Redbox Instant app review (w/ video)

redbox_720After a few months of pre-release hype, the Redbox Instant by Verizon app and service has gone live. Currently offered in a beta release, one must sign up for an access code to get in on the streaming movie service. I added my name to the list a few weeks back, and recently received a code. After setting up my account, I have spent a day playing with the new Android app.

redbox_app_screen2It’s immediately obvious that this is not the Netflix-killing service that some might be expecting. Just a quick glance at the “subscription” movies tells you that you don’t get the same stuff that you can grab at a kiosk. That’s alright, however, as the $8 monthly subscription fee includes 4 DVD rentals from the red kiosks.

Is it worth another $4 for access to the other movies? At first blush, it feels as if it might be… but only for a short while. Once I exhaust the list of stuff that I care about then I suspect that Redbox Instant will end up as diminishing returns. Simply put, this is like comparing the difference in Netflix streaming versus getting physical discs.

The app itself is quite nice and works well for users looking to hunt down a nearby Redbox kiosk.


Using GPS, the app can tell you where the nearest locations are and even let you browse the currently available movies. Want to reserve a DVD or Bluray?  That’s pretty easy stuff with this app. Then again, the other Redbox app made these things rather simple, too.

One of the features I most liked was being able to quickly see what movies I’ve bookmarked and finish watching films.  What’s more, the reminder tab should be a handy tool to let you know that you’ve got to take back that copy of The Lincoln Lawyer back before you end up owning it outright.

If there’s one bit of advice I would recommend to users, especially in the beta stages, it is to set up your full account online. The app itself is not all that difficult but it’s much easier to put in all your details with a full keyboard and mouse.

Note that reviews and comments in the Google Play Store advise against trying this on rooted devices. Perhaps this will get ironed out over time or once the service is publicly available.


What We Liked

  • Service includes 4 DVD rentals
  • Reminders to return movies and games
  • Full account management
  • Does not require a Verizon handset or service plan

Room for Improvement

  • More ‘quality’ movies in subscription service
  • Alerts for new subscription movies
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  • Ryan5609

    If you have a beta key and you are using a rooted device with the Redbox Streaming app, you will need to disable Superuser before you can access the service. I am running a rooted Galaxy Nexus with 4.2 and the app works fine. The service itself kinda sucks, but I think it just needs time to mature and needs to add more GOOD content, There are only so many B grade sci-fi flicks and direct to DVD movies I can take.

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  • elnator

    It’s live now and still cannot use the app on rooted devices (and even some non-rooted devices get flagged as ‘rooted’. What’s worse is this isn’t a bug but a ‘security feature’. I find it ironic that they feel they need to block rooted users because they might pirate the movies in some way (yeah right like we’d bother?) This is the same as Ultra-Violet and is just forcing people to continue finding ways to get movies that they can watch on their devices in other ways. Ultra-Violet and this app are misguided, at best, blocking rooted users.
    As to the ‘service’? It’s laughable… My On-Demand channel on Cox Cable (which I can watch on my android just fine as well as my wife’s ipad) has a bigger selection of new releases, often at better prices. As to the ‘subscription’ content it’s worse than Netflix. As a matter of fact some of the ‘Rent/Buy’ content is available free on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
    All in all this service isn’t worth the $8 at all. Get Netflix and just use redbox as normal and you’ll get more bang for your buck right now. Maybe in a year or 3 they’ll get this to where it’s a useful service. Frankly I find it stunning that they want you to pay $5 for a streaming video when you can get it for $1 at the kiosk 1 block away.

    What’s even more stunning is that after running through several of the rent/buy options and comparing them you can get them cheaper from amazon instant video. I was really hoping that Redbox Instant would be a service for like $2 or $3/movie to stream content they also have in the kiosks … I’d pay a $1 or $2 markup to be able to stream it… but if it’s $5.99+ for HD content I am better off just using Amazon.