Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Redbox Instant

There's another player in the streaming video rental biz. Redbox sees the future of movie rental and it's in streaming services rather than discs. So they've teamed up with Verizon for Redbox Instant and are offering a free month trial.

Even though I have Amazon Prime, and I can't seem to get rid of Netflix, I'm not one to turn down something for free. So I gave it a shot.

One of the benefits of the free trial was it included 4 free DVD rentals. I use Redbox once in a while to rent DVDs and Blu-Rays so this was a nice bonus. No matter how the streaming service turned out, this was worth the trial.

Now my free trial period is over, my four rental credits spent. Alas, it was not good enough to renew. Had I kept the subscription it would have been $8 a month (a nice round number) with 4 Redbox DVD credits. I could have upgrade to Blu-Ray for $9 a month or taken off the Redbox credits for $6 a month. The price wasn't a problem, it's actually one of the things going for it.

The problem I had was twofold. The first issue is Redbox Instant had a lot smaller selection than Netflix and Amazon Prime. Currently there are no TV shows on Redbox Instant, which is one place where Netflix and Amazon Prime shine. The movie selection was pretty much the same as Netflix and Amazon Prime with minor differences. One of the pluses in Redbox Instant's favor is they had the very first Doctor Who movie, Dr. Who and the Daleks. Very cool.

The other problem I had with Redbox Instant is that the website is not very user friendly. Search results are mashed together. The DVDs from the kiosk and the streaming rentals (like Amazon, some movies can be rented and then streamed) were included in the search. You can filter for just subscription, kiosk, or streaming rental results, so that is a minor plus, and a little better than Amazon Prime. Redbox Instant is not even close to being as user friendly as Netflix.

With all of that being said, I wouldn't count out Redbox Instant yet. I subscribed to Netflix when they first started to stream and cancelled after a few months. Now I can't bring myself to cancel Netflix because of their kids selection, not to mention the TV shows and documentaries.

The Redbox Instant site says it's in Beta so things could change for the better. They already have an app on Xbox and I'm sure will be on more platforms soon. If they can add TV shows that would be huge too. Amazon and Netflix are starting to produce their own series and that could help Redbox Instant if they stumble onto something. One smart move would be to pickup something with a nice fan base like Jericho. I suppose it's too late for Firefly.

If you want to give the free trial a shot, head on over to their website and see what you think. Just push that unnecessarily large button. It's worth four free movies.

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