Redbox Instant First Impressions

1/22/2013 Unknown 0 Comments

So I've had Redbox Instant Beta for a few weeks now.  I'll do a more complete review after launch, because I'm sure anything I have to say about interface or content will be irrelevant by then.

I mostly just have a basic feature review in light of the fact that it's still beta.


Content is similar, but different than Netflix and Amazon Prime.  More differentiation would be nice, but I imagine it will improve drastically out of beta. 

I don't use any DVD service.  If I pay a subscription, I want to stream.  I'm also one of those people that doesn't return DVDs, so I tend to stay away from that.  They do have an upside in kiosk rentals, which are included with a subscription. For those of us not to lazy to leave the house this is a nice upgrade from mailing DVDs around.

An added bonus here is digital rentals.  Although I want my content to be available all via my subscription, I understand there are licencing agreements and all that.  Redbox Instant has many available movies that can be rented for a couple bucks similar to the Google Play Store or Apple iTunes Store.  So long as the available streaming content stays diversified from the existing streaming services, then content is a plus in my review. 


Nothing special here.  I don't want anything huge.  At brief glance it is virtually indistinguishable from Netflix, red scheme and all.  The App is even more so.

My big issue so far is it doesn't seem easy to be able to sort out what is available streaming, vs digital rental, vs kiosk.  They need to be in distinct sections so I can browse streaming only if I don't want to pay extra or drive to a kiosk. 

Search filters would be another good feature here.  All these movies have distinct tags.  Rating, duration, language, director, cast, producers, studio, genre, streaming, kiosk, etc.  Netflix is even missing a good search feature, so this would really be a huge plus for me if I could select various tags such as "Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan," or "Chris Nolan and Michael Caine" or "Peter Jackson movies less than 5 hours long."


My big requirements here are the ability to create multiple profiles if you have several people in a single household using the service.  Partly to prevent everyone's preferences from bleeding together, but also for the purpose of parental controls.  I'm not a parent yet, but I know a lot of parents that would love the ability to set up some restrictions on a young kids account and just let them have the reigns without worrying of what will show up in their queue.

Also, the ability to request a title be available through the streaming service.  Almost like a walk button at an intersection.  Even as a placebo, this would be a nice feature.  I'm sure this would give them some extra leverage for licensing purposes as well, so that probably works in everyone's favor.

The last is a feature I know is lacking everywhere for legal privacy reasons, but the ability to tie in to a social network.  I don't want to spam or be spammed with "Look what I'm watching!" posts, but the ability to post a brief review or suggest to a friend.  Due to an old law that prevented brick and mortar video stores from sharing rental records for their customers is what is keeping this from moving forward, so hopefully we can adjust to the digital age and get a revision to that.

What I've seen so far is shaping up to be something I will likely use as a second streaming service to supplement Netflix.  There's already some nice upsides, so hopefully they keep it up and we'll have another legitimate competitor in the market!

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