You got to give Vudu credit. These guys are trying hard to win us over.
The latest promotional move involves Vudu and Universal Studios Home Entertainment looking past the current HD-DVD/Blu-ray format wars in favor of what some industry observers say is inevitable — download-only distribution.
Beginning November 23, Vudu will give every new buyer copies of both “The Bourne Identity” and “The Bourne Supremacy” pre-loaded on their set-top boxes in HD. They also will have the opportunity to download the third movie in the trilogy, “The Bourne Ultimatum”, to own for $25 when it becomes available in mid December.
This promotion comes on the heels of Vudu slashing the price of the set-top box from $399 to $250 at the end of October. The box debuted in September, and while we liked its design and performance, we didn’t care much for its business model (review).
‘Digital delivery of HD movies through VUDU makes it easy for consumers to get the high quality content they most want to watch, when they want to watch it,” said Tony Miranz, VUDU’s Co-founder. “Our agreement with Universal gives lovers of the Bourne series instant gratification in glorious HD right from the comfort of their own home. We share Universal’s passion for providing viewers with the ultimate in video content, and look forward to collaborating on many more top-quality Universal releases.”
Gizmodo takes a closer look at how Vudu is positioning itself with HD-DVD and Blu-ray. The Universal announcement, while significant for download-only distribution, “doesn’t yet signal the death knell of digital formats.”
I’ve had the pleasure of testing Vudu for a while now, and I can tell you the download-only distribution model is powerful but only if the movies you want to watch are available and at a competitive price. It’s immensely frustrating to want to watch a new or recent release — as Vudu says, “the right movie, right now” — only to find it’s not yet available.