By the end of the month, Vudu will have 70 HD movies available to rent and watch instantly, provided the Internet connection to the home is consistently 4 Mbps or more. More movies will be added in the coming months when the studios make their films available.
Vudu customers can rent HD new releases for $5.99 and classics for $3.99 and, presumably, must be watched in a 24-hour period. HD movies include “A Mighty Heart”, “Blades of Glory”, and “Hostel: Part II (unrated version”, as well as classics such as the “Star Trek” franchise.
“With today’s announcement, VUDU is continuing to deliver on its promise to make HD content as simple and convenient for customers to enjoy as traditional formats,” said Tony Miranz, VUDU’s co-founder and EVP of Sales and Business Development. “As more movie fans invest in large-screen HD televisions, VUDU is pleased to provide an ever-expanding range of top-quality films formatted specifically for high quality HD viewing.”
The arrival of HD movies to Vudu is welcomed and expected, as many customers were clamoring for high-definition content (last100 on Vudu HD).
A bit of a surprise is the arrival of VUDU XL, one big, bad set-top box. The XL sports 1 terabyte of hard drive space, enough to hold 500 standard definition movies. The sticker-shock price tag? $999.99.
To be fair, the XL is targeted at home theater owners and will be sold through high-end audio/video retailers, custom installers, and resellers.
As far as we can tell, the only difference between the XL and its little brother — besides the price tag — is a new silver logo, the loss of an RF antenna, the addition of an IR receiver, and the hard drive space. No word if little brother gets an update (last100 review).
For that kind of coin, I’d like the VUDU XL to be a more well-rounded set-top box: perhaps it could include a full-fledged media player for music and DIVX playback and/or include a digital video recorder.