Toys R Us now has a no subscription needed, pay as you go movie streaming service called Toys R Us Movies (ToysRUsMovies.com). Since we are Netflix users and stream a lot, I thought that I'd give this new service a look-see. I am not impressed :(
I imagine that they launched this movie service to complement the launch of their kid-friendly, Tabeo, set to be available very soon. Most tablets come with a Netflix app these days and I would be that they're hoping that their streaming product will catch on.
Buying movies: I checked out the price on Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted and found the digital copy to sell for $15.95, about $2 cheaper than getting it on DVD from Amazon and about a buck more than Amazon's digital download price to buy it. Toys R Us will allow you to have the movie you purchased on up to 5 devices (currently only on computers, though there are plans to increase the number of devices).
Personally: I'd rather spring for the extra few bucks to get the combo pack and have a BluRay, DVD, and digital copy. I did find at least one movie (The Incredibles) that was being sold at $19.95. Amazon offered to let you buy it digitally for $14.99, 5 bucks cheaper. Again, I'd rather spend the extra for the combo pack.
Renting movies: I also checked the rental price for some movies on the ToysRUs Movies site. They are comparable to Amazon.com's rental prices, though Amazon's streaming gives you a 48 hour rental for the $3.99, whereas ToysRUs Movies gives you a 30 day window. If your child is one to watch a movie a bunch of times in a row and then never again, then TRU's streaming service may be the better choice for you. Still, the $3.99 is a bit pricey for a rental these days. Netflix will have Madagascar 3 available in BluRay and DVD later this month and I have already put it in my queue. Redbox will have it later this month too, so there's no incentive to rent it online when Redbox and Netflix will have it available anyway.
Renting episodes: This is not an ideal situation. Your kids love Looney Tunes, but there's no option to stream the DVD by rental at the $3.99 price that other titles are offered at. Instead, the 26 episode DVD is only available in $2 per episode chunks. BLECH. 26 x 2 = 54. $54 for your kids to watch Season 1. Pass! Chunk up the DVD into smaller bite sizes and charge a more reasonable fee.
Bottom line: I don't see Toys R Us Movies as a competitor to Netflix for the streaming market. I predict that the majority of users will be those who buy their kid a Tabeo and load it with a few movies to keep the kids happy and quiet in the car. I do like that there are family friendly titles and that if you allow your child to browse for content, they won't see adult titles that you might find objectionable. Netflix does this already --- my kids select the "kid" version when they browse. Toys R Us Movies has 4,000 titles available and I love that they have many Disney movies in their library to choose from. Hopefully, they will expand compatible devices sooner rather than later. With the Tabeo set to release in less than two weeks, I would hope that Toys R Us Movies will have tablet functionality by that time.