Redbox Instant, The Netflix Competitor Launched This Week, Won’t Run On Jailbroken iOS Devices

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Redbox Instant, the video-streaming service that arrived to the public this week, won’t work on your jailbroken iOS device. Instead, upon launching the mobile app, users with jailbroken devices are presented with an error message informing them that their “device is compromised.” The app then fails to load.

There doesn’t yet appear to be any workaround to this situation, so if you’re one of the millions who just jailbroke your iPhone or iPad, then Redbox’s streaming service will be off-limits to you.

redboxinstant-jailbroken iphoneFor background, Verizon and Redbox announced their plans for a Netflix competitor this July, which was launched into beta testing in December, with apps for both Android and iOS. As of this week’s public debut, the service offers subscribers access to around 4,600 streaming titles, as well as four DVD rentals from Redbox kiosk locations for $8 per month. For $6 per month, customers can pay for streaming only, without the option to rent disks at kiosks. And for $9 per month, customers can opt for Blu-Ray discs.

In addition, because of restrictions from studio partners, not all of Redbox Instant’s content is available for instant streaming. For these (largely newly released) titles, customers can opt to either rent or buy the movie for a fee, starting at 99 cents and going up from there.

The service’s most basic plan undercuts rival Netflix by $2 per month, but the content selection is not comparable at this time. It has movies from Epix (Viacom and Lionsgate), MGM and others currently. Still, 4,600 titles is far short of Netflix’s reported 60,000. Though to be fair, because Netflix counts each individual episode of a TV show as one title, that number is a bit inflated. Netflix (U.S.) actually has around 14,000 streamable titles as of this January, 9,000+ of which are movies.

At the time of the original beta launch, and TechCrunch’s hands-on review of Redbox Instant at the beginning of the year, newer iOS devices had not yet been jailbroken. But in February, a group of iOS hackers styling themselves as the Evad3rs team put out the “Evasi0n” jailbreak, which works on the majority of iOS 6.0+ devices, including, most importantly, the iPhone 5, which had never had a usable jailbreak.

That jailbreak has now turned out to be the most popular one ever, with nearly 7 million devices hacked as of February. Those users will not be able to run Redbox Instant, unfortunately. Though we should note that Netflix’s streaming app does work on jailbroken devices.

This would not be the first time that a company has restricted an app offering protected content from running mobile devices due to issues with DRM. When Netflix first brought its service to Android, in fact, it only supported select Android models. The company needed to carefully test and secure each device before officially supporting new ones, not only because of general bug-testing, but also because it had to be careful in regards to DRM. Of course on Android, users soon found workarounds for the problem. On iOS, however, it would be up to members of the jailbreak developer community to get Redbox Instant working.

And frankly, unlike with Netflix, the demand for the service might not be there to make such endeavors worth their while.