Redbox has launched it’s invite-only beta phase. With the price increase and intro of separate services from Netflix last year, many fans of streaming media have been seeking an alternative source. I got an invite to check out the newest online service and I’ve come up with a few key aspects you might want to consider before canceling your Netflix or Amazon account.
- Redbox Uses a Tiered Payment Plan As Well
Before the beta phase began, people were anxious about the claim that Redbox would offer everything Netflix does, but for just $6. Now that the site is running – that’s not the case. The $6 option only gets you the available streaming titles. With the next highest plan ($8) you can get streaming and 4 kiosk rentals per month. However, your codes do NOT roll over if you don’t use them within the month. If you use a Bluray player then your cost will be $9 per month and still only 4 kiosk codes. With Netflix you do pay more ($8 for streaming and $8 for DVDs) but, as long as you don’t let a DVD sit on your desk for a week, you can get more than 4 DVDs per month. Netflix also has the benefit of sending DVDs right to your home with no lines and no chance of it being sold out like frequently happens at a Redbox Kiosk.
- The Redbox Instant Selection is Extremely Poor
First off, Redbox only offers movies. There are no tv shows. Second, the movies included in their unlimited streaming are even worse than Netflix. They are either over a year old or (most often) movies you’ve never heard of. After scanning through their instant selections for several minutes I found only one movie I actually recognized. That’s saying a lot since I am fairly familiar with independent film. I also found that the movies listed were also repeated 2 or 3 times on the same search screen; making their selection appear larger than it is. If your biggest complaint about Netflix is the lack of newer films – Redbox won’t solve the problem. If you want new release movies you’ll have to either go to the kiosk or pay more money. That leads me to the next tip…
- Just Because It’s On Redbox Instant Doesn’t Mean It’s Included in Your Price
Top new releases (aka the movies you actually want to see) are not included in the unlimited streaming. If you want to watch a hit movie like Looper, Bourne Legacy or Odd Life of Timothy Green – you’ll have to pay $4.99 each to watch it as a ‘rental’. If you want HD the cost is $5.99.
- Redbox New Releases Can Be Found on Netflix and Amazon As Well
One of the biggest gripes customers have with Netflix is the waiting period for a new release. Unfortunately, you’re going to find the same is true with Redbox. I compared the new releases available on Redbox with those available on Netflix. Out of 10 movies released at the end of 2012: 8 were available on both Redbox and Netflix (none of them available streaming on either site), and 2 were available on Netflix but not found on Redbox at all.
- Disney Signed an Exclusive Deal with Netflix
If you have children then you know how important Disney films are when it comes to your available movie night lineup. In December Disney signed a contract stating that as of 2016 Netflix will be the only online streaming service to offer Disney films. Right now Netflix has the classics like Alice in Wonderland and Pocahontas as well. New direct-to-video Disney movies will be available on Netflix starting next year. But, it won’t just affect parents. The deal includes all Disney owned companies such as Marvel and Pixar (yes, that means Avengers and Star Wars).
- Redbox Devices
The Redbox site lists iPhone, Android and tablets along with Smart TVs or Bluray. There is no option for an external device to view Redbox streaming on a regular television without Bluray.
If you are already a dedicated Redbox user, switching to the Redbox Instant plan will definitely save you money on your kiosk rentals. So this is a great step up for current customers. However, if their plan is to convert Netflix and Amazon users I just don’t see what the incentive would be. It’s probably safe to assume that Redbox will increase its inventory and available devices over the next few years. However, switching any time in the near future would mean even less streaming selection, more fees for the movies in demand and giving up the convenience of DVD-to-Home delivery.
*This review is in cooperation with Bzzagent. I was allowed beta access to the site above – no compensation was received.