Blockbuster might want to put some extra polish on that new advertising campaign. There’s apparently a new service around the corner called “Flix On Stix” that uses a kiosk model similar to Redbox, only instead of getting a DVD, you simply plug in a USB thumb drive and download the movie rental in seconds. Maybe Redbox should start planning a new advertising campaign too? Or is this new technology destined to go obsolete almost as soon as it begins? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.
·Selection – A kiosk should have room for enough hard drives to store thousands of movies, so hopefully you won’t be limited to new releases of the last few months. If anything can give these kiosks an edge, it will be finding user-friendly ways to exploit this advantage.
·No DVD Rental Headaches – Since the movie deletes itself after the rental period, you don’t have to rush back to return anything. No late fees either. Also, since we’re dealing with data, you won’t end up with a scratched disk and nothing will be checked out. Take that Redbox!
·Actually Watching What You Rent – According to my research on different online electronics sites, most new Blu-ray players have USB inputs. A little more than half of televisions do, and it’s still a rarity with DVD players. Most likely, these numbers will increase rapidly. Cool! But, what if you didn’t buy a new TV or Blu-ray player in the last few years? Unless you have a cord or some wireless way to beam your computer’s desktop to your television, you’re stuck watching movies on your computer. Fine for some, but not ideal for watching movies with others. Or you can buy a Flix On Stix box, the price of which has not yet been announced.
·The Internet – And here’s the killer. Redbox still makes sense for people who don’t want to mess with newfangled equipment like Rokus and Apple TV and the like. But are those same technology-phobic people going to want to deal with USB drives? Also, not only are most Blu Ray players equipped with USB imports, but almost all models are Wifi ready. That means people can access online streaming and downloading with their home theater, which seems even easier than going to a kiosk.
It’s a good idea, but if technology keeps developing at it’s current pace, the entire target market for this type of rental will have their internet connected to their home theater soon. With so many streaming, downloading and on-demand options available this way, it seems like Flix On Sticks may be obsolete within a year or so under its current model. Come to think of it, Redbox might want to watch their back too.
But let’s hear your thoughts. Are USB rentals a Godsend or a gimmick that will fade fast?