Q. I like renting discs from Redbox, but it irks me that they don’t have 4K Blu-rays. It’s impossible to rent 4K discs so it would be great if Redbox would. Any chance of that? — Ed, San Francisco.
Ed, I have some good news and some bad news.
First, the good.
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Redbox, the kiosk disc rental service, revealed last January at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that it will add 4K Blu-rays to its lineup.
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The company did not say how much it will charge for a 4K Blu-ray rental (High-def Blu-rays now cost $2 a night), but you can bet on something like $3-$5 a night. There are few places to rent 4K Blu-rays now so Redbox can get away with charging a premium price.
However, for many 4K TV owners, $3-$5 a night would be a small price to pay for the improvement in picture.
But here comes the bad news.
The rental service also did not say in January when the 4K Blu-rays would begin showing up in Redbox kiosks. Company officials said Redbox would begin renting them in test markets ,and then offer them nationwide when they had determined the right price and disc selection.
But Redbox’s PR department told me last week that the company hadn’t begun renting 4K Blu-rays in the test markets. She also did not know when the testing would begin.
Considering this is April, that would suggest it could be late this year (if then) before 4K Blu-ray are available in most Redbox kiosks.
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Redbox is struggling very badly financially now, with rentals falling drastically. You may never see 4K high definition in their kiosks.
Um, Redbox is doing fine. They’re expanding kiosks and testing 4K right now.