Redbox Instant shutting down tomorrow, refunds being issued to beleaguered customers



Can’t say we didn’t see this coming. Redbox has announced that their instant streaming service, one they made in conjunction with Verizon, will be shutting down beginning tomorrow, October 7th, at 11:59pm Pacific. The reason? They have no problem telling you that it just hasn’t worked out:

The service is shutting down because it was not as successful as we hoped it would be. We apologize for any inconvenience and we thank you for giving us the opportunity to entertain you.

The service is one of many that have attempted to step up and challenge Netflix to a game that they have mastered at this point. Redbox’s issue was like many others’ — there simply wasn’t enough content. Asking folks to pay $9.99 per month for a significantly smaller library of movies with minimal additions each month simply doesn’t appeal.

redbox instant

Yours truly gave the service a pretty good spin for its first few months of existence, but Netflix’s vast array of content — bolstered mostly by the company’s critically acclaimed original series — ultimately won out.

Netflix had some growing pains of their own when they first launched too, but they had the distinct advantage of offering you unlimited DVD and Blu-Ray rentals (well, as many as you could get shipped to you and get shipped back within a month’s time, anyway) to go along with the streaming video side for one low monthly price.

redbox logo

Redbox attempted to offer similar value by giving you rental credits for movies at physical kiosks, but the credits were only good for about 2 to 3 movies at most. They also offered something Netflix still hasn’t — streaming rentals and digital movie purchases “But why rent or buy a streaming movie if you have the monthly service,” you ask?

Well, a pay-per-rental or pay-to-own streaming model still holds value considering you tend to get more recent movies faster. The all-you-can-eat stuff is subject to strict licensing deals that take a great deal of work to establish and maintain. Even with that, Redbox wasn’t able to put together a streaming rental and purchasing library as compelling as the likes of Amazon and VUDU.

So what happens for folks still hanging in there? For those on monthly subscriptions, Redbox says you’ll receive a refund for one month of service if you haven’t received a full month of service since September 8th. The refund is automatic and should be appearing on your bank or credit card statements as early as this Thursday and no later than October 24th.

Additionally, any Redbox Kiosk credits that have gone unused must be used by the aforementioned October 7th at 11:59pm cut-off date, so be sure to zoom over to your local Redbox to rent a couple movies if you have any left. Finally, folks who purchased a streaming rental and weren’t able to watch that rental before tomorrow’s cut-off will be fully refunded for it.

For those who’ve purchased digital movies, Redbox says they’re still exploring options for you to maintain access to the content you’ve purchased after the service has shut down. Redbox says to expect an email with more details in about two weeks’ time so sit tight and wait for them to deliver the goods.

It’s been a decent ride, but ultimately they just couldn’t keep up. Good on them to continue to focus on what they know how to do best. Be sure to check out the full FAQ at the company’s website regarding the shutdown using the source link straight ahead.

[via Redbox]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. I loved redbox instant when it first came out. Being able to stream and getting 4 movie rentals a month was great for me. Then after 3 months i had cleared most everything I wanted to watch and no new movies had been added. I finally quit my subscription

  2. No surprise whatsoever. Was super excited when I first heard about this service. First mistake, partnering with Verizon. Might as well have just partnered up with friggin Comcast. I used the beta when the service was first released. It was dreadful to say the least. Hard to navigate and find movies that were free to watch. They had alot of trouble separating free movies from pay and kiosk rentals. Not to mention a poor content library. They may have improved this in the past year, but I used my free month trial for maybe a week before I gave up. Good riddance.

  3. I tried it when it first came out, and the streaming quality was beyond terrible. There was very little content that I couldn’t already get from Amazon Prime or Netflix, so there was no reason to suffer through choppy, blocky streaming.

  4. I was in the beta test and had me sign up with a cc. When the service went live they took it upon them selves to start charging my cc for service with out warning. It took me a few months to notice and never even used the service out side of the beta but they still wouldn’t give me a full refund so yeah, good riddance.

    1. I signed up during the beta myself, and it was clearly stated that you would be automatically charged for a monthly renewal thirty days after the initial launch unless you cancel before then. I’m sorry to say that you’re at fault.

      1. Its actually not. Reread what I wrote I see I left out the part where I canceled the service during beta after a week because all the programming was not interesting to me aside from the fact that, at the time, they only offered the app on one of the devices I own so cancelled. I very vividly recall canceling for these reasons but my account went on as if it was never canceled and they charged me anyway. I was on the phone with them for over an hour and they were trying to tell me the account was never canceled and got transferred around put on hold a few times until i got a hold of a manager and the best refund i got from him was 3 months refund out of the 8 months they charged me for service.

  5. These steaming services would do much better if they didn’t charge so much to rent. It’s something like 5 bucks for a new release. Dumb when the physical redox is just above a dollar.

    1. Not to mention they sucker you into “buying” a TV series for about 3 times the price it should be just to rent. Plus they charge you the same price for a 22 minute show as a 44 minute one. Info that came out with the recent FCC lifting the Blackout rule showed that many top shows pay for an episode with just one 30 second ad spot. I guess some folks like to watch TV episodes over and over again and the “buy” option could be for them but I probably won’t do that and it would far cheaper if I wanted to watch an episode again just to rent it again.

    2. To be fair, alot of people don’t know this, but most redbox blu ray rentals are 1.50, however they also do do not allow you to fast forward through the previews as you could if you bought the disc from a store, also another thing that’s missing on alot of the redbox rental blu rays is full uncompressed audio, which is something else considering thats one of the benefits of blu ray over dvd. No streaming service has uncompressed audio either, but that’s only because they don’t have the bandwidth for it, the movie industry takes it off of rentals to devalue the product.

  6. Will the bloatware app finally remove itself from my PS3?

  7. Amazing how Verizon throttled netflix for over a year and then Redbox streaming is killed right at the same time Netflix quality improves! Anti trust? Anti competition? FTC where are you?

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