Silicon Valley’s Vudu made its debut a few weeks back, offering thousands of studio films in a box (sort of). Actually the movies stream over the Internet, summoned by an impressive menu set-up.
Unlike Vudu’s high-profile competitors, no outside PC or game system is required. Just a $400 (ouch!) Vudu box. (UPDATE: The price was cut to $250 in late October.) Here are some of the early reviews, summarized.
“Setup is as easy as hooking up an AppleTV.
Vudu’s remote is functional art that’s a joy to use.
The quality of the video was as good as any DVD I own.”
“You need an Ethernet connection near your television.
Vudu’s (movie/TV) selection is erratic and hard to figure out.
You pay for your movies in advance rather than pay-as-you-go.”
Gizmodo did a similar piece last month. Here’s what Wilson Rothman had to say in his Vudu walkthrough and review:
“I love browsing and watching movies on this thing—the instant gratification is awesome!
I never once had more than a tiny video hiccup. … And the picture looks stupendous.
Vudu’s remote is incredible, with five buttons and a clickable jog dial that you can intuit in record time.”
“Vudu is selling these things for $400. So you can pay more money to buy or rent movies from them.
You could save the money by connecting your PC to your TV and renting from CinemaNow or Movielink.
there just aren’t enough good hits when you go searching.”
Then there’s CNET’s review of Vudu:
“Closest thing to ‘Netflix in a box’ that we’ve seen to date.
Solid movie selection includes major Hollywood studio titles in the same week they hit DVD.
Very good video and audio quality.”
“Can’t stream media from networked PCs.
No built-in Wi-Fi.
Rentals limited to 24-hour viewing period.”
Download Movies 101 won’t be an early adopter on this system — we still wake up in a cold sweat thinking about MovieBeam — but frequent video renters would do well to consider Vudu as an alternative to long lines and mailbox watching.
The Vudu box looks like the real deal, with HDMI ouputs (1.1) and 1080p/24 capabilities. (Check out the specs). Still, all of the reviewers complained about the price of the box, so give this a try:
If you decide to buy a Vudu box, enter the code VUDUROCKS during checkout. Should be good for $100 off.