September 26, 2012, 8:30 AM — Nothing on TV tonight? Well what about Netflix? No? Amazon Prime Instant Streaming? Hulu Plus? iTunes? HBO Go? Seriously, there is nothing on?
Well the good news is you'll soon have even more choices when it comes to finding something to watch, because yesterday we got word of two more streaming media services coming online.
First, Barnes & Noble has announced Nook Video, set to release sometime this fall. Nook Video will of course run on Nook Tablets but will also work on as-yet-unspecified tablets, smartphones and Internet-connected TVs. B&N says they'll have content from HBO, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, STARZ, Viacom, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Walt Disney Studios. Nook Video will also support UltraViolet, the digital locker initiative being offered by many studios.
It seems pretty clear that Barnes & Noble is playing "Keeping up with the Amazons" with this move. They haven't announced pricing but it sounds like Nook Video will actually be more iTunes than Amazon, by which I mean I don't think there'll be any kind of "all you can eat" streaming offering (such as Amazon offers with their Prime program). Instead you'll be able to rent or buy content one piece (or season, in the case of TV) at a time.
The other new streaming news this week isn't official, but according to Bloomberg the Redbox-Verizon partnership is almost set to launch and they hope to be live by the end of the year. It's called Redbox Instant by Verizon and this one is an 'all you can eat' service aimed directly at Netflix. Once again no pricing has been announced, but the 'hook' Redbox has is the 40,000 kiosks it has in front of gas stations and grocery stores across the country. When you sign up for Redbox Instant you'll get vouchers for physical disk rentals as a freebie (how many hasn't been shared). Redbox Instant will also offer digital movies for sale.
Of these two new services I think Redbox Instant has a better chance of taking off thanks to all those kiosks and their selection of disk-based movies that haven't yet been made available on streaming services. Of course that too could be changing. For instance Fox launched Prometheus in a streaming format three weeks before the DVD and Blu-ray hit store shelves. If that idea takes off then kiosk vouchers lose much of their value.
I just don't see how Barnes & Noble will differentiate themselves from the video stores offered by Amazon, Apple, Sony, Microsoft, Vudu and others, though perhaps by leveraging their brick & mortar stores they can expose new customers to the idea of streaming. I feel like I have a video store on every device I own already and don't need another, but I suppose I'm not the typical consumer and maybe there's an audience out there who is yet to discover the joy of streaming.
Any excitement for either of these new services? Let's hear it in the comments!
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