redbox instant by verizon image

—— Update: As of Oct. 2014, this service no longer available. ——

Redbox is the latest company to provide online streaming entertainment with their new service, Redbox Instant by Verizon. Redbox, already a household name, is set to capture more of your time and money with the multitude of configurations they offer for the service, including subscription (streaming), DVD kiosk rentals, videos on demand, and digital download purchases.

Are you a frugal consumer who has dropped a cable subscription in favor of a more flexible streaming entertainment option? If so, you may find the service to be an inexpensive way to keep you and your family entertained throughout the year.

As a BzzAgent, I was given the opportunity to test out the service, and did so, even while traveling. I tested out the service on multiple devices across varied internet connections.

I was pleased with the service and the offerings available in the streaming library. While there is room for improvement in the title listings,  I found a number of movies listed that are not available at Netflix. In fact, most everything I watched isn’t available for streaming at Netflix. Having said that, Netflix has the clear advantage when it comes to television shows, as Redbox Instant does not currently include them in their library.

Image credit: BzzAgent Bzz Kit

In just a short amount of time the little red Redbox kiosks located in and outside our local stores have become an easily identifiable and sought-after source of entertainment. While many movie rental stores have closed, the little kiosk army continues to grow. That kiosk army has found another way to expand as Redbox steps out of the rental box and harnesses the power of online streaming entertainment with their latest offering, “Redbox Instant by Verizon.”

I am a current Netflix subscriber, so I was curious as to what new options Redbox Instant by Verizon could provide to the consumer who is currently happy with their streaming entertainment source. I’ve only been streaming movies and television shows for nearly a year, so I am eager to watch and experience the expansion and development of new streaming services. While this is not a “Netflix” versus “Redbox Instant by Verizon” review, I do rely on my experience with the former to judge the movie offerings and service of the new kid on the stream.

I signed up for the streaming subscription to beta test the service, and I wasn’t initially impressed with the selection of movies available to stream. I was especially disappointed in the absence of television shows on the service. My disappointment multiplied upon realizing that they weren’t offering any movies that are currently in their kiosks as part of the library of the streaming subscription.

Like any new venture, once you let go of your expectations, you are finally free to explore what is truly in front of you.

This new service covers a lot of entertainment territory, which includes the following:

— streaming library of movies available to watch with your monthly subscription
— 4 DVD credits to be used for renting movies at a Redbox kiosk
— options for streaming movie rentals (Redbox Instant by Verizon Premium Videos on Demand)
— options for digital download movie purchases
— the ability to watch the streaming library of movies on a number of internet-connected electronic devices
— at the time of my test subscription, I received a subscriber bonus to stream the Sony Movie Channel

Come along with me as I test out the movie streaming service.

Don’t worry, you do not have to be a Verizon customer in order to use the service.

Disclosure: I am a BzzAgent and was provided a free sample of this product to review. My reviews and experiences are my honest opinions of the products tested.

Image credit: BzzAgent Bzz Kit

Costs & Benefits

Price example Redbox Instant by verizon

 

The monthly streaming subscription is priced at $8, plus you receive 4 DVD credits every month (1 DVD credit = 1 night rental) to use at the Redbox kiosk. You can upgrade to blu-ray for just $1 more a month, but only after the free trial is over.

Unlimited streaming subscription w/ 4 DVD credits: $8month
Unlimited streaming subscription w/ 4 DVD Blu-Ray credits: $9/month
Unlimited streaming subscription without 4 DVD credits: $6/month

The credits CANNOT be used toward renting games at the kiosk or for streaming movie rentals.
The credits DO NOT roll over from month to month.

Rental & Purchase Options at Home:

— Rent or purchase Redbox Instant titles in standard or high definition.
— When you rent a title, you’ll have 30 days to begin watching, and then 48 hours to watch it as many times as you’d like.
— A purchased title = Yours. Enjoy as you wish.

My screenshot to the right illustrates the costs associated with renting or purchasing the “Despicable Me” movie.

You’ll need high speed internet access to stream your movie/tv selections. Beware overages when streaming on your mobile phones!

There are no shortages of Redbox kiosks: 35,000 locations nationwide.

You can set up parental restrictions for the account and view the movie titles that have been picked up at the kiosk.

One Month Free Trial

Try It Out and Cancel When You Want

Admit One Movie Ticket image

 

Don’t take my word for it, you are free to sign up for a One Free Month Trial to see how you like the Redbox Instant by Verizon service.

Remember, you are free to browse the service, and rent streaming videos and purchase them without a subscription account!

Pay attention to the date you sign up, because if you don’t intend to maintain the subscription, you’ll need to cancel before your next payment due date or your credit card on file will be charged for the next month of service.

Note: Blu-ray credits are not a part of the free trial.

Image Credit: dniezby @ openclipart.org

Everyone Can Watch…

You can have 5 devices streaming at the same time, but only 2 of those devices may simultaneously stream the same title!

 

Can You See it Now?

Streaming When and Where You Want

movie glasses and popcorn

 

I tested the Redbox Instant subscription streaming service out in a variety ways and connections. The service works great on both a laptop and desktop connected to a high speed internet connection. The stream was perfect on a wireless connection, too.

When we traveled to Illinois I used my Verizon Hotspot to connect my laptop to the internet. Our rural location in Illinois is always a challenge just to talk on a cell phone, so I wasn’t sure how well the service would work there.

When I had a strong 3G connection the movies played well, without any problems. I was truly amazed at the quality playback. When the connection was weak, playback would freeze and struggle to play without interruption.

When I had a 4G connection the movies played perfectly. There were no problems with audio sync or playback of the movie.

I also downloaded the Redbox Instant by Verizon App from the Google Play Store for my Android phone. After viewing and accepting a license agreement, I was asked to enter my email and password associated with my account and was instantly greeted with a nicely appointed dashboard that resembled the one I’ve come to know on my laptop. This is a nice feature, as you don’t have to struggle to seek out the services you need or relearn a new way to navigate the service.

You can view your account summary, including any credits remaining, the next date and charge amount due to your credit card, as well as the type of account you have.

You can also use the app to reserve a movie at the nearest Redbox kiosk.

The dashboard displays your bookmarks, reminders to return DVDS to the kiosk, purchases, and prompts to finish watching movies you started and have yet to finish.

I selected Pretty in Pink and it started playing at exactly the spot I last stopped the film when I last watched it on my laptop. No jumps, smooth sound and video. Love this. The ability to carry Pretty in Pink in my pocket to watch on a whim is a testament to the advancements we have made as a species.

As always, you can filter what is available to watch with your streaming subscription, at kiosk, and rent/buy.

You can instantly stream to the following internet-connected devices, including smartphones (iPhone and Android), tablets, computers, Xbox 360s, and select Samsung Smart TVs and Blu-ray players and LG Smart TVs.

Image Credit: Merlin2525 @ openclipart.org

That’s A Wrap

My Final Thoughts on The Product

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I really enjoyed beta testing the new Redbox Instant by Verizon service. At first glance, I thought there weren’t many different offerings between Redbox Instant and Netflix. This isn’t the case, as the movie list I provided above illustrates,

I have no complaints about the streaming quality on any device I used for the service.

Using the DVD credits at the kiosk is a simple process and I have yet to rent a movie at the kiosk that was unplayable at home.

Searching for movies in the Redbox Instant library is easy, especially with the ability to filter the results by availability via subscription (streaming), the kiosk, video on demand, and digital download purchase.

The ability to rent a newer movie or buy it online without moving from the couch brings a new element into the streaming experience that has been successful for many years in the cable market. While these options come at a higher cost above the monthly subscription price, this is no different than the “video-on-demand” model cable subscribers have used for years.

The one feature that stands out about Redbox Instant by Verizon is the flexibility it offers users. They do not force you to create an account just to look at what is available in their virtual store window. I believe forcing people to sign up for an account before seeing what you have in your virtual window is not a good business practice. Additionally, you don’t have to subscribe to the monthly service if you are only interested in renting or purchasing a movie.

The Redbox Instant by Verizon site is easy to use and has a comprehensive help section that can help anyone learn to use the service. Every step in the sign up process is easy to understand, and I believe all ages can handle it easily.

The inability to roll over unused monthly credits to be used at the kiosk is a real negative in our house. It would be nice if they rolled over for even 3 months at time.

Redbox Instant by Verizon gets high marks from me, as I believe the service offers many useful options for the consumer that are not available with other streaming providers. The four DVD credits and the ability to stream rentals and digitally download movie purchases pushes the service beyond any other streaming entertainment venue I’ve used. Having said that, the glaring hole in the service is the inability to stream television shows. Based on my own usage of Netflix, I watch a good deal more of the television shows that I do movies, so using Redbox Instant by Verizon as my main source of entertainment would not work for me.

Many consumers have dropped cable in preference to streaming entertainment. No one service has all the titles one may want to view, so while consumers are happily shredding their cable bill, they are acquiring multiple subscriptions for streaming entertainment. Redbox Instant by Verizon is a valid choice for anyone searching for quality service that carries additional titles they may not be able to watch elsewhere. The DVD credits are a big bonus with this program, and for the consumer who frequently rents from the kiosk, the ability to stream movies online may simply be an added bonus they wouldn’t have taken advantage of otherwise.

Whether or not you choose to sign up for this or any streaming service, having another offering on the table is always a good thing. Online streaming entertainment is a wonderful option for anyone who is home bound or who frequently travels and don’t want to rack up expensive hotel movie rental fees. The lack of a long term contract makes it an affordable and flexible option.

As more consumers subscribe to multiple providers in an effort to increase their chances of having the best library of options available to them, we are becoming a society that is no longer limited by choice, but rather the time with which to watch all we seek to savor.

While the limitation on our choices are continually being lifted, time is the inescapable equalizer that truly prevents us from watching all we seek to savor.
Image Credit: gnokii @ openclipart.org

Have You Waded Into the World of Streaming Entertainment?

What are your thoughts on the offerings by Redbox Instant by Verizon? Do you appreciate that more services are becoming available, or do you feel overwhelmed by the choices?

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