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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Basic Biittner: The Redbox is Coming! The Redbox is Coming!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cherokee's Redbox DVD Rental kiosk is located outside the Hy Vee Food Store. Photo by Dan Whitney.
Last Sunday, April 19, was Patriot's Day, which is celebrated in Boston, if nowhere else. The holiday commemorates the famous ride of Paul Revere - a ride he made (on horseback, for you kids out there) 234 years ago, on April 19, 1775. During "Paul Revere's Ride," the silversmith rode through the town, warning residents "The British are coming! The British are coming!" The British, of course, were our country's enemy in those days, and in the years to come after Revere's ride, the rag-tag young Americans would fight and defeat the properly - attired British "Redcoats," and win our independence from the "Mother Country."

There is a remote chance that Revere was misquoted, or that poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow took some literary license when he composed "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere," and that Revere might have been yelling, "The Redcoats are coming! The Redcoats are coming!" on April 19, 1775. I mean, 'British' sounds better, flows smoother, is more poetic ...

So, jumping to that admittedly far-fetched conclusion, this week, on the anniversary of that revolutionary event, it is my honor to ride through the streets of Cherokee (figuratively, of course) and declare to one and all (or at least to all who are reading this), "The redbox is coming! The redbox is coming!"

Redbox refers to a series of interactive DVD Rental kiosks, located across the United States in locations such as McDonald's, where it began, as well as other retail, pharmacy and grocery store locations. Redbox began in 2003, using re-branded kiosks manufactured and operated by Silicon Valley-based DVDPlay at 140 McDonald's restaurants in their Denver test market. In May 2005, Redbox phased out the DVDPlay-manufactured machines and contracted Solectron - a subsidiary of Flextronics, which also manufactures the Zune, Xbox and Xbox 360 - to create and manufacture a custom kiosk design. The company passed Blockbuster Inc. in 2007 in number of U.S. locations, and passed 100 million rentals in February 2008. As of April 2007, each kiosk averaged 49.1 rentals per day and $37,457 a year in revenue. Redbox Automated Retail operates independently from its headquarters in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. In February 2009, Coinstar purchased all remaining shares of Redbox from McDonald's Corporation for $175 million, and is now the sole owner of the fifth largest DVD rental company in the United States

The company's typical self-service vending kiosk combines an interactive touch screen and sign, a robotic disk array system[ and web-linked electronic communications. Kiosks hold more than 600 DVDs with 70-200 titles, updated weekly. DVDs can be returned the next day to any of the company's kiosks; charges accrue up to 25 days, after which the customer then owns the DVD (without the original case) and pays $25.00 plus tax. Customers can also reserve DVDs online, made possible by real-time inventory updates on the company's website. You can also buy used dvds there for $7 each. The used dvds that they don't sell by the end of the week go back to their suppliers.

Redbox is ideal for travelers, especially those who have DVD players in their vehicle. One can rent a DVD at the local redbox, watch it on the road (passengers, that is, not the driver), and drop it off at a redbox in the town to which you're traveling. Or, if you're flying, pick out a movie of your choice and watch it on the plane. Many airports have redbox kiosks for rental or return.

Of course, you don't have to be going somewhere to use Redbox services. You can also rent and return it right at your local redbox.

Please note that Redbox machines operate with credit and/or debit cards only.

The Redbox is coming? Nope, it's here now.

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner