Q. I love the way Blu-ray movies look. The picture is so much better than streaming or even my DIRECTV. But it’s expensive to buy movies. I’m thinking of Redbox for rentals, but I’m not sure how it works and where I can find one of those kiosks in my area. Can you help? — Roger, Boston, Massachusetts.
The Redbox kiosk looks basically like a soda vending machine and can be found in more than 40,000 locations across the country. The machine is quite easy to find once you go to one of the locations because of its bright red color.
The machine carries from one to a couple dozen copies of each movie advertised in the box. But not every box has every movie available from Redbox; for example, you might find the Blu-ray edition of Lady Bird (pictured above) in one Redbox kiosk but not in the one a mile up the street.
To find out which movies each kiosk currently has, you can download an app on your smart phone or iPad that gives you an up-to-date inventory. I’ve used it and it’s very helpful.
You can also check your local kiosk’s inventory by using Redbox’s web site and clicking on a movie that you want to rent. The site will tell you which kiosks have it in stock.
And to find out where the closest Redbox kiosk is to you, click here.
Now, what’s the price, you ask? To rent a DVD overnight, the cost is $1.50, which includes tax. To rent a Blu-ray movie, the cost is $2, which includes tax. (The tax might vary slightly based on where you live.)
You have until 9 p.m. the day after you rent the movie to return it. If you don’t return it by then, you will be charged for another day’s rental for each day the movie is out. If you don’t return it for 17 days, you will be charged the maximum price for a purchase ($34 for a Blu-ray and $25 for a DVD) and the disc is yours to keep.
(Note: You can return it to any Redbox kiosk in the United States, not just the one where you rented it.)
You are eligible to rent three different movies the first time you use a Redbox kiosk; after you’ve used it once, you can rent five different movies at a time.
You pay for the movie by using a credit card. But you can also go online at Redbox.com, set up an account and reserve your movie online. Then, when you go to the kiosk, you will touch the button that says, ‘Reservation Pickup.’ After that, you swipe the card you used to make the reservation and pick up your disc. (You can also make reservations using the Redbox app on your smart phone or tablet.)
Final note: Redbox now also permits you to rent movies at Redbox.com, but prices are higher. For example, to stream the high-def version of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri will set you back $5.99, compared to $2 for the high-def Blu-ray rental via the kiosk.
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— Phillip Swann