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Redbox, perhaps famed for its 42,000 some odd kiosks containing movies on DVD and Blu-ray (plus video games) that are available for rent, has a streaming service that is scheduled to be added to the 750 or more channel line-up on the Roku devices.


Called Redbox Instant, the service is similar to Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant in that it provides video-on-demand streaming for less than $10 per month. What's different about Redbox is that the subscription is also giving subscribers three free DVD rentals each month as well. Getting the DVDs requires a quick trek to the local Redbox kiosk, but it allows for newer released movies which aren't usually accessible through the instant service.

Redbox currently doesn't have any TV shows as part of its streaming service, but carries around 8,000 movie titles. According to an article on AllThingsD Hulu Plus subscribers have access to over 63,000 TV shows and about 3,700 movies. Amazon Prime has somewhere in the ballpark of 33,000 movies and TV episodes via subscription. In terms of quality, Redbox Instant will only deliver up to 720p, with some other services delivering as high as 1080p. Standard definition is OK for some, but others that are passionate about their home theater setups and have purchased a TV to support it, prefer or sometimes require that high-def content be streamed. Netflix and Hulu Plus both stream full HD when it is available for a given title.

While it is great that the Redbox Instant service is expanding to the Roku, and unless the DVD rentals is an exciting addition, it seems the service is not really up to par with the rest of the streaming video-on-demand options, especially when priced the same.

At least with Netflix we get access to original series TV shows like the latest season of Arrested Development, the political drama with Kevin Spacey called House of Cards, plus the upcoming Orange is the New Black from the maker of Weeds. Not to mention Amazon's lineup of originals recently announced (although mostly aimed at children). Hulu Plus, while it has commercials, often has TV show content quicker than most other services.

Either way, many people are making their TVs "smarter" by plugging in a Roku device for around $50 to $100 depending which one they purchase. With the Roku, the home theater wakes up to a plethora of streaming content from the Internet including music, TV shows, sports, games, movies and more. A lot of the content is free, but as mentioned, for services like Redbox Instant and Netflix, there is an eight dollar a month fee attached. The Roku also includes services that allow for al-a-carte purchasing and rentals of digital content.

All of the modern Roku players including: the latest Roku 3, Roku LT, Roku HD, Roku 2, and the Roku Streaming Stick will include the new Redbox Instant channel this summer.

Other popular channels on the Roku streaming boxes include: TuneIn, Vimeo, Crackle, Vevo, NHL GameCenter, Angry Birds, PopcornFlix, CrunchyRoll, Facebook, Rdio, Flixster, MLB.tv, and MLS.
 
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