Redbox kiosks have popped up at every neighborhood block in the country practically overnight! There seems to be one in every grocery store, liquor store and 7/11 in the nation.These free-standing, vibrantly red kiosks offer tons of new movie titles for cheap and are require absolutely no membership, making them appealing to many who don’t use traditional movie rental stores anymore. But how does the new kid on the block stand up against industry veteran Netflix and their disc rental service? Read on to find out!

Background

Netflix first offerings was DVD via mail rentals, but the service has since then expanded to Internet streaming movies and TV shows. As the originator of such a service, it was only a matter of time until it began to see some competition. Redbox is one of those competitors. It’s a movie kiosk rental service that places its little kiosks in grocery stores, in front of liquor stores and more. You walk up to it, select a movie from its pre-loaded selection, pay and your DVD (or Blu-Ray) disk pops out. There are even video games in some of those red kiosks for gamers to rend nightly for a fairly low price. There are more than 333,000 kiosks in more than 27,800 locations (so Redbox states).

User Friendly

It doesn’t get any easier than walking up to your local Redbox kiosk, taking a look at the title selection on its touchscreen, selecting your movie(s), imputing your payment info and then grabbing the discs from the slot at the side of the machine. Returning is just as easy, too! Go back to the same location (or another if you’d like since each disc has an electronic bar code/security tag on it that tracks it when it’s rented or returned), return the title on the touchscreen and pop it right back into that slide slot. Volia! You’re done.

For Netflix, set up an account online, choose what type of membership you’d like (disc rental service ONLY, streaming online content ONLY, or both) and begin enjoying your favorite TV shows, documentaries and movies. Create a wish list for you mailed discs and they’ll send you your wish list movies. With no due date, send them back whenever you want and then the process starts all over again (you also have the option order more than one disc at a time, but for more cash).

Winner: Tie

Compatible Devices

Since Redbox kiosks offer DVDs, Blu-rays and video games for gaming consoles like Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation3, if you have a DVD or Blu-ray player or the aforementioned consoles, you’re good to go. The rentals can also be seen in in-car systems that have video players and we can’t forget computers and personal DVD devices. Netflix has pretty much the same compatible devices for its disc rental program since it also has Blu-ray titles (no games though).

Winner: Tie

Titles

Redbox kiosks have limited space for disc in their red free-standing stations, so title selection won’t be in-depth. They will, however, carry lots of newer releases and some oldie but goodies depending on the kiosk (each has its own inventory). But if you’re looking for a specific title or want to make sure that new movie you’re looking for is available at your local kiosk, you can go online and look up what that kiosk is loaded with. You can even place it on hold online so that no one else snatches it up before you get there.

Netflix has way more titles than Redbox. It’s said they have more than 100,000 titles on DVD and Blu-ray, so you can easily rent that hard-to-find movie you’d like to see again. Plus they have TV shows in their title library, which is something Redbox doesn’t have.

Winner: Netflix has a larger title library than Redbox’s kiosks.

Membership Perks

Like everything else on Earth, Redbox has its own online site where you can create a username and password to check out what kiosks have, place your favorite titles on hold or trek down that coveted movie to a kiosk that you’ve been dying to see. Once you sign up, you’ll also receive promo codes for free rentals and the sort. When you reserve a title at your local kiosk for the first time, you do get to rent it for only a $1 (one-time only promo, but still a deal). Signing up is free, too.

Netflix offers more variety in terms of membership packages like the choice to add streaming online content to the disc rental program. Plus it offers a month of free service to test it out and allows you to halt subscription for a few months if you’re going on vacation, etc.

Winner: Netflix since its membership offers more than just disc rentals.

Content

Sorry TV show lovers, Redbox is a movie-only rental service (with video games thrown in, too). Netflix, on the other hand, offers movies and TV shows and documentaries. It has huge licensing deals with FOX, NBC, ABC and more.

Winner: Netflix has features more content.

Speed of Service

Redbox provides instant service (that is if you don’t have to wait in line for the kiosk). You can rent/return movies any time of the day or night you’d like (but there is a due date before you get charged extra days) depending on store hours (if its inside and not outside). You get instant gratification with Redbox, allowing you to go rent a movie when you want to see it and return it two hours later once you’re done. With Netflix, you have to wait a bit for the disc to be mailed to you so it’ll take a few days for your disc to show up in your mailbox. But Netflix doesn’t have any due dates or late rental fees for keeping the discs too long as Redbox does.

Winner: Redbox offers instant gratification over Netflix, so it wins here.

Quality

Redbox’s discs are good to go right out of the kiosk, but some might come scratched, broken or won’t play since so many people rent them, but if you get one of these and sent something to customer service regarding your problem. You can also call the customer service line and you’ll probably be given a rental credit or even reimbursed. For those with Blu-ray players can opt for Blu-ray disc rentals (for a price increase, though). Netflix is pretty much the same here.

Winner: Tie

Limitations

Redbox is ONLY a disc rental service with no streaming content available on its site. There are some rumors that it might have that option in the future, but for now, discs only. Another limitation is that you must return disc back by 9 p.m. the following day or else you’ll get charged for an extra day. Netflix is a membership service that requires a monthly fee, which might not do well for some who don’t like to be constrained to monthly obligations since they take out the fees from your checking account each month.

Winner: Netflix’s membership isn’t that bad and those who sign up know what they’re getting themselves into.

Price

To rent at Redbox, you’ll have to spend $1.20 a movie, $1.50 for Blu-ray discs and $2 for games. Rentals used to be $0.99, but they’ve recently increased their price, but it’s still not that bad. But if you go online to reserve a movie at your local kiosk, you’ll get your first rental for only $1. Since Netflix is a membership service, you’re charged monthly for whatever package you choose, which include: unlimited streaming movies OR unlimited one-disc at a time rentals for $7.99 ($11.99 for two disc rentals at a time) and $15.98 if you desire to have both of Netflix’s disc and streaming content. Blu-ray discs are an extra $2 a month.

Winner: Redbox rentals are still pretty cheap compared to VOD ones and doesn’t require any monthly memberships so it’s easier on the wallet than Netflix.

Overall Winner

It seems even though Redbox is cheap, offers new releases and provides instant gratification since you can pick up a movie at a local kiosk, Netflix’s disc rental service still provides more bang for your buck! True movie lovers will enjoy having  more titles to choose from and the ability to keep movies for as long as they’d like rather than rushing to watch Redbox rentals before the next day due date to avoid extra charges. While Redbox is a great service, Netflix still seems to beat out its competition.



Kristie Bertucci

 
Kristie Bertucci is an L.A.-based writer, who can't live without her MacBook Pro. When she's not writing, she's either reading or shopping (online, of course) and loves lazy days so she can catch up on her DVR-recorded shows and movies. She's definitely a Mac girl, she loves music and is currently on a mission to to have an insane and enviable iTunes library.