Amid layoffs, Vudu concedes its future lies outside of its own set-top box

Despite making its own range of set-top boxes, including two high end devices aimed at home theatre enthusiasts, Vudu’s future ultimately lies outside of building its own hardware, says the company.

“We’re a software company first and foremost,” Vudu co-founder Tony Miranz tells The set-top movie box service had to design and manufacture its own hardware in order to sell the concept to third-party consumer electronics companies, says Miranz.  The plan now is to “try to piggyback on TVs, DVD players and other classes of devices.”

Furthermore, consumer electronics companies like what they see: “Right now, we’re getting bombarded with inquiries. … Our job right now really is to pick and choose partners that we want to work with.”

Of course, with or without hardware partners, Vudu exists in a nascent but increasingly crowded market that includes Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Blockbuster and others. On that note, the company has tried to position itself as a premium service, offering more High Definition content than its competitors and a superior user experience. A strategy that Miranz suggests is paying off. “We have the highest RPU [revenue per user] of any video-on-demand in the industry … by orders of magnitude. The better the user interface, the higher the revenue per box.”

Getting Vudu’s content and software onto a broader range of devices would also help to further address my accusation that the service is a bit of a one trick pony. Essentially charging an up front cost for the hardware simply to enter the store.

However, despite Miranz’s spin of the company’s future prospects, also reports a further round of layoffs at Vudu. At its peek the company had “as many as 110 or so employees and is now down to about 50.” Another round of funding is also needed “sooner” rather than later, something that could be problematic during the current economic climate.

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

2 Responses to “Amid layoffs, Vudu concedes its future lies outside of its own set-top box”

  1. Fanfoot says:

    But its a DOWNLOAD service, meaning there would have to be a DISK or lots of FLASH in the target device. So unlike the Netflix streaming service, this will presumably add significant extra cost to the device it is embedded in, whether BluRay player or whatever.

    But hey, if they can get deals, and I don’t have to pay an upfront fee, I’d be happy to rent digital movies from them over the internet…

  2. Even if it’s a download service, that doesn’t necessarily mean that VUDU needs a lot of storage. By networking to your home computer, they could use the storage and the horsepower there to power a stripped down version.

Leave a Reply