I’ve been seeing the Redbox DVD kiosks popping up all over town, mainly outside McDonald’s locations. I was always a little curious about the service, but never stopped to check it out.

Then, last week, I read an article about Redbox and discovered that you can browse, reserve and pay for your kiosk rentals online at Redbox.com. For those unfamiliar with Redbox, you can rent new release DVDs for $1 per night. You can rent from any Redbox location and you can return DVDs to any Redbox you choose.

I rented my first movie with Redbox last night. It was fast, easy and really inexpensive.

The rental process works like this (you can go directly to a Redbox kiosk to browse and pay for a DVD; however, I did it all online):

1. Go to Redbox.com and sign up for a free account
2. Select a Redbox location

Enter your zip code and you’re presented with a list of Redbox kiosks available in your area.

You can then click the “View titles here” button to see the available inventory for that particular Redbox kiosk.

3. Browse available DVDs from that kiosk

You can sort by release date, title and availability.

4. Click the “Rent now” button for the DVD you’d like to rent
I picked “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” which was released that morning.
5. Enter your credit card info
Returning customers only have to enter the CVV # from their credit card.

6. Drive to the Redbox kiosk

This is the biggest potential weakness of the service. If you don’t have a McDonald’s or other Redbox kiosk near your home of office, it might be more convenient to get your DVDs from Netflix or Blockbuster Total Access. I have a Redbox kiosk 1/4 mile from my office, so it is very easy for me to rent movies after work and return them the next morning.

7. Touch the “Online Rental Pickup” button on the Redbox touchscreen
8. Swipe the credit card you used to pay for the DVD rental online

Make sure you take the same card you used to pay. Otherwise, you can’t pick up your rental.

9. Take your DVD from the kiosk

Your rental is dispensed via a small slot on the side of the Redbox kiosk. The DVD is protected by a hard plastic case about the size of a CD case.

Returning DVDs to Redbox is simple as well.

1. Head to your nearest Redbox kiosk
2. Press “Return a DVD” button on the kiosk touchscreen
3. Slide the plastic DVD case into the return slot

That’s it. Overall, I was very pleased with the usability of the kiosk and the speed with which I received my DVD. The entire transaction took roughly 90 seconds. That sure beats browsing the shelves of your local store and waiting in line to check out. I also prefer it to online DVD rentals from Netflix or Blockbuster because I can get the movie right away.

Redbox rentals are due the next night by 9PM and can be returned to any Redbox kiosk.

I’m going to give Redbox a couple more tries. If all of my experiences are as smooth as this one, my online movie rental subscription is history.

What’s your favorite way to rent DVDs? Have you used Redbox? If so, let us know what you think of the service.