Posts Tagged ‘Vudu’

Vudu's boast: more HD content than the rest (but is the biz model the right one?)

Set-top box movie service Vudu is claiming to offer more High Definition content than any of its competitors — Apple TV, Netflix, XBox 360, and even Blu-Ray itself — reports CNet. And while content is mostly King, I’m still unsure about the company’s business model.

From CNet:

Indeed, a quick examination of competing services seems to bear out Vudu’s claim. We counted more than 1,100 HD movies available through Vudu’s box (including about 200 that are also offered in Vudu’s Blu-rayesque HDX format), compared to 391 on Xbox Live Marketplace, and something south of 700 on Apple iTunes. (Netflix will be kicking off its own HD streaming service later this month with a mere 300 titles.) By comparison, Amazon’s Blu-ray inventory–i.e. the total number of Blu-rays available–shows a total of close to 2,000 titles, though that includes TV shows and pre-release discs.

However, while Vudu’s catalog clearly beats its Internet set-top box rivals, along with holding its own against the fledgling Bu-ray format, there’s little to distinguish the service in terms of pricing – rentals range from $0.99 to $5.99, and purchased movies range from $4.99 to $19.99.

In fact, when you consider that the Vudu set-top box is a one trick pony compared to most of its direct competitors who also offer various additional functionality, such as gaming or the ability to bridge the gap between the PC and TV, the Vudu proposition appears to deliver a lot less value for money: buy our hardware ($299) so that you can start purchasing our wares. It’s like charging people to enter the store. Instead, Vudu should find a way of giving its set-top box away for free or at least making consumers feel like they’re not paying for the box.

How so?

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Vudu now offering 99c rentals

As if porn wasn’t enough to differentiate itself from competitors, this time Vudu (see our early review) has cheapened its set-top box movie service in the right way by offering heavily discounted rentals through its newly launched “99 for 99” movie channel.

As the name suggests, 99 movies will be on offer priced at just 99 cents per rental. Titles will be “personally” chosen by Vudu’s “in-house movie expert” Steven Horn, and will include both recent releases and “classics”, with selections rotated each week.

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Vudu partners with AVN to bring adult content to its set-top box

Pornography has always been a technology trendsetter — it stood on the VHS side of the videotape wars, was an innovator in streaming video content over the Internet, and was responsible for early breakthroughs for using credit cards as payment for Web transactions.

But no matter pornography’s contribution to technology, it’s mostly been relegated to the back room, out of sight, and rarely seen mingling with traditional, less “blue” content on mainstream devices.

That’s changing as Vudu, the set-top box that connects to a television and enables you to download and watch video content using a broadband connection, has signed a partnership deal with AVN Media Network.

Vudu owners can download content from a new AVN channel — the first stand-along content channel on Vudu. The AVN Channel will feature standard and high-definition content from well-known adult video studios such as Wicked, Vivid, and Hustler.

Standard definition movies can be rented for $6.99 and purchased for $19.99. High definition content costs $8.99 to rent, $29.99 to buy.

Adult video content has been included alongside mainstream content on hotel-room set-top boxes and on cable or satellite TV pay-per-view channels. There’s even a dedicated set-top box for the adult industry from FyreTV.

But the Vudu-AVN partnership has the potential to bring into the home, on the same device the family watches the latest Hollywood movies, a stunning amount of adult content in maybe too much detail.

Good thing there’s a slew of parental controls. You wouldn’t want little Johnny stumbling upon “Red Hot Chili Sex” and think it’s a movie about the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

How big of an impact is Internet-delivered video making in consumer living rooms?

I’ve often wondered this, but my math skills suck. How big of an impact is Internet-delivered video really making in the consumer living room?

Dan Rayburn, the EVP of and the blogger behind, crunched numbers in a post for GigaOm today and decided that the impact is not nearly as large as we think.

“While it is good to see more content options coming to consumers, adding up all of the install numbers for these devices gives a stark picture of just how small the install base really is,” Rayburn wrote. “The market is still too fragmented, with too many different devices, all limited by a lack of premium content.”

Rayburn bases his analysis on market penetration rates. His point is that the best technologies don’t always win — it’s what consumers adopt. The numbers for TV-connected devices are interesting.

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Win a Vudu set-top box!

Once again, this isn’t a last100 give-away but our good friend Dan Rayburn over at Streaming Media is up to his old tricks, this time giving away a Vudu set-top box (see our early review).

To qualify to win the unit, all you have to do is leave one comment on Dan’s original post with a working e-mail address. He’ll pick one person a week from today using a random number picker website and ship it out to the winner at no cost. (Sorry, U.S. residents only) The unit comes with all of the original materials, box, remote and cables.

From an RC beer cooler to an ESPN remote, digital lifestyle gifts for Dad on Father's Day

rc coolerThere are only a couple of more shopping days left until Father’s Day, that once-a-year event when wives and kids all across the U.S. buy Dad ties, aftershave, and other things he — let’s be honest here — will never use.

So to make shopping easier this year, we’ve assembled a few digital lifestyle ideas for your husband or Dad. Most of these are more expensive than Aqua Velva aftershave but, since we’re being honest here, these are what Dad might buy for himself, including a remote control beer cooler.

The obvious

The most sought-after Father’s Day gift on the planet will be the new 3G iPhone from Apple, which isn’t available until July 11. Until then, a hand-written IOU redeemable for the iPhone will do. Thankfully, the price is coming way down: $199 for the 8 GB model, $299 for the 16 GB phone. And since it now supports the enterprise with Microsoft Exchange syncing and other business-place features, the grumpy IT guys at Dad’s office will be happy.

Alternatives: none. Sure, we could argue for a Sony Ericsson, BlackBerry, or HTC smart phone, but why bother? Until Google’s Android phones are available — long after this Father’s Day is over — the iPhone will head Dad’s wish list.

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Finally! Somebody (Vudu) extends movie-rental deadline beyond 24 hours

vuduSeemingly lost in the news of iTunes, the AppleTV, Amazon’s forthcoming online video streaming service, and the newly available Netflix set-top box from Roku, is Vudu.

Vudu, the movie-on-demand service with its own set-top box, has upgraded its software to version 1.5 — ho hum — but this upgrade includes the ability to extend the rental past the 24-hour deadline.


One of the loudest complaints from people who rent or stream video content over the Internet is that they’re given 24 hours to watch a movie once it has started. If the baby interrupts and you can’t get back to “Atonement” in time, tough. You’ve got to rent it again to finish.

Vudu now allows you to extend the rental period for $2 off HD movies and $1 off regular flicks. The option is available for a week after the movie expires; once chosen, you have another 30 days to watch, 24 to 48 hours (depending on the film) after you hit play. The extension is available only once, although we wish it was without an additional cost [Ed. all rentals should be viewable for 48 hours at no extra cost. The studios are just being plain greedy and demonstrating that they still don’t understand viewing habits. Have they never heard of “no late fees”?].

It’s a reasonable amount of time to finish what you started, or watch again. It’s also something that others — ahem, iTunes — should offer as soon as possible.

Let's hope Sony gets it right this time: may launch movie/TV download service for PlayStation

sony ps3Word that Sony may be again launching a movie and TV download service was met today with interest and a bit of much-deserved scoffing.

It’s not like Sony hasn’t tried this before. Remember Movielink? Thought so. (It was sold to Blockbuster, by the way.) Remember Sony Connect? It shut down in March.

Heck, since the monumental success of the Walkman ages ago — in an analog world far, far away — Sony has pretty much failed at every digital offering, minus the early PlayStations and some home theater equipment. The whole digital music thing passed Sony by as Apple took over the Walkman mantle with the iPod, iTunes, and the rest of its digital lifestyle ecosystem.

The Los Angeles Times today reported that Sony is again in talks with Hollywood muckety-mucks regarding a download service that would beam movies and television shows from the Internet to the PlayStation 3.

But because said muckety-mucks are hush-hush over the negotiations, not much else is known — no pricing or if the movies and TV shows are for rent or purchase. One tantalizing tidbit, however, is being floated about.

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