Redbox vs Netflix: The Battle for Streaming Superiority


Redbox vs Netflix, when is comes to the streaming battlefield, which one is truly superior?

The newest kid on the block in streaming services is Redbox. They came into the fight a little late, but they already have one thing going for them that some of the other services had to fight for — a reputation. Redbox is well known for providing cheap rental movies from almost anywhere. Their kiosks are plentiful and easy to find, they offer a decent selection of movies and best of all they are relatively inexpensive.

Netflix is one of the original movie streaming services. They originated as a mail order movie rental service that established a reputation of having almost any movie available. The best part of their movie rental service was that there were no return dates, you simply returned the movies when you were done with them.

Both Redbox and Netflix still offer the physical movies. Redbox offers you convenience, while Netflix offers you variety. Neither is really better than the other, just different. The true competition for these two comes down to their streaming services.

What You Get With a Subscription

For a monthly fee, Redbox will give you access to their streaming library, a selection of online rentals and four free kiosk rentals a month. For a similar monthly fee, Netflix will give you access to their entire streaming library, if you want access to their disc rental service you need to upgrade your subscription.

Winner: On the surface, Redbox looks like the winner.

Streaming Library

Netflix currently has the largest streaming library out there with a wide selection of movies and TV shows, including some of their own original hits, like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.”

The Redbox streaming library has less than a third of the offerings and no TV shows.

Winner: Netflix clearly has a wider selection of viewing options.

New Releases

Neither service offers current new releases available for streaming. To get new releases, you are going to have to go with their disc rental services. With your Redbox streaming subscription you get four free rentals, which means you reserve it online and then pop down to your local kiosk. In order to get the newest releases with Netflix you need to upgrade your subscription and then you still need to wait for it to come in the mail.

Winner: Redbox comes out ahead simply for the convenience factor. If I want to watch a new movie, I want to watch it now, while it is new and I have time. Not in a week, when I may not have time.


Netflix offers a clean, streamlined browser with an easy search feature. You can sort and search by movie genre, actor, or title. They also offer you a customized viewing selection based off of your prior viewing habits.

Redbox presents you with a selection that is based off of popularity, not genre. Unless you specify your preference each time you are in the system, they mix paid rentals with streaming rentals into your streaming selection. This means that you may be disappointed when you find out that the movie you wanted to watch is only available at the kiosk, or that you have to pay more for it.

The Redbox browser is slower to load than Netflix on both my PC and Blu-ray player and more difficult to navigate. I also find that the Redbox browser takes more resources on my PC and will frequently freeze up my Blu-ray player while I am still browsing.

Winner: Netflix is obviously easier to navigate and easier on your system’s memory.

Multiple Streams

Redbox has recently limited accounts to two screens at a time, or you can upgrade it and stream to four devices simultaneously. I can’t find a limit on the Redbox website, and I have managed to stream it on three screens at the same time without upgrading my account.

Winner: Redbox


Redbox seems to have no customization features and Netflix is clearly the winner here. Netflix has an algorithm that can provide you with suggested movies based off of your likes and dislikes.

A great feature of Netflix allows you to create several profiles, each customized to individual viewing tastes with likes and dislikes. Each profile can also be set up with separate viewing queues. Netflix profiles allows you to set parental controls, so that your child can have a separate profile and view nothing with a rating higher than PG-12. Unfortunately, you can not restrict viewing beyond that.

Winner: Netflix wins hands down, with no competition.

And the Winner is…

When it comes to Redbox vs Netflix, Netflix is the clear winner when it comes to streaming. With a huge selection of movies and TV shows, and multiple profiles, plus their easy navigation is way ahead of Redbox. Redbox needs some heavy refining before it can even approach what Netflix offers.

At this point, I see no reason to have both services. Everything offered on Redbox streaming can be found on Netflix streaming. I looked at the first 20 programs offered to me on Redbox, and all 20 were available on Netflix.

The only slight advantage Redbox has over Netflix is the ability to rent new movies at the kiosks. If you are an avid renter of new movies and can guarantee that you will get at least four a month, then the streaming subscription works to your advantage, as the free movie rentals on the subscription work out slightly less than if you were to get them directly. If you aren’t going to get four movies a month, then you are better off just renting them directly.