In what could become a shot-in-the-arm for the fledgling Ultra HD Blu-ray format, video rental kiosk chain Redbox announced Tuesday that it has started testing rentals of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs in six major U.S. cities.

“This is a major move for Redbox as we focus on expanding consumer access to home entertainment options across price points and formats,” stated Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox. “As the popularity of 4K content increases and pricing of 4K hardware decreases, we’re excited to offer the best viewing experience at the best price for 4K Blu-ray discs.”

The launch selection remains limited to four popular titles including: “Black Panther” from Disney; “The Commuter,” from Lions Gate; “The Martian” from Fox and “The Matrix” from Warner Bros.

The initial allotment will be followed in coming weeks by: “Red Sparrow”; “Pacific Rim: Uprising,” “Tomb Raider” (the 2018 version) and “Inception.”

Redbox is expected to use the test markets to study consumer demand for what type of content is the most popular in the new format.

The titles will begin appearing this week in about 2,500 Redbox kiosks in the cities of New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Miami, Seattle and Austin, representing about 6% of the approximately 41,500 Redbox kiosks across the country.

To start, 4K Ultra HD offerings will not be available on the company’s recently added Redbox On Demand platform.

Redbox is charging $2.50 per night for an Ultra HD Blu-ray rental, compared to $2 per night for standard Blu-ray Discs and $1.75 for DVDs.

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At this time, Redbox is not making online reservations available to the new 4K Ultra HD titles, but all Redbox rentals, including 4K UHD ones, can be returned to any Redbox location, the company said. Consumers can visit for further information.

“Redbox has a history of supporting consumer adoption of new technologies and elevating the quality of the viewing experience,” said Ash Eldifrawi, chief marketing and customer experience officer at Redbox. “Our nightly rental model makes the ultimate viewing experience a great deal that’s more accessible to consumers.”


By Greg Tarr


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