Google has just announced via its official Google TV blog that Redbox Instant by Verizon is arriving on the platform today. The newly launched app provides Redbox subscribers with access to streaming movie and TV content, depending on their subscription package, as well as purchase and rentals from the Instant store and the ability to reserve physical discs for pick-up at the closest Redbox kiosk.
Supported Google TV devices include select LG smart TVs, the NETGEAR NeoTV Prime, the Sony Internet Player NSZ-GS7 and the Vizio Co-Star. It’s a limited pool to begin with, and eschews first-generation Google TV devices altogether, but expect it to be compatible with future hardware boasting Google TV, as well.
The launch on Google TV marks the next stage in the continued expansion of Redbox Instant, the would-be Netflix competitor that first debuted in beta at the end of 2012. Redbox Instant has become available for some device-specific smart TVs, after first arriving only on mobile devices, including iOS and Android-powered smartphones and tablets. Back when he first trialled the service, Ryan Lawler noted that it isn’t really a Netflix competitor, but rather is a way to get more revenue out of heavy users of its existing services instead of something that puts streaming first. He said at the time that the real value in the service is for DVD renters who would get a bit more value out of streaming, but probably wouldn’t get many to switch.
Redbox Instant arriving on Google TV is a bit of a case of two platforms, that are struggling to find audiences, joining forces — to the delight of… well that’s the problem. Google TV, despite continued commitment and investment by Google, has not caught fire in the way some imagined it would. And Redbox Instant seems like a reactionary move designed to curtail Netflix’s success, but Netflix already appears on Google TV, and is arguably one of the main reasons to use it; it’s unclear how much this arrangement will help either party with their ongoing struggles, if at all.