Netflix has long been the frontrunner for subscription-based streaming movies. Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video are hot on its heels, and now kiosk-based Redbox is entering the fray with the public launch of its own instant streaming service, aptly named Redbox Instant. The service has existed in beta for quite a while now, and it's finally available to the public in the United States.
Interested subscribers receive a one-month trial of the service, and are automatically charged US$8 per month thereafter. A credit card is required to sign up, so users will need to remember to cancel at the end of the month if the service doesn't work out for them.
With Redbox Instant, users get access to a wide range of streaming video and four credits to use per month for a free disc-based rental at any Redbox kiosk. These credits cannot be used to rent games, but Blu-Ray discs are available. Each night with the movie counts as a credit, so a user who keeps a single movie for four days would use up all their credits in one go. After four nights, the nightly charge is added automatically.
One problem with the service is that not all available movies are included in the subscription. Instead, many newer releases feature an individual charge to stream them.
Redbox Instant is available in a browser, on Samsung smart TVs, Samsung Blu-Ray players, iOS and Android devices, and the Xbox 360. With the 360, you can't download the app directly from the Xbox App Store. Instead, Redbox is sending download codes to users gradually, so people who sign up will have to wait to receive the code before they can take advantage of the service on the console.