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Updated. The online video joint venture Redbox Instant by Verizon is set to launch sometime before the end of the year. The service is currently being tested in private beta, and Verizon (s VZ) and Redbox (s CSTAR) have kept mum on some key details. However, after a bit of digging, I discovered that the service’s closed test is accompanied by an exhaustive help section that is publicly available on the web. From those help pages, I was able to gather a number of interesting details about the service, as well as get a first look at numerous screenshots.
It’s worth pointing out that services like these can adjust key details last-minute before a public launch. After all, that’s what closed testing is about: figuring out what is working and changing what isn’t. With that in mind, here’s what I was able to uncover about Redbox Instant by Verizon’s current offering:
- Subscriptions start at $6 a month, which gives users unlimited access to the service’s subscription video catalog. That catalog is expected to be much smaller than Netflix’s, (s NFLX) but it includes some titles also offered by the competitor, including Killers, Rango, Iron Man 2 and Thor.
- An $8 a month membership adds four Redbox credits to the streaming package that can be redeemed for Redbox DVD rentals. Users will be able to reserve their DVDs from the Instant website and mobile apps. Credits won’t roll-over but expire at the end of each month.
- Redbox Instant also offers VOD rentals and sales of newer titles, which can be downloaded to some devices for offline access. Rentals and sales start at $0.99, and offer access to titles like The Lorax, which will presumably cost a bit more than that.
- Redbox Instant will initially be available on the web, Android (s GOOG) and iOS (s AAPL) devices, the Xbox 360 (s MSFT) and select Samsung TVs and Blu-ray players. Customers will be able to register up to five devices to access the service.
- Just like Netflix, Redbox Instant is using Silverlight for streaming on the web.
- The help section also includes a hint regarding the launch date of the service: Beta testers are being told that they won’t be able to access the DVDs included in their subscriptions at some kiosks until December 17.
Update (11/30): It looks like the support site mentioned isn’t publicly accessible anymore. However, we got an emailed comment from Redbox Instant by Verizon CEO Shawn Strickland:
“We appreciate the enthusiasm for Redbox Instant by Verizon and we look forward to sharing the full details of the service soon.”
A company spokesperson wasn’t able to comment on any specifics mentioned in our report.
Check out some screenshots of the service published by Redbox Instant: