4K Content Options Expand: Redbox Starts Offering Very Cheap 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc Rentals
Stephan Jukic – May 25, 2018
The Redbox chain of movie disc rental kiosks has just taken a step towards making access to high quality ultra HD content more accessible to 4K TV owners. The company has started a trial run of offering up four titles, available in limited quantities in six different U.S markets for rental at $2.50 per day.
So yeah, this is a pretty limited sort of expansion of 4K content options for the consumer market, but it is a crucial step in the right direction by one company that’s positioned particularly well to cater to customers and 4K HDR TV owners who lack access to the necessary internet connectivity speeds for 4K HDR streaming of content. Besides, $2.50 per day is pretty cheap compared to most digital streaming or VOD rental prices of 4K movies from services like Google Play or Amazon.
The first four titles to be available via the new Redbox service are: Disney-Marvel’s “Black Panther,” Lionsgate’s “The Commuter,” Warner Bros.’ “The Matrix” and 20th Century Fox’s “The Martian.” The titles will be available in the 2,500 kiosk locations in New York City, Redbox’s largest single market, and will also be found in other major markets consisting of Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin, Detroit and Miami.
Eventually, the probability that this service expands to all 41,500 Redbox locations U.S-wide is pretty high. In fact we can’t think of a single reason why the company wouldn’t expand something like this considering the growing percentage of homes with 4K UHD televisions in them: According to some of the most recent findings from research firm Digital Entertainment Group, nearly 35 million U.S homes already have at least one UHD TV in them and this number will only expand quite rapidly towards 2019.
The rental price of $2.50 isn’t too shabby but definitely pricier from the $1.75 cost of DVD rentals and $2.00 cost of HD Blu-ray rentals from Redbox kiosks. Another little downside of these 4K titles is that they can’t be reserved online during the current trial run in the above markets.
Redbox is however already in the process of expanding the title selection and plans on releasing several more titles for rental in the coming weeks. These include “Red Sparrow” with Jennifer Lawrence, “Pacific Rim: Uprising,” the 2018 “Tomb Raider”, and 2010’s “Inception.”
According to Redbox CEO Galen Smith:
“We wanted titles that would have high interest going forward — they’re all action-related and incredibly visually stunning. As a consumer, I want to pay a slight premium to get the best possible experience.”
Smith has also pointed out that while the 4K Blu-ray format is still pretty weak on the overall market, the price of the players necessary for using these discs have dropped dramatically since they first came into existence, with some players now costing less than $100 even though most models sold for well over $200 just a couple years ago. According to the CEO, their HD Blu-ray launch also coincided with a drop in HD Blu-ray media player prices.
Redbox’s selection of the test markets for their 4K BD rental service wasn’t random either. The company claims to have worked with studios to find which areas have high sales of UHD Blu-ray discs and availability was calculated based on these figures.
As for Redbox’s fairly new, purely digital Redbox On Demand streaming service, it doesn’t yet offer any 4K content.