Gears of Tech

Technology. Pure and simple.

Is Redbox Instant Worth It? How it Compares to Netflix.


Redbox Instant on iPad 3This morning, I received an invitation code to try the new movie streaming service by Redbox and Verizon. Redbox Instant, still in Beta, can be used on iPhone and iPad, Android phones and tablets, or on a computer.

Sign Up Process

It took me a while to start using Redbox Instant. After I installed the official app on my iPad and entered the invitation code, it asked for my login information but no link to register.

Opening in Safari allowed me to register, but not activate the streaming service. Entering my login information on the official app would work, but would not let me start the free trial. I imagine this was likely due to Apple’s current pay scheme guidelines.

After a few unsuccessful attempts, I managed to activate Redbox Instant and select a streaming plan by using a computer.

Redbox Instant on iPad

I think it’s fair to include a few specs about my Internet connection and device. The iPad used is the third generation with Retina Display; it’s the Wi-Fi only model. According to a, my download speeds are tracked at 24.54 MBps. I use Comcast as my ISP.

I found that as I browsed the featured movies section within the app, nothing caught my eye. Although I’m a huge movie buff, I recognized only a handful of titles.

You can search for specific movie titles or search through filters. However, I was bummed that recently added and new releases are missing from the search filters.

Clicking on My Redbox presents you with a few useful features such as watch history, purchases and bookmarks. Each movie title within the Redbox Instant universe has a small red bookmark icon on the upper right side; when pressed, the movie is saved for future reference.

Once you select a movie, it begins streaming fairly quickly. The movies look crisp on the iPad screen and include the standard navigating controls you have come to expect in most modern video players. I did notice that closed captioning is not supported.

streaming with redbox instant

However, the movie selection on Redbox Instant does not compare to what’s available on Netflix, Amazon Instant and maybe even HBO Go. Although there are a handful of titles I will probably watch, I’m hoping their selection improves in the coming months and especially once they upgrade from the beta stage.

Redbox Instant Plans

Redbox Instant has three plans available:

  • Basic Subscription: $6 This monthly package will allow you to stream Redbox Instant movies at any time with any supported device.
  • Unlimited Streaming + DVDs: $8 Same as above, but will come with 4 movie credits redeemable for DVD rentals at Redbox kiosks.
  • Unlimited Streaming + Blu-rays: $9 Same as above, but will come with 4 movie credits redeemable for either DVD or Blu-ray rentals at Redbox kiosks.

New customers will automatically be given a free month under the $8 plan. Although you can upgrade or downgrade this plan, doing so will cancel your trial and start a new subscription, charging your credit card the day you do so.

How Redbox Instant Compares to Netflix

The current Redbox Instant homepage, with the Subscription filter, features about 161 films you can start streaming with a click or two. I searched the first 11 rows (77 films) with the Netflix streaming database and found that 28 of these films were not found.

This means you’ll find about 36% movie titles available for streaming on Redbox Instant that you would not find on Netflix. Of course, this is an unfair comparison. But let’s ignore that for now.

Unfortunately, most of these titles are either cheap knock-offs of popular movies or obscure films no one has heard about. Here’s a few examples: Soccer Nanny, Biebermania, Demonic Toys 2. Here’s the other 28 titles.

Using Redbox Instant Credits at the Kiosk

With your Redbox Instant subscription, you’ll receive 4 credits you can redeem at any Redbox kiosk.

Movie credits function as you would expect. One credit equals one rental day. So you could rent four movies and return them a day later, or rent one movie and keep it for four days.

redeeming credits at redbox kiosk

The easiest way to redeem your credit is to reserve your movie from your favorite Redbox kiosk before you get there. Once you select a movie from, select “Use Credits or Promo Code” from the checkout screen. You’ll need to bring the credit card used for your Redbox Instant subscription to the kiosk.


If you’re considering replacing any of your existing streaming services, with Redbox Instant, don’t. The movie/TV series selection with Netflix and Amazon Instant is far superior —at least right now.

If you’re looking for an additional option to your current monthly packages, then by all means, give it a shot. Since there are no contract requirements with Redbox Instant, you can cancel at any time. As an added plus, your first month is free anyway. You’ll also save a few bucks by using the 4 free rental credits you can redeem at Redbox kiosks.

  • Daniel A. Corral

    The only legit services are HBO and Cinemax. To even wish that any of the streaming services will carry top recent movies is ridic. I have found myself giving in to iTunes rentals with the justification that it is only $2.50 for each my wife and I to watch a good movie.