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Blu-ray coming to Redbox Kiosks


It's probably inevitable that Blu-ray Discs would someday begin competing with standard DVD titles at those increasingly ubiquitous Redbox kiosks situated within local supermarkets and other heavily trafficked retailers. That inevitability is now scheduled for mid-summer, according to the kiosk chain's parent firm, Coinstar.

Redbox indicated at a mid-March business confab in Manhattan that while it hasn't set any price points to Blu-ray rentals quite yet, it will charge a bit more for the 1080i video disc titles over regular DVDs because it will cost the company itself more to obtain the Blue-ray content. Redbox now typically charges $1 per day to rent its in-store DVD inventory.

Adding Blu-ray titles to most kiosks will not, however, necessitate deleting more standard DVD content, the firm said, because its kiosks are rarely stocked to capacity. When Blu-ray rentals begin by June or July, Redbox anticipates it will immediately affect about 15 percent of its customers. (That's probably pretty close to reality. Weekly sales data of Blu-ray's share of the overall video-disc market have been hovering at the 12-14 percent level in recent months.)

Most Redbox-available titles come from DVDs physically purchased by the firm's employees, who literally venture out and buy discs at retailers like everyone else, upon the titles' respective release dates. Notable exceptions include titles from Warner Brothers, which do not become available as Redbox rentals until 28 days after they become available for purchase at retailers. (The agreed-upon delay also affects DVD and Blu-ray rentals from Netflix.)

Other studios such as Universal and 20th Century Fox are seeking longer "wait-windows" than 28 days, and Redbox has taken both studios to court over the issue.