Verizon and Redbox are reportedly gearing up to poop out a TV and movie streaming service. Great. Because what the world needs now is yet another streaming content provider with a nonsensical pricing scheme. Please don't no stop ugh. UGH.
Here's the rundown on the Verizon/Redbox hash: TechCrunch reports that the subscription-based service will get an April beta followed by a May 28th launch, with iOS, Android, Google TV, Xbox, Roku, and media-box-TBD compatibility. Content deals are still being sorted out, but it'll won't be a channel for new releases. In other words: it's just like every other goddamn streaming service you're already not using. Oh, except a little worse!
The rotted out cherry on top of this grotesquely redundant sundae is an oh-god-why credit-based pricing structure that sounds as pointless as it is complicated. To partake in Project Zoetrope (a codename I actually kind of hope they keep?), you'll pay a monthly fee for a set amount of credits to access shows or movies, with a way to reload if you need. Which, hey, worst thing ever. The whole point of subscription services is to cut out additional fees. Why would I make you a set monthly payment for a capped amount of content when I could just get unlimited movies and TV shows from Netflix or Amazon or any of the humongous number of streaming services out there? I wouldn't! I won't. No one will.
I mean honestly, have you stopped to take inventory of all the services we have doing this exact thing (or similar), just without the bizarre pricing? To wit: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, Vudu, Veoh, Crackle, Yahoo Screen, Video On Demand. Individual network apps from HBO, Showtime, NBC, CBS, TNT, TBS. Purchases and rentals through Sony's PSN or Xbox Live or iTunes—without the locked-in monthly subscription cost. There are others I'm missing, I'm sure. It's just my eyes started to bleed?
Streaming is a huge part of the current internet landscape, and everyone's got to try to get their cut. I get that. And Netflix pissed a bunch of you off earlier this year with its price bump and Qwikster fiasco, so having options is a good thing. But here's thing: we're pretty well saturated at this point, yeah? If Verizon really, truly, infuriatingly has to get in the game, the least they can do is make something better. More isn't better for its own sake. More is better when it drives competition. And I don't see some weirdo Xbox Live-ish credits system making Netflix shake in its booties.
Project Zoetrope is just a rumor right now, sure. But even if it never materializes, now seems like as good a time as any to take stock of the sad, sputtering streaming battlefied. Innovate or die. That's a thing people say, right? So let's bring on the bloodbath, already. [TechCrunch]