Search Results For "vudu"

Share Your Vudu Movies

Dave Zatz —  May 14, 2014 — 13 Comments

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We’ve long pined for the day we could legitimately share our legally acquired digital content, similar to how we often recycle physical media, without piracy or loaning out HBO credentials as so many do. Well, the UltraViolet consortium, consisting of a large number of movie studios, obviously sees some value in keeping their customers happy — perhaps as a way to cut down on theft and grow their digital ecosystem. And Walmart’s Vudu is the first provider to implement their new licensing.

Share My Movies by Vudu allows us to grant access to our cloud-based video library to five others. And, instead of messing with passwords and the like, invites are handed out via email address – as similarly implemented on Slingbox. This makes me a whole heck of a lot more more likely to purchase Blu-rays (with digital copies), knowing I can have my mom tune into any worthy flicks via her Roku. As we saw with UltraViolet’s disc-to-digital initiative, I anticipate other UltraViolet services like Flixster and Target Ticket will eventually offer similar sharing capabilities.

Chromecast: Vudu, Crackle, Rdio add support, PlayOn begins beta testing

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If Walmart’s June 10th circular is any indication, not only will the new Roku HD see a $10 price drop but it’ll also receive access to Vudu. Of course, Vudu is one of the more compelling video-on-demand services known for stellar high def streaming and cloud access to purchased (Ultraviolet) content – including disc-to-digital. Oh yeah, Vudu also happens to be owned by Walmart.

Assuming a Roku Vudu channel app comes to pass, the Roku HD tops out at 720p and I’m not certain even the 1080p-capable Roku 2 XS or XD can handle Vudu’s HDX bitrates. So while Amazon Instant will see some competition, this may not provide the best of breed HD that has set Vudu apart. One other note… While the Roku HD looks similar to the Roku 2, it’s slightly bigger to accomodate standard RCA composite (SD) outputs.

Update: Roku has informed me that the Vudu logo next to that Roku HD is a Walmart misprint. But, given Roku doesn’t comment on future initiatives, perhaps there’s still hope… someone has to bring Ultraviolet to the Roku platform, after all. Unless it’s Roku themselves.

Later this month, Vudu lands on the PS3. And if they’re not the top HD movie streaming service (in terms of quality), they surely fall amongst the top two (with Xbox Live Zune HD being the other). I’m not quite sure what these means as far as Sony’s own PS3 video store, but console owners are about to see a very nice VOD upgrade.

In other Vudu news, they’ve announced version 2.0 will launch next month and includes a refreshed UI. Although, by my count, the new interface would actually be the third iteration (for those who own original Vudu hardware). Actually, this update could even be classified 4.0 as my system software is already identifies itself as 3.0. But never mind those details, they mess with the marketing message. ;)

What I first noticed when reviewing the screencaps earlier this week are the missing Vudu Apps, like Facebook, Flickr, etc. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a definitive answer out of Vudu’s PR team on this…

VUDU’s focus is on the (over) 4,000 HD titles they have in their library. They are very much looking forward to expanding their TV content as well.

In most cases, it would make sense to dump the apps. They don’t directly generate revenue (for Walmart), like Vudu’s core content business, and most Vudu partners have their own app platforms (that Vudu plugs into) – making it somewhat redundant. On the other hand, apps encourage original Vudu owners to fire up their box more frequently which could indeed lead to additional movie rentals or purchases.

As far as the new UI, it looks quite nice — both attractive and functional. In fact, not only is the new tab-based interface designed for efficient remote control they say they took alternate input methods into account, including pointer remotes like The Loop or PS3 Move. Beyond the visuals, Vudu says we should expect new browsing, filtering, and recommendation capabilities.

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Well, this is unexpected. When Vudu dramatically shifted course to de-emphasize their own hardware in favor of a licenseable software platform, I figured their original set-top would wither and die. As it turns out, the companies did right by their customers and have ported the newer appilicious Vudu experience in its entirety to the early adopters that (barely) kept Vudu – afloat before being acquired by Walmart.

In addition to the app platform, Vudu’s original P2P movie queuing has been replaced by the CDN-powered HDX 1080p streaming. Plus, the new experience is web-based – so Vudu hardware should mirror Vudu-enabled HDTV and Blu-ray players going forward.

Lastly, as you can see from the pics, I dug my Vudu out of the closet to verify the update. And I had forgotten how heavy it is – several pounds, compared to the several ounce (new) Apple TV. My, how times have changed. (via Engadget)

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Wal-mart Dabbles In Vudu

Dave Zatz —  February 23, 2010 — 9 Comments

Wow. The rumor was true. Wal-mart is indeed acquiring Vudu. Given their prior failed attempt at digital media distribution and MediaMemo’s way-off financing stat, I had a difficult time buying it. But the deal is done – so congrats to the Vudu team.

Vudu’s story arc is interesting. From the beginning, and like many, I found the idea of a premium priced, dedicated movie box problematic. And suspected we had another Moviebeam on our hands as Vudu nearly folded late in 2008 when they discovered what most of us already knew. But after a few rounds of layoffs, a new strategy to port the Vudu experience to 3rd party hardware, a press relations agency upgrade, and additional financing, they quite successfully weathered the storm.

With Best Buy embracing TiVo and Napster it sort of makes sense Wal-mart would want a digital distribution partner of their own. Although the investors recouped their cash, consumers probably aren’t the big winner here. I fully expect Vudu’s AVN channel will be the first thing axed. And Dan Rayburn anticipates the whole enterprise, under Walmart’s stewardship, will fail.

I do hope the original stand-alone boxes see one more software upgrade to move them off P2P distribution and onto the CDN in use by all other Vudu devices. Rather than a complete shuttering. Also, in light of the acquisition, my plan to find a deal on a LG BD390 is on hold.

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Later today, Wikipedia movie content (and more) joins Rotten Tomatoes coverage on Vudu partner hardware. As a refresher, Vudu began life as a peer-to-peer movie streaming service via their dedicated hardware. After some layoffs, restructuring, and refinancing, they emerged with a hardware diversification strategy and a focus on supplemental web content. Additionally, the P2P streaming was dropped in favor of a more traditional (and scalable, dependable, etc-able) content delivery network (CDN) solution.

All in all, Vudu’s done well these last few months. And their streaming web interface allows them to make on-the-fly enhancements, like Wikipedia info, without burdening them with partner/manufacturer QA processes and firmware updates. However, do you really want to read all of Wikipedia on your television? (Not I.) Also, I have to wonder if a purely web-based UI leaves them vulnerable to outages and latency. Regardless, my desire for the highly rated LG BD 390 networked Blu-ray player ($260), that provides streaming Netflix, YouTube, and Vudu VOD, continues to grow.

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