Redbox vs Netflix: Let’s Compare!

Redbox vs Netflix

This Redbox vs Netflix comparison provides some pros and cons of each service, as both Redbox and Netflix offer users a convenient, low cost way to rent DVDs and instantly stream movies and other programs online. While there are similarities between the two, there are also significant differences.

Subscription-Free RedBox Kiosk Rentals

Redbox offers a variety of ways to obtain DVDs, Blu-rays, video games and stream movies through its services.

With over 36,000 physical locations in the United States, most users have seen a Redbox kiosk located near a shopping center or store in their area. Each kiosk contains hundreds of DVDs, Blu-rays and video game discs. Users browse the available selection on the kiosk touchscreen, select a title, and pay with a debit or credit card. Users enter an email address at the time of their purchase so that they are emailed a receipt.

Redbox vs Netflix - Redbox kiosk
Redbox kiosks can be found all over the country, usually in front of grocery stores or mini-marts. Photo Credit: Kiosk Nation

Rental prices vary, depending on whether the user selects a DVD, Blu-ray or video game disc,  and their state and local taxes. DVD rentals begin at $1.20 plus tax for each night, Blu-ray rentals start at $1.50 a night plus tax, and video games start at $2.00 each night, plus tax. Regardless of the type of disc that is rented, they can be returned at any Redbox kiosk location nationwide, and must be returned by 9 pm the following day to prevent a charge for an additional night.

Pros: One of the biggest bonuses to using a Redbox kiosk to choose a movie for a night is it’s convenience and speed. It’s easy to select a movie, and users don’t have to wait for the DVD or other type of disc to arrive in the mail to watch it, as they would with a Netflix DVD rental.

Cons: The main drawback to using the Redbox kiosk to pick a movie is that users are charged for each night that they keep a DVD, Blu-ray or video game disc out. If the disc isn’t returned by 9 pm the next night, users are charged again.

There is also a maximum Redbox rental period. That period is 21 days for a DVD, 23 days for Blu-ray and 30 days for a Video Game. If a user keeps the disc past the maximum rental period, they will be charged the full cost of the disc, minus any payments they have already made.  So, the total maximum charge for a DVD kept past the maximum period is $24.00 plus taxes, a Blu-ray is $34.50 plus taxes, and a Video Game is $60.00 plus taxes.

With Netflix it doesn’t matter how long users keep the discs, the fee is included in the monthly subscription rate, and users aren’t charged for additional days. There is not a “maximum charge” for keeping it past a certain time since there is not a set time to return a disc, unless the user terminates their subscription.

An additional consideration is that because the discs are stored in a limited physical location, some titles are not available at every location. This is especially true for older, harder to find titles. To  make certain that your local Redbox kiosk location will have the disc that you want, users can go online at Redbox’s website or on their mobile app to reserve titles for pickup at a local kiosk.

Redbox Subscription Service

For users that have Verizon, or another compatible service, users can subscribe to Redbox and instantly stream movies online, as well as redeem up to four, single night disc rentals from Redbox kiosks for just $8 a month, plus state and local taxes.

Pros: By adding the ability to instantly stream online movies, Redbox is offering a service similar to Netflix’s online streaming plan. Titles can be easily searched on the company’s website, and give the users the ability to rate movies, similar to features with Netflix.

Cons: At this time, Redbox’s selection for online streaming is significantly smaller than Netflix, as are the number of older titles that are physically available at kiosk locations in comparison to the DVD and Blu-ray selections of older or original titles that are available at Netflix.

The number of discs that a customer may have out at one time with Redbox is not clearly stated. Redbox’s terms of use do not state a maximum number of discs one may have at a time, instead stating that this number is “up to Redbox’s discretion,” but may be significantly smaller for first time users of the service.

While Redbox’s subscription service does include four single night rentals, additional nights or additional disc rentals will mean additional charges.

What is Netflix?

Netflix has plans where users can stream movies online, receive DVDs, or Blu-rays in the mail, or plans that allow them to do both, for a flat monthly fee. Plans that include discs range from 1 to 8 discs out at a time. Users add the movies they wish to watch to their online queue, and they are mailed to the customer. There is no limit to how many discs a user can watch each month, and most discs arrive in 1 to 2 business days.To find out more about the various plans offered by Netflix and their cost, you may wish to read the article The Best Netflix Plans available at Digital Landing.

Pros: Its extensive library of newer hits, original programs and older titles provides a wide selection. This is great for those who watch a lot of movies in a month, or for users who may have issues promptly returning discs.

Cons: Users have to wait to receive discs in the mail.

Who wins in our Redbox vs Netflix comparison? If a user infrequently watches movies, wants the freedom to quickly pick up a new title without a subscription, and can return it quickly, then Redbox may be the best choice.

For those who watch a lot of movies each month, especially older titles, and have issues returning their movies quickly, then Netflix is probably the more economical choice.