Target launched on Wednesday Target Ticket a new streaming video service that will compete with the likes of Amazon Instant Video and Walmart’s Vudu. We took a brief look at the service and found it to be a competent entry, but lacking any standout features that would give it an edge in an already crowded market.
Selection on Target Ticket is good. With over 30,000 titles to choose from, you’ll find the latest TV shows and movies on the site. Pricing seemed to be roughly the same as that of Amazon and Walmart. One noticeable advantage Ticket did have was a free 9-minute preview of Star Trek Into Darkness. Vudu, by comparison, offered only a 2-minute preview, while Amazon only offered the trailer.
In a tie-in with DRM scheme UltraViolet, Target Ticket will be able to store the digital copies of DVDs and Blu-Rays that include the option. The feature is listed as “coming soon”. It’s hard to imagine anyone being particularly excited about the UltraViolet support, but it does add a convenient way for Target to merge online and offline content. If you set up or link an UltraViolent account right now, you can get 10 free movies, but the selection is so abysmal that I didn’t see anything I wanted.
REDcard holders will see a modest 5 percent savings on purchases. With free shipping, a 5 percent discount at retails stores and online and extra time for returns, the REDcard offering is already an enticing deal for regular Target customers, and this makes the program a little sweeter.
Target has focused on making Ticket family-friendly. The retailer partnered with non-profit organization Common Sense Media to include its reviews and also allow filtering based on Common Sense’s age recommendations. You can create individual profiles for different users, so that your kids will only see appropriate recommendations while you can browse the full selection. Amazon offers similar controls, but with less flexibility.
Ticket works on PC, Mac, Android, iOS, Roku, Xbox and Samsung TVs and Blu-Ray players. Switching between the Web and the iPhone version was seamless, with playback picking up where I left off. You’ll have to make your purchases via the Web, though, as the iOS app works only for viewing, likely to avoid giving Apple a cut of content purchases.
As you’d expect, Target Ticket follows the company’s red and white color scheme. The setup looks better than Vudu, but only slightly so. The swaths of bright red get old quickly, but it’s not egregious.
Target has built a decent service with Ticket, but it’s unfortunately very late to the party. It’s bound to have some success among loyal customers. The next time I buy or rent content, I’ll probably do it through Ticket since I can get the 5 percent off with my REDcard, but the truth is I spend most of my time on Netflix anyway.