Redbox makes second go at online streaming, Google Maps gets 'Wi-Fi only' mode

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in General Discussion
Better known for its DVD and Blu-ray rental kiosks, Redbox is reportedly braving a second foray into online streaming. Google, meanwhile, is rolling out a new "Wi-Fi only" option for data-conscious users of its Maps mobile app.




Redbox is trialing a new service, Redbox Digital, with a select group of customers, according to Variety. An iPad app was quietly released on the App Store last month, and can only be used by trial participants.

Because the service is an experimental phase, it's not clear when if or when it will launch, and how much it might cost. Given prices on services like iTunes, Vudu, and Google Play, however, digital rentals will likely be more than the $1.50 charged at kiosks. An HD iTunes rental, for instance, is typically $5-6 -- which can be nearly half the cost of owning a film outright in some cases.

Sources for Variety claimed that the company is deliberately avoiding a Netflix-style subscription service. A partnership with Verizon, Redbox Instant, was launched in 2013 but shut down 18 months later after weak demand.

Redbox Digital already appears to support the Google Chromecast, and the Variety sources said that Redbox is hoping to support Roku devices as well. There's no word on whether an Apple TV app might be planned.

Google Maps






Wi-Fi-only support is currently rolling out to handful of Google Maps users, Android Police noted. It's not clear if the feature is Android-only so far, but regardless, Google tends to eventually migrate Android Maps features to iOS whenever feasible.

If present the option should replace "Offline areas" under the Settings menu. When active, Maps will only work in areas for which a person has cached data, though Google cautions the app may still consume a "small amount" of cellular data.

The company may also be testing notifications for mass transit delays. One AP reader who encountered the option noted that a toggle failed to work, and an associated screen vanished after Maps was reopened.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    noivadnoivad Posts: 186member
    I avoided RedBox instant because it was tied too closely with Verizon. If they manage to avoid partnering with another company that scrapes your info, I might try it. I’ll walk the 10m (or drive 2m) to save ~$2–$3/rental anyway. So, if prices are inline with other streaming rentals, I will probably pass on that too.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    noivad said:
    I avoided RedBox instant because it was tied too closely with Verizon. If they manage to avoid partnering with another company that scrapes your info, I might try it. I’ll walk the 10m (or drive 2m) to save ~$2–$3/rental anyway. So, if prices are inline with other streaming rentals, I will probably pass on that too.
    Well said. I try and avoid anything Google, MS, Yahoo, Verizon or ATT...these and the cable companies, I loathe. I try to buy only Apple SW & hardware...of course, I'm forced to have a non-Apple TV, printer and car. But I do have an AppleTV (no TV cable). I don't have a DSLR b/c I don't want a clumsy UI. 

    Back to movie rentals: I have 3 Redbox's on my route home for work, and I do admit, as much as I want to support Apple, it's awfully hard to spend $5.99 to rent a movie when I can get it at a RedBox for ~$2 (BR). I hate having an additional "errand" to do the next day, but saving $4? Every once in awhile I get a scratched disc or I get to the RedBox and it is out-of-order and I can convince myself that $6/iTunes is worth not messing about with DVD's. Cuz, DVD's are the future! :)

    One thing I have done is stopped going to the Movies...fat americans, eating popcorn like donkeys while I'm trying to enjoy the movie. Ugh!
  • Reply 3 of 6
    How is "Wi-Fi only" different from turning off use of cellular data in iOS settings that is already available for every app?
  • Reply 4 of 6
    How is "Wi-Fi only" different from turning off use of cellular data in iOS settings that is already available for every app?
    Normally Google Maps runs on the assumption of an internet connection and doesn't play well if you turn off cellular. This lets you run as if everything were normal, minus any traffic updates, of course.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    AI_liasAI_lias Posts: 211member
    How is "Wi-Fi only" different from turning off use of cellular data in iOS settings that is already available for every app?
    It makes maps fully usable when there is no Internet connection. If you ever went to the mountains and there was no cellular data available, you'll have a hard time with Apple Maps. But the Google Maps offline areas and now this feature are really handy.

    Up above someone said that they try to use only Apple software. I suggest more flexibility, because Apple is mediocre at software. Some of their software is good, but much if it is mediocre, and some bad. Google Maps wins hands down on features and even UI design. Waze is even better than Google Maps, but for off-line areas, Google Maps is best.
  • Reply 6 of 6
    benjerbenjer Posts: 87member

    Back to movie rentals: I have 3 Redbox's on my route home for work, and I do admit, as much as I want to support Apple, it's awfully hard to spend $5.99 to rent a movie when I can get it at a RedBox for ~$2 (BR). I hate having an additional "errand" to do the next day, but saving $4? 
    Agreed. I don't fully understand the economics (especially how distribution deals work) behind the price of streaming rentals, but at some point, I would guess that the cost of delivering a movie rental digitally will eventually drop below delivering it physically. The only reason Redbox is still in business is because they are cheaper. Sure, they get some titles four weeks later than streaming services, but other than that, Redbox is almost as convenient for our family as renting a movie via a streaming service. Since we live in a populated area, we can decide which movie to watch, go pick it up, and have it in our BR player within 10 minutes.

    Here's my prediction: the first service—doesn't really matter if it's Redbox, Apple, Amazon, Vudu, etc.—that figures out how to stream new release rentals for $3 or less will own the market while others play catch up. What I don't understand is why Apple hasn't yet been able to do for movie rentals what they did for digital music purchases.
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