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Flix on Stix kiosks coming soon: it's like Redbox, but with USB thumb drives

Darren Murph
12.04.10
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The concept's far from new -- Warner and Paramount signed up way back in the heyday known as "2009" to offer movies on SD cards, and select Blockbuster rental kiosks have been popping 'em out ever since. But Flix on Stix is an expected twist on the models that are already out there, and it's one that will no doubt face some difficulty in reaching the same level of acceptance as Redbox. Put simply (or as simply as possible), consumers waltz up to a kiosk, select a TV show, game or movie, and then they choose whether they'd like to purchase or rent the title. The outfit has yet to come clean with specific pricing, but the (presumably mocked up) video embedded after the break shows rental rates of $1, $2, $3 and $4 for 3, 6, 9 and 12 days. There's also no clear indication how TV episodes and games will be handled, but we're hearing that users can either bring their own USB stick (USB 3.0 is accepted!) or opt to procure one directly from the machine. Swipe your Visa or Mastercard (c'mon, no Discover or AMEX?), and then... wait.

In fact, this is apt to be the biggest hurdle. What are the resolutions being offered? What if you select a 1080p film that's 7GB, and only have a 4GB USB drive? Or better yet, what if you've got a 8GB USB 2.0 drive and a doctor's appointment in ten minutes? Comically enough, the demonstration video actually shows the patron playing a game of poker while she waits for the transfer to complete -- something tells us that's not going to go over well with prospective customers waiting in line. We're guessing that most folks will peace right on out if the wait to purchase something from a box exceeds a few minutes, and given the very nature of this scheme, it sounds like that scenario is almost guaranteed to happen ad nauseum. At any rate, expect to see the first of these popping up in two to three months, and meanwhile we'll be digging for more details on pricing and distribution plans.

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