I’m not a Netfix guy—there’s something inherently comforting about doing business with a vendor that has a physical presence in my neighborhood—but that’s just me. So when my kids told me about a movie service called “Redbox” I was immediately interested. The Blockbuster store we’d been going to for years had, like so many outlets in that chain, closed its doors for good.
Redbox is literally just that—a movie rental service that operates out of a red box about the size of a typical vending machine. In fact, it looks curiously like a Coke machine! (I was going to compare it to a phone booth but remembered that most people under 30 probably don’t know what those look like.)
They place the boxes in grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores and just about anywhere there’s some extra space. They’re usually placed in an obvious place at the entrance of a store so their hard to miss. The red color of the box helps with that too.
Why I love Redbox
The one closest to us is in the main entrance of a Kroger grocery store less than a mile from home, so it’s hard to beat as convenience goes.
What’s great is that all of the movies are on a touch screen on the front of the box, so you make your selection, swipe your credit or debit card, your video pops out and you’re on your way home. You don’t have to walk up and down aisles (only to find that the movie you want is out of stock), you don’t have to stand in line, and you don’t have to deal with movie store clerks. It’s hassle free.
The price for a movie rental may vary by location, but at our “box” we pay just $1.28 a day for a movie. That includes tax, by the way. If you keep it longer than 24 hours, no problem, they add another $1.28 to the charge without you having to do anything more. Video games are available for $2 a day.
Compared to what Xfinity charges for a typical rental—about five or six dollars for a two day rental—the Redbox fee is a steal.
If you open up an account at redbox.com you can also reserve movies in advance. You can use the advance reservation to reserve newly released movies that my quickly stock out. They’ll also give you a credit for a free rental if you open an online account.
No, I don’t miss Blockbuster at all.
The Redbox story
Redbox offers DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and video games. The company has over 29,000 boxes—or kiosks—all over the United States and is now branching into Canada as well.
The company has come up quickly, no doubt owing to the decline of Blockbuster, and probably also as a Plan B for people like me who don’t want to go the Netflix route. By the middle of 2011 Redbox has more than one third of the movie rental business nationwide, which goes to show how quickly things can change.
There is one thing about Redbox that I don’t like…
And conversely, it’s the one and only thing I do miss about Blockbuster. There’s only so much you can fit into a box the size of a vending machine, and that means limited selection.
Redbox has all of the latest releases for sure, what they don’t have is a store filled with older movies that can be fun to watch. Going to Blockbuster was something like going to the library—if you searched long enough you could usually find that unusual movie that maybe you didn’t have time to see or rent when it was more current.
Oh well, I guess that’s why we have YouTube…
What do you think about Redbox? Have you used them yet?