If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em
We already knew that Vudu’s future lies outside of its own set-top box. The Internet TV startup said as much in what looked like a change of strategy following a recent round of layoffs. Rather than punting the online video store via its own hardware alone, Vudu announced plans to “piggyback” third-party devices, including Internet-connected TVs, DVD players and other kinds of set-top boxes. And today, the first of those partnerships was unveiled.
It’s not, however, a rival consumer electronics company. Instead, its a company called Entone that markets and sells its own IPTV hardware – set-top boxes and DVRs – to telcos rather than directly to consumers. The partnership should see Vudu’s software and store make its way onto Entone’s hardware via a software update this summer. From the joint press release:
“This arrangement brings together the best of live television, as supported by Entone’s market leading IPTV home connectivity products, with the best of Internet on-demand movies, as supported by VUDU’s vast movie library from every major Hollywood studio and over 40 independents,” expressed Steve McKay, CEO of Entone. “Previously, consumers had to choose between pay TV services and over-the-top Internet video services where the latter was something you did when you were not watching TV. This is the first time two competing visions are coming together in one unified service. By marrying the two concepts, your online movie library is now available as part of your core TV viewing experience from the same user interface and remote control.”
Interestingly, CNet reports that the new offering will also include Vudu Labs, which offers access to web services such as YouTube and Flickr, along with an API so that third-party developers can build additonal plug-ins for the Vudu platform.