a customer base. A good case in point is e-books as far as how fast a market can take off.

  10. Visitor [Join Now]
    craig brustad [visitor]

    red box your wrong..people who buy new blu-ray players can down streem all new realease movies,even before redbox gets them..i used to rent 3-5 movies from redbox a week,now that i have netflix,and vudu,why drive to a box and have to return a movie..down streem makes watching a movie easy…so red box you should think hard about this subject..rummor has it that nexflix is going to stop mail,and go all downstreem soon…this year for box you are a great deal for $1.00 however netflix for $7.00 a mo and unlimited movies for this price is a great deal…so i hope you go this direction and charge a small fee and beat all others in pricing…think hard on this..anyone else who has down streem any movie will probally aggree….please reply to my response…

  11. Member [Join Now]

    Craig, Netflix isn’t going to stop its by-mail movies anytime soon. Any company that is smart appeals to the masses, not the 20 percent that like streaming only. Someone above talked about pixelation on newer DVDs…Have they seen Netflix streaming? The picture quality and sound quality are sub-par at best, not to mention no subtitles or Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. Also, not everything is available via streaming. As a WWE fan, besides a couple of WWE Films releases and a non-WWE produced documentary, everything else is available on physical media only.
    Also, for all the fuss over how great Blu Ray is, why would someone who owns a BR player want crappy NF streaming in NTSC when they can watch 1080i HD discs? NF has a long way to go on their streaming service. Let’s review…
    No Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
    No subtitles
    Sub-par picture quality
    Sub-par sound quality
    From a company that crows that they’re now “Primarily a streaming company”, they sure have a long road ahead of them to make this perfect.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Liz Snider [visitor]

      Bad thing about the changes with Netflix and their streaming, they keep increasing the price. I have my Netflix on “Hold” now to see if I spend less by getting my DVD’s from RB & BB for the Movies I really want to see, than I was spending with Netflix. A LOT of their Streaming movies I could watch, I could also catch on TNT, USA or other TV channels and record on DVR. It’s a toss up which way to go.
      But my biggest thing is watching the new movies that come out.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Vernon Dent [visitor]

      Streaming is so bad, that even with fiber, it’s far worse than disk distribution.

      Unfortunately disk distribution is not what it used to be, but still preferred until the Internet II initiative is fully deployed in the US. In South Korea, 1GB/sec service is now the norm for residential IP stack connectivity. In the US, it will be quite some time before the bandwidth and protocols will be available for decent large packet streaming.

  12. Visitor [Join Now]
    Dave Tartaglia [visitor]

    Currently both models coexist in the marketplace based on demographics:
    Redbox covering low to middle income
    Netflix (and others) in the middle to upper income

    Online-shopping has not displaced bricks-and-mortar stores, each fills a need. But in any business, especially one that is technology-driven, things can change pretty quickly. Who knows what is down the road?

    My choices are driven by genre-preference. I like foreign films, Britcoms, art-house and independent movies. Can’t get those with Redbox.
    Netflix, Hulu, et al better serve my needs.

  13. Visitor [Join Now]
    JBG [visitor]

    By the way, as BluRay has become relevant to the subject, have you noticed the trend with it whereas it is becoming a “soft” standard (which is really an oxymoron)? That is, the BluRay player would have Internet-based, updatable firmware, not only for minor tweaks but for essential functions, such as the ability to interpret the disc information. What that means is that there could be new discs issued in the future that would not play on a player you have today. Or discs you own today that would not play in the future (after an update). I am sure the protection game will be played a lot, which will ultimately cause people to be unable one day to play a movie they own. This has been one reason I’ve stuck to DVD and I don’t like where this is all going. I have enough computers, I don’t need another one sitting in my entertainment center. If someone will sell or rent me a movie, I want the unhampered ability to play that movie, in full quality, anytime, period.

  14. Visitor [Join Now]
    labfish [visitor]

    Many people are just lucky to have any bandwidth at all! Some days we can see a news video and others we can’t. The only halfway highspeed comes to us via our receivers on our roofs from neighborhood towers. How on earth could we possibly see a movie without a DVD?!?!

  15. Visitor [Join Now]
    John [visitor]

    I hope REDBOX does offer a streaming service to go along with its regular machine service. The word has gotten out and many of the machines–especially the ones at kroger are picked over and you are lucky to get a new title release because they are already checked out.

    I would like to see REDBOX run their own streaming deal and make it like their machine service and not tie it to a subscription. I rarely use B&M but many dont have the setup to go streaming so the good ones will survive but many will fail as the technology gets better and more people get access. It would be nice to able to get all the new titles as soon as they come out and hey, the other guys without streaming wouldnt be competing with me for first access to new releases.:).

  16. Visitor [Join Now]
    tuna [visitor]


    • Visitor [Join Now]
      tuna [visitor]

      What was wrong with this site yesterday I tried to post my code yesterday for 02/24/11 because I was not going to use it I could not post it

  17. Visitor [Join Now]
    Bill Smith [visitor]

    I see a lot of interesting posts here and would kind of like to address them all. First off all mediums for movie entertainment are welcome as far as I’m concerned. Someone said in the posts that these companys need to address the masses and although most try none of them succeed in addressing the needs of every single person and therefore this allows there to be DIFFERENT types of media for customers to enjoy. To sit here and compare one to another is silly because they all have their strengths and they all have their weaknesses. Think about it, dvd great because you don’t have to worry about your player not being able to play it because of protection updates bad because you don’t get the video quality of bluray. Blurays great because you have awesome 1080p quality video and sound but are hampered by the intensive attempts to keep people from pirating movies and thereby making some blurays unplayable on certain machines either because they need to be updated OR because they have already been updated. I for instance own one of the older model blurays (pre internet accessible so it can only be updated by downloading the update on my pc and burning a disc that is then installed on the player) and therefore in the long run there will probably be several BD discs that will not play on it. Finally, lets talk about streaming. Streaming is great because as someone else said here, it is convenient and “instant”. But the problem is not necessarily the streaming services as some of the people here say it is but rather your connection. I have time warner cable internet and the only problem I have encountered with streaming is my wireless router not working properly and therefore losing the connection for me. Otherwise it works great. But on the other hand, what if you are watching a great movie and your signal goes out because your service provider is doing some kind of physical update to the wiring in your area (as has happened to me in the past) then so much for streaming. Can’t stream if you don’t have a connection to stream with… There is one more important issue I wanted to address here. Someone is saying that movies on Netflix look bad. Well, I just subscribed to them about 2 weeks ago and some look like dvds and others look like blurays. One thing most everyone forgets is that the video is only as good as the medium it is recorded on and thats usually how it is transferred. Plus, has anyone here ever connected a dvd player to an HDTV? you will immediately notice a loss of video quality when compared to a standard CRT. That’s why analog tv stations look so bad on these newer tv sets. So if the movie or show was transferred to a stream and was poor quality to begin with then you can expect that the stream will probably match that poor quality. The last thing I have to say is that someone said they preferred bluray because they would rather see high def video at 1080i(which by they way we have 1080P with bluray not just 1080i) and they made it seem like that wasn’t possible with streaming services. Well, this is just not true. If you have a good HDTV flat panel tv and use services like vudu, you will be able to stream FULL 1080P HD content. I know because I have already done this. By the way, I have also streamed their SD content and it looks better than dvd so I don’t see what the complaint it. If you really want to know who is winning in all this, its the manufacturers of the devices we use. I for instance just bought TWO sony bluray players that play dvd, bluray, and wirelessly stream netflix, Qriocity(like vudu and amazon on demand), and is dlna certified (which means I can use programs like Playon which gives you further entertainment options) with it. Sony and other companies see that all 3 (dvd, bluray, and streaming) are viable, money making options and are taking advantage of this fact by providing a device that will suit those customers that are fans of dvd, or fans of bluray, or fans of streaming just the same. In the end, why bicker with each other about which one is best, which ever one you choose as your favorite is what you will enjoy so just do that, ENJOY IT!!!

  18. Visitor [Join Now]
    jza [visitor]

    long winded tirade…………..