Although the original company was partly owned by McDonald’s, Coinstar bought them out and created redbox. It’s only very recently that they have put their new DVD rental machines (made by Flextronics – also manufactures Zune, Xbox 360) at Southern California area 7-11 stores.
As you can see below, the main part of the unit is about the size of an ATM machine but they display is much larger, to attract more attention from potential customers coming to 7-11. The machine is located on the outside of the 7-11 so I assume it’s water resistant.
There is a touch screen located on the front of the vending machine, much like the newer ATM machines. From there, you make your movie selection, and pick from the inventory inside the machine. Next, swipe your credit card, and out pops a DVD from the side. You can also reserve your DVD from their website (redbox.com) and go to the nearest vending machine that has your movie. The machines are connected to the Internet so it will not give out your movie to somebody else. I wish Blockbuster had that feature online.
The cool thing about the rental is that it’s only $1 per day (return by 9pm) and there are no late fees. They just keep charging you $1 per day until 25 days, then you own the DVD. Also, you can return your DVD to ANY redbox vending machine. So you could rent one near work, then return it near your home.
The only thing stopping me from using this service right now is they don’t have any Blu-ray movies yet. When they do, I’m going to be on it.
I worked on a project a couple of years ago for a company that made a similar machine. The cool thing was, when you ordered a movie, it actually burned the movie for you on the spot. That allowed them to have an "infinite" library, based on internal drive space and the ability to download movies as needed. I don't know if they ever deployed. They were having some cash flow problems by the time the project ended.
I like the basic idea but I'm now spoiled with Blu-ray quality.