While stand-alone DVD stores are having a difficult time in this economy (Videots on College just closed, and rumors are that Blockbuster is struggling), there is a new contender in town: RedBox DVD kiosks.

The 7-Eleven corporation has installed these stand-alone kiosks in its stores on College and Russell, on Telegraph near Parker, on University Avenue, and in other stores in the East Bay. Patrons can rent a movie for just $1 a night.

There are 20,000 Redbox kiosks around the country and they focus on popular new releases. You can rent a movie in one location and return it to another. You can also reserve a movie in advance. The most popular movies this week include Precious, The Time Traveler’s Wife, 2012, The Box, and Up in the Air.

Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman...