Verizon and Redbox have teamed up to bring a new video streaming service called Redbox Instant. Redbox Instant started rolling out access codes back in December. I’m normally on #teamNetflix, but for this one time, I wanted to try out the Redbox Instant beta since they’re offering beta users a free trial.
The Redbox Instant Terms of Service Agreement states that they may change their price or other terms of services at any given time. Redbox Instant is currently $8.00 a month while Netflix is $7.99. Although there is only a penny difference between Redbox Instant and Netflix, that one penny you save with Netflix may give you a better user experience.
When I signed up for my account, the site asked me to put a credit card on file. After entering all of my information correctly, I kept getting hit with errors upon errors. One error included “We cannot save or change your billing information at this time. If you continue to have this problem, please visit our Help Center and select Contact Us.”
After not having any luck with creating an account, I called the 1-866-Redbox number on the company’s website. According to the young man I spoke to, Redbox Instant doesn’t even have a customer service department yet. Apparently he wasn’t in the mood to be helpful. I asked him why Redbox Instant doesn’t have a customer service department yet, and his response was because Redbox Instant is only three weeks old. He seemed to get easily frustrated with me as if that was the millionth time he had heard that question this afternoon.
Redbox Instant also offers live-chat, so I went ahead and talked to another customer service representative named Kayla, if that’s even her real name. After wasting about 15 minutes of my time, Kayla then told me that Redbox Instant is having issues with signups and not with my credit card. She also said, “our top tech team” should be in touch with me within 72 hours.
Before completely giving up on Redbox Instant, I tried to add the credit card again on another laptop, just to make sure it wasn’t my computer. It seemed to work the second time around, or so I thought.
One glaring issue I observed was that Redbox Instant promotes “streaming” all over their website. Knowing that this is the beta version, I was willing to forgive them for having a very limited selection of instant streaming videos. The problem was, I couldn’t find any options for streaming at all. There were only options for "Subscription," and to rent DVDs or Blu-Ray discs. There really was no easy way to differentiate which movies I can watch instantly and which movies were only available on disc. I finally realized that by clicking the "Subscription" button, I could start watching their extremely limited selection of streaming video.
The first movie I decided to watch was The Adventures Of Tin Tin. It took over 5 minutes for the movie to begin to stream. When it did stream, it buffered. A lot. By the time I reached the opening credits, ten minutes had already passed. My attempt of watching this movie on Redbox Instant definitely wasn’t instant.
Overall, I understand that it’s a beta version, and the company is still trying iron out the kinks. Redbox Instant may want to iron out these kinks instantly. Hopefully when the service officially launches, we can expect a more fluid streaming experience and a better selection. For now, I think i’ll stick with #teamNetflix and finish House of Cards.