This sounds like the coolest device but the selection of movies will be the key to its success.
Vudu TV Set-Top Box: 5,000 Movies, Instantly
Thu Sep 6, 2007 12:03PM EDT
Want a collection of 5,000 movies that you can start watching immediately, at the press of a button? The Vudu set-top box just might be the answer, and it'll arrive on store shelves in a matter of weeks.
I blogged about Vudu back in April; now that we're closer to the launch date, more details have emerged, and David Pogue of the New York Times even has a hands-on review. According to Pogue, the $400 set-top box boasts impressive, DVD-level quality (competitors such as Apple TV and the Xbox Video Marketplace suffer from sub-DVD image quality with their standard-def offerings), an easy-to-use remote, an Ethernet port (no need for a PC), and a 250GB hard drive, capable of storing 100 full movies. Videos start the moment you click "play"—that's because the Vudu stores the first 30 seconds of all available movies locally, and downloads chunks of movies from other Vudu users (see my original post for more details). While the $400 price tag is a bit pricey, there's no monthly subscription fee; you can rent movies for $2 to $4 (with a 24-hour viewing window) or buy videos for $15 to $20.
Sounds cool, but of course, the Vudu will live and die according to its selection of movies, which (according to Pogue, at least) is a bit spotty. Sure, plenty of hits are available, including "300" and "Blades of Glory," but some recent titles, such as "The Departed," are missing, and there are plenty of Z-grade stinkers. That said, Vudu execs say they hope to have more than 10,000 titles, including HD movies, available in the coming months.