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Redbox Instant launches private beta for video streaming

The streaming service that's aimed to compete with Netflix rolls out a private beta inviting users to test the service for free for one month.

Redbox Instant -- Verizon's stab at a video-streaming service to compete with Netflix -- was rolled out into private beta today. For the first time, users can sign up for the service and see what it has to offer.

The service will give new users, who sign up to try it in beta, unlimited streaming and four DVD credits for free for one month, according to the Web site. Once the month-long trial ends, the service will cost $8 per month.

Redbox Instant is a joint venture announced in February between Verizon and Coinstar -- the company that owns the Redbox DVD rental business. The companies have been working on developing an on-demand video-streaming service with DVD rentals. Redbox Instant will also supposedly be available on a variety of operating systems and devices, such as Android, iOS, Xbox 360, some Samsung TVs, and Blu-ray players.

Earlier this month, rumors leaked that the service would be fully available by the end of the year. However, it was actually the private beta that became available. The new date for the public launch of Redbox Instant is now scheduled for the end of 2013's first quarter or the beginning of the second quarter.

The service is undercutting key rival Netflix's monthly rates by charging just $6 a month for unlimited streaming -- $2 less than Netflix's comparable offer. If users want the four-DVD plan also, it costs $8 a month. A plan that includes Blu-Ray discs costs $9 a month.

While the service is more affordable than Netflix's offering, Redbox Instant won't have the same access to movies and shows. It has an agreement to get content from Epix, as well as studios such as Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM, but it will still fall short of the breadth of offerings that Netflix boasts.