Redbox Instant ready to open its doors to the public

Redbox Instant by Verizon may be ready to launch its public beta test as early as Thursday, GigaOM has learned from an industry insider. The joint-venture between Verizon (s VZ) and Redbox (s CSTAR) launched its private beta test in December, offering subscribers Redbox rentals as well as a Netflix-like (s NFLX) streaming service with a focus on movies.
Redbox Instant CEO Shawn Strickland told reporters at a CES event in January that the service would launch publicly before the end of the first quarter. A Redbox Instant spokesperson confirmed earlier this week that this is still the case, but didn’t provide any further details.
The video service offers subscribers four DVD rentals as well as unlimited streaming of number of movies for $8 a month. The catalog is notably smaller than Netflix’s offering, but Redbox Instant hopes to make up for that by offering access to titles on DVD that aren’t available for streaming yet. Customers can also opt to supplement their subscription plan with transactional video on demand titles, also known as rentals.
Redbox Instant hasn’t done much publicity yet, but one shouldn’t be too surprised to see both companies market the service more aggressively to their customers in the coming months. Strickland told me in January that up to 50 percent of all Redbox customers already subscribe to a service like Netflix. The company now wants to steal away some of those customers from its competitor.