At least one dozen U.S. airports now have movie rental kiosks operated by MOD Systems and NCR Corp that will give customers the chance to purchase or rent movies that get stored directly on a secure digital card.
Digital kiosks first entered public testing on July 16th in Atlanta and Seattle, but recently were introduced as Download2Go kiosks at Denver International, John F. Kennedy International, San Francisco International, and several other major airports.
Movie rentals start at $3.99 and can be viewed an unlimited amount of times within 48 hours after first pressing play. Customers have 30 days to watch the movie before the rental expires. Movie purchases start at $12.99 and can be played on any portable electronics device that supports SD playback.
It’s easily possible to distribute movies on SD cards and portable media, but it might be a mistake for the movie studios to try and market these niche products directly to consumers. I expect the kiosk operators to work with movie studios to promote the benefits of movie rentals and sales on SD cards.
I think placing these rental kiosks in airports, train stations, and other public areas is a very good idea for companies looking to broaden their reach. As someone who travels frequently, I’m constantly reading, writing, listening to music, and watching movies while waiting in the airport terminal prior to boarding — and the ability to rent or purchase a movie in the airport itself could be enough to cause me to splurge.
The use of SD and other portable media is becoming more common in the living room, with HDTVs, standalone Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, and other electronics now being equipped with card slots and card readers. Elsewhere in the industry, the Blockbuster Express kiosks are able to support future updates to include SD card support, so this type of service might be found at many locations throughout the United States in the near future.