Redbox, the kiosk DVD rental service, has entered the video on demand arena. Joining online streaming services such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, Fandor, and Vudu, Redbox takes a different approach by creating appeal through the rental of physical DVDs. Subscribers get four DVD rentals per month, which can be picked up and returned at any Redbox supermarket kiosk. Keep reading to learn if the Redbox Instant streaming service is for you.
The Redbox Instant Subscription:
Subscribing to Redbox costs just $8 per month, and for that price you get four one-night Redbox DVD rentals, and unlimited online streaming of the Redbox online collection. Unlike Netflix, which focuses more on shows that movies at this point, Redbox Instant is devoted specifically to movie rentals and online streaming. The collection is smaller than the Netflix collection, but you'll find that Redbox has a broad selection of new releases and a quick turnaround time.
Although Redbox Instant could be seen as a competitor for Netflix, it really just depends on what you like to watch. If you really like watch shows online, Netflix is for you, and if you prefer movies, you'll probably prefer Redbox Instant. And for less than your monthly cable bill, you can subscribe to both services to have the best of both worlds.
Getting Started with Redbox:
Redbox gives users a month-long free trial upon signing up. To sign up with Redbox, go to the Redbox website and click on 'Start Free Trial'. Then, you'll need to provide your name, a valid email address, your zip code, and a password. Next, you'll need to provide your billing information by entering a credit card number. You can choose to use this card to make all rentals and future purchases to simplify Redbox rentals both online and at kiosks.
After you're done providing this basic information, your free trial will begin immediately, and you can start browsing the selection. If you aren't satisfied with what you find, remember to cancel your Redbox account before the 30-day trial period ends so you aren't billed for a subscription.
Streaming Movies with Redbox Instant:
Redbox Instant is programmed with cross-platform support for most mobile devices and computers, including tablets, laptops, and computers with both Windows and iOS operating systems. For iOS devices, Redbox Instant uses a built-in media player, and for Windows devices it uses Silverlight. This is the same streaming media player that Netflix uses, so if you're already a Netflix user there's no need to download any new programs.
Redbox Instant is also available on the Xbox, and this is the first Internet TV device that's hosting the service. The company has plans to become integrated with other smart TV devices like internet-enabled Blu-ray players, Google TV and LG smart TV. Users should expect Redbox Instant's device compatibility to steadily increase as time goes on.
Although Redbox boasts HD streaming, whether or not you can take advantage of this feature depends on your internet connection and the device you're using to stream video. To stream in SD you'll need a 500KPBS internet connection, and to stream HD, you'll need 2.5 MBPS. Redbox will automatically boost the playback quality of your movie if your connection can support it.
For the most part Redbox movies stream very smoothly using a PC and wireless internet connection. It is a new VOD service, so expect some lag times in buffering - especially when skipping ahead in a movie.
Browsing the Redbox Selection:
Compared to Netflix and its never-ending choice of genres, Redbox Instant movies are organized quite simply. New releases are listed first on the main page, and you can also filter movies by the genres you were used to browsing in the video store - action, comedy, drama, family and horror. In addition, you can choose to search for titles that are available for online streaming or for pick-up at your local kiosk.
Although Redbox Instant is similar to Netflix in that it's an inexpensive, subscription-based streaming video service, the two companies are very different in the type of content they offer. If you like Netlix but want a larger selection of newly released movies for streaming, Redbox Instant might be the service for you!
All prices as of March 2013.