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Redbox Ramps Up Test of Price Increases

Adds four cities to study of discs renting for $1.15 to $1.50, up from its standard $1 fee

The days of the dollar rental may soon be over.

Redbox, the kiosk operator that based its business on offering a cheaper alternative to rental chains like Blockbuster, is ramping up its testing of increased prices.

The company first began a trial in Albuquerque in November of 2009. Now it has added four more cities:  San Diego, Spokane, Miami/West Palm Beach and Modesto, a company spokesperson confirmed to TheWrap.

The higher prices represent only a modest jump from the company's current dollar rental fees. They range from $1.15 in Spokane and Miami to $1.50 in Albuquerque. A Redbox spokesperson said that no end date has been set for the trial and refused to divulge the company's rationale for the study.

In the past, Redbox's low prices have been a sticking point with major studios, who prefer the more capacious margins afforded them by Blockbuster, which rents movies for several dollars more.

Redbox said it is also testing renting Blu-ray discs in select locations.

News of the testing price increases was first reported in the Hollywood Reporter.

Aaron Barlow writes about film, new media (especially blogging) and whatever else happens to pique his interest. Past owner/operator of a cafe, a store, and a gallery (among other activities), he began teaching at New York City College of Technology (CUNY) four years ago. His newest book is “Quentin Tarantino: Life at the Extremes.” Visit him online at www.aaronbarlow.com.