Redbox Instant Review – Online Video Streaming Service

  • Editor Rating
  • Rated 4 stars
  • 80%

  • Redbox Instant
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: December 19, 2018
  • Company Reputation
    Editor: 90%
  • Customer Service
    Editor: 80%
  • Features
    Editor: 60%
  • Function
    Editor: 90%
  • Value For The Price
    Editor: 80%

Redbox Instant is a subscription-based video streaming service that specializes in movies.


With Blockbuster and Hollywood Video franchises closing down left and right, Redbox was one of the few companies to enter the media rental market and soon had practically a monopoly over the industry. When online streaming services like Hulu Plus or Amazon Instant Video came into the mix, Redbox's business suffered greatly which caused them to reconsider their strategy.

Due to the change in market conditions, Redbox decided to adopt their own online video streaming model and coupled the subscription plan with DVD credits that could be redeemed at any local Redbox kiosk. I am just finishing up the free 30-day trial of Redbox Instant so this review is based off my experience thus far.


A Redbox Instant subscription provides a free 1-month trial then rebills at $8/month for the rest of your account's existence. This is on par with competitors like Hulu Plus and Netflix, which both charge $7.99/month for unlimited streaming. An advantage of Redbox Instant in comparison to the others is that the $8/month fee includes unlimited streaming as well as 4 credits for physical DVD rentals at your local Redbox kiosk.

Each credit is equal to a one night rental of any DVD or Blu-Ray (depending on subscription level), but you lose a credit for each additional day you keep the it past the next-day return date. So if you're punctual and have no issue renting a DVD, watching it that night, and returning it the following day, you'll be able to rent 4 physical DVDs a month for no charge as the credits are included in your subscription.

The main purpose for this feature is the selection of streamable movies are fairly mediocre and it typically takes a while for new titles to become available for instant streaming (competitors also experience this). Since Redbox kiosks receive these new titles in the form of physical DVD rentals much earlier than instant streaming, this is a major advantage to a Redbox Instant subscription and only costs $4/month more than it would to rent 4 movies from a Redbox kiosk separately.

I'm not going to go much into detail on this topic, but Redbox Instant also allows consumers to rent or buy digital copies of movies through the service at a flat rate per title. On average, these rates are a couple of dollars higher than Amazon Instant Video or iTunes charges so I did not test out this feature. From my understanding, you do not need an active subscription use these digital offerings as they incur separate standalone fees.

Supported Platforms

Redbox Instant is supported on the following devices:

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 1.15.58 PM

Content Selection

Redbox Instant is strictly a provider of movie content and does not include TV shows like Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, or Netflix. This may be a major disappointment to some users since the competing service offer both for the same monthly price, but to others it might be less of a problem as their main motive for signing up is to have access to movies. Instant's movie selection is reasonable, but still a bit disappointing especially when it comes down to what titles you can instantly stream.

For example, here is the current top subscription (streamable) titles when I wrote this review:

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 1.30.22 PM

Now here are the current popular movies that you could rent using your monthly 4 free kiosk credits:

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 1.36.19 PM

Overall, the streaming movie selection is better than Hulu Plus (since it mainly focuses on TV shows), but Netflix does have a better selection of well-known movies to stream. I think the main factor that puts Redbox Instant in the running is their combination of unlimited streaming as well as the 4 DVD credits per month which in the end make the selection of movies at your disposal to be as competitive, if not more competitive than Netflix.


Throughout my testing of Redbox Instant, the streaming quality was consistently solid. Streaming via a web browser required me to download and install Microsoft Silverlight, but that was a simple and painless process.

I was able to stream several movies straight-through with no hiccups or bottlenecks. However, some of you who do not have a high end Internet package, might notice some buffering delays if your Internet speeds are not up to par.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 2.53.32 PM

Final Verdict

In the end, I think Redbox Instant is relatively solid streaming service that has potential to take over a large portion the market share as it continues to grow. The business model is excellent, the pricing is reasonable, and there are multiple devices supported for playback. I just wish their instant streaming selection had more desirable titles, but I think over time this will improve as the service is so new. If you are simply looking to stream or rent (via a Redbox kiosk) new movies then Redbox Instant is likely a worthwhile investment. However, if you're looking to get both movies and tv shows, you'll want to stick with Netflix or Hulu Plus. Either way, I recommend trying out the free trial as you can get a chance to test out the service without spending a dime.

  • HI,
    im finishing my 30 day trial,which I wasn’t able to use very much!! every single time I have tried to use it, there is some issue that causes problems. its different every time, I was able to watch one movie and that was it. I found it extremely frustrating!!! the movies in their library are for the most part not even something I would pay 8.00 dollars for that’s for sure!! i also had issurs with sounds and did everything i could think of to raise the sound, but again not luck!! my opinion of red box instant is 2 thumbs DOWN!!!!

    • Sorry to hear you had a bad experience Heather. Most of these performance factors will rely on your setup including Internet speed (to handle HD streaming) and audio setup. Throughout our testing, we had no issues streaming content or audio issues, but again it is dependent on our setup which probably differed from yours.

      While we can agree the movie library is limited at this time, the service is still very new so this is expected. Netflix experienced the same limited streaming library their first year, but was able to expand as their user-base grew and more licensing agreements were signed. Like I stated earlier, Redbox Instant still has a long way to go in order to win over the majority of the market, but you never know what the future will bring and they do have the potential.

      I hope you were at least able to utilize your 4 free Redbox Kiosk credits as their selection is much broader at this current time.

      • Colt,

        You wrote above that “Each credit is equal to a one night rental of any DVD, Blu-Ray, or video game title”, and this is not correct. In fact, you should emphasize here, that the 4 free credits per month, CANNOT be used for :

        1. BluRay Disks or
        2. Game Disks, or for
        3. “Premium/Prime” Streaming titles

        Not only can the credits not be used for the above 3 types of titles, but each of the above 3 category items cost slightly more than a DVD movie disk rental, which means a DVD movie credit does not equal any of the above 3 types of items in any regard, either as cost, functional utility, etc.. That information is available on both the and websites, but not easy to find, and in my opinion is INTENTIONALLY not included on numerous pages where it would (and should) be included if a vendor had intentions of being transparent, forthright, and provided full disclosure without tricks.

        In addition, I personally find that not showing the cost/price of rental for each item, on the title/image where users are browsing is deceptive and unethical in sales, and this practice is also part of their standard business model on both websites. Naive subscription clients see only the images of titles, and as they are a subscriber are therefor lead to believe there is not cost for them, and that they might be able to use their credits for these items. Such clients (even after they know there is a cost), are forced during browsing of title, to click on each one, moving through page reloads, and hope they don’t complete the checkout, just to find out what the price of the rental is. Those who were not persistent enough to dig and find out that the above 3 items are NOT included in the standard (trial) subscription, will therefore be particularly susceptible to this scam until they figure it out, and even after they figure this out, are required to submit to additional click-through hassles in order to confirm prices for items they might otherwise gladly pay for (but may not wish to bother with).

        At least with Amazon Instant Video, you have the capability (with some fairly complex, but nevertheless available filtering buttons), to create a filtered view, and even bookmark it (if you know how), so that you ONLY see those movies/videos which are FREE as part of the Prime Instant Video subscription service. You can then easily browse, and rest assured that any items you click on, will not have that unhappy and confusing surprise at the end, that there’s some fee associated with viewing/renting the title.

        Lastly, there is yet another scam in the web design for RedBox, albeit not quite so ‘crafty’ as the above in it’s design for deception. If some someone in a hurry attempts to revise their subscription (an ‘upgrade’) they will now be able to use the 4 monthly free credits to rent BluRay disks in addition to standard DVDs. However, conspicuously missing is any clear statement that this upgrade does not enable use of credits for Prime/Premium streaming rentals, or for Games. And of course, the ‘upgrade’ will also immediately end the free trial (which is stated on the same page), but this of course, would seem to be a classic example of information that could (and should) have all been included on the same single page where the trials is started (as an expandable/collapsible region of FAQs, for instance).

        Even though Sony lists RedBox as a future source of PS4 titles, there is no indication of any titles appearing in the near future for any Redbox location, which can be confirmed here:


  • I was very excited at first about redbox instant but there is nothing available to watch without going to the kiosk. I thought the subscription would give me the same movies at the kiosk, I could simply pay a higher price and watch from home and not have the return hassles. Sadly disappointed. Back to netflicks.

  • Netflix is 1000 times better than redbox. I pay $7.99/month with netflix and here redbox is $8.00/month. Go figure. Netflix got way better and huge collection of movies than redbox. I reserved movies from redbox online to pickup in kiosk. Not all kiosk work perfectly. I have to come back empty hand and called for refund. I want to caution viewers try your luck when you reserve online. Redbox is sub par movie rental company whereas netflix is much better quality oriented. If there is any mistake or fault on netflix part , they don’t hesitate to refund and offer promo code etc…. and here redbox fall apart.

  • I actually just subscribed and must say that most movies that are featured are found in redbox instant, the 4 free rentals a month have a value of 5.24$ and the remaining subscription access only ends up costing customers who have no patience for mailing DVD’s and waiting for an extra charge, 2.76$.
    The only difference I saw with exception of the TV show library was in favor of Redbox when looking at featured movies. The Customer service Representatives are very helpful and can be reached via phone, email and chat. Given the proposed rise in cost for new subscribers and limited grandfathering for current customers, Redbox might gain a larger market share.

  • >