I’d noticed a shiny new red vending machine in [Stop and Shop](http://www.stopandshop.com/) a few months ago, and I finally stopped to check it out. The machine is managed by a company called [redbox](http://www.redbox.com/), and it is essentially a DVD rental vending machine. For $1 per night, plus tax, you can rent a DVD from their selection. Get it back before 7 p.m. the next day and that’s all you pay. After that, it’s another $1 for each additional day, and after 25 days without returning it, the DVD is yours to keep (and you just paid an outrageous amount to buy a movie).
The selection is understandably limited by the physical size of the machine. They do have some of the day’s more popular titles, and it is stocked with new releases on a weekly basis. There is no membership to sign up for – you just provide a credit card at the time of rental. The touch-screen on the machine allows you to browse the inventory of DVDs, make your selection, and pay. The DVDs themselves are vended mechanically from a slot on the side of the machine. They come encased in hard plastic. To return the DVD, simply go to any redbox kiosk and put the DVD back in the slot. Presto! You can also browse the selection of your local redbox kiosk from the website, and place your order there. Then, just go to the kiosk to pick it up.
You can get a free one-night rental if you visit the [website](http://www.redbox.com/) and provide your email address. We did so a few weeks ago, and last night I stopped by to pick up a DVD. The whole process was as simple as could be, we enjoyed our movie, and I returned it today with no hassle.
It certainly won’t replace [Netflix](http://www.netflix.com/)’s breadth of selection or nifty feature set, but it can’t be beat for simplicity and price. At some point, they’ll probably enable the kiosks to download any movie you want, and then burn it instantly to DVD… *then* Netflix will have something to worry about!
If you’re interested, find the [nearest redbox](http://www.redbox.com/Locations/KioskSearch.aspx) location and check it out!
Nope, I’m not getting paid anything for this post, I just think it’s really cool.