$100 off Vudu

Ah, Vudu. The box that’s generated more hate email towards me than any other product write-up – several folks have taken issue with my critiques. Look, it’s not that I don’t like the Vudu hardware or movie service… It’s that I primarily don’t like the pricing ($399), which limits their chances at mass adoption. I’m sorry they haven’t found ways to bring it down. Until today… Through October 23rd, get $100 off using coupon code VUDURULES. However, to really improve their odds, they’ll need to ultimately charge less than Apple TV and gain a presence at some major brick & mortar retailers. As an aside, rumor has it true HD content will arrive within the next few months.

12 thoughts on “$100 off Vudu”

  1. I don’t really mean “hate” in the literal sense, more along the lines of questioning my judgment and not giving Vudu a fair shake. But truly, I’ve had more conversations (email, phone, IM, face-to-face) regarding my take on this product than probably anything else. Debate is fun. :)

  2. I saw it demo’ed on Tekzilla. Seems every device maker is willing to go about as 1/3 far as they need to make a device people want. Tivo did it, Sling did it. Who’s next?

  3. One of my complaints is that the Vudo doesn’t support IR remote controls. You have to use their remote instead of your “one remote to rule them all” universal remote. Several years ago I decided to not purchase any home theater components that 1) couldn’t be controlled with a universal remote, and 2) didn’t have discrete power on/power off/video input capability. So I never even got to the stage of considering the value proposition of the Vudu device/service.

  4. When you review a product you haven’t used yourself, you open yourself to a lot of mistakes. Read today’s yahoo tech review. It is not only an absolute rave, but is an excellent technical dissection of the product. Then review all of the comments so far, which seem generally be people who have used the product and who also give it very, very high marks. You can say its too much money and you wouldn’t spend that. But if the product is a good as they say, and I say, it is…you would go online in a minute and buy one. The link, for interested persons is http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/patterson/7269/ In my opinion it is a ten. I can understand why people think you blundered. You have to use it with the controls in your own hands to reallize how good it is. Its a WOW.

  5. I forgot in regards to comments by other, the definiton is five times better than Tivo which I have, it is not more versatile than the fuzzy Tivo and Vudu will have the TV old stuff starting in January in addition to their movies, everyone raves about their controller which is fives times faster than the one on the Tivo as an example plus you can through Vudu’s box in drawer or closer since its RF and you do not have to keep it with the rest of your pile, etc. None of these seems to be a criticism from someone who has used it. It also makes the $600 Blu-ray and buying any movie or TV DVD at $15 a pop into a stupid investment. IMHO.

  6. Lou,

    Are we reading the same review? The Yahoo tech review was far from an ‘absolute rave’. It was an OK review, but listed a number of issues with the product and did not issue an unreserved recommendation or even come close to it.

    And you’re just flat out wrong – the VUDU is limited to 480p today – NOT HD, the TiVo HD or S3 does 720p or 1080i, real HD. The VUDU is not ‘five times better’ than an HD TiVo. If you have an SD TiVo, the VUDU may be a bit better – but that’s also highly dependent on your source.

    And the VUDU is not going to replace a DVR – they don’t have all the content, and simply won’t have all the content, you get from cable or satellite. No way am I giving up a DVR for cable, so the VUDU would be an additional device. But I already have a TiVo as my DVR, and a PS3 for gaming and Blu-ray – and Sony is planning to launch their own video downloads. So why would I want to spend money on a VUDU? Blu-ray provides superior picture and sound to VUDU – even when they go HD they’re not going to match Blu-ray with downloaded content, it isn’t feasible.

    If someone didn’t have any devices and they had $300-400 to spend – I’d tell them to get the TiVo and not the VUDU, it does more. The VUDU is limited in what it offers, and unless you’re a complete movie fanatic it is not worth the money. I don’t care how good it is at what it does – it is too limited for the cost. If the box were $100 – I *might* get one – but if/when Unbox introduces HD content, probably not – why get yet another box?

    VUDU needs to be a service bundled with other hardware. They have some clever software – it is basically BitTorrent technology – but it is a one trick pony and they’ll probably end up like Akimbo and Moviebeam.

    Which is another reason I won’t buy it – I don’t have faith they’ll be around in a year or two. That niche has a history of companies entering and fizzling out after failing to gain traction. With convergence bringing other vendors to existing platforms (like Unbox on TiVo, iTunes to AppleTV, downloads on Xbox 360 and coming to PS3, plus cable and satellite VOD) why spend money on a standalone box, even if it is slick. I’ll take less slick and bundled with a more useful box.

  7. “When you review a product you haven’t used yourself, you open yourself to a lot of mistakes.”
    Lou, while I haven’t lived with the product, I have seen it in person and used it briefly. Doesn’t change the price tag…

    “You have to use it with the controls in your own hands to reallize how good it is.”
    Exactly, my point. Until they get into a large national retailer, it’s going to be an uphill battle.

  8. The reviewer says, “The Vudu is capable of delivering full-on 1080p video to an HDMI-equipped HDTV.” Other reviewers say the HD becomes available Jan 1 because of delays from the studios not Vudu. When you say it is not available today you are technically correct but misleading all those who don’t know you’re getting the full 1080p very soon. The author goes on…”the actual experience of zooming around the Vudu’s menus is pretty fun.” That is not from an author that doesn’t like it. “it’s a step above the murky movies and videos on iTunes.” – That leaves AppleTV in the dust. “browsing for movies was pretty cool.” At the end of three pages of positive stuff, he lists two legitimate complaints- he wishes there were charges by a single subscription fee instead of by the movie,”…and “not every movie comes with Dolby video soundtrack,” and it sounds as if he played what he described as mono recordings (could be,) I have played many dozens of movies now and have yet to have that problem, so I would guess they or he had a temporary, fixable glitch and none of the other bloggers noted any problem with sound. You mentioned other download platforms. Here is what the Popular Science mag and online tech guy had to say comparing them all: “VUDU – flawless image quality and instant playback; Tivo Unbox – 3900 titles software crashed and colors washed out; iTunes – 500 titles, easy to download but image quality low, Netflix – titles 2000 – choices are limited; XBox live – 230 movies, only movies with hd content but files are huge. Thus, Popular Science also gave high marks to VUDU but not to any other choice including your unbox. I know you like your system and have obviously put a ton of money into it ($600 to $800 if I recall for HD player plus you have to fork out $15 for every movie versus renting it fo $1 to $4. That would be a huge, immense savings if you had gone with VUDU. It is so easy to criticize what you haven’t used. I suggest you use one and then, and only then, could you do an honest comparison. These professional reviewers liked it and the bloggers who have used it all gave very high marks. We consumers who have actually used the product are those you should listen to. Respectfully, Lou.

  9. Lou,

    Again. I don’t think we’re reading the same review because he mentions some issues throughout the article. And your reading comprehension continues to fail as I did mention that HD was coming to VUDU at some point, but is not there today. So you can’t claim it is better than an HD TiVo now. On top of that, while the unit can output 1080p it is not clear if the downloaded content will be 1080p – or, like the 360, 720p that is upscaled by the player, or 1080i, etc. A full 1080p download would be quite large so I would not be surprised to see the files 720p with the player upscaling.

    And that’s still not 5x better than the TiVo – which can record and playback 720p or 1080i content up to 1080i. (Well, the chip in the HD at least can do 1080p – so that could be a latent feature.)

    I read the PopSci review when it came out. They made mistakes. There are over 10,000 titles available for Unbox on TiVo, with more being added all the time. That’s movies and TV. But even limiting it to just movies there are far more than 3900 titles. As for ‘washed out’ – I completely disagree. I have TiVo and use Unbox – on a 61″ 1080p DLP. The colors are not washed out. Quality is about that of a DVD, it varies depending on the title as it will with any encoding. TiVo is also adding progressive download abilities this fall – being able to begin watching as it downloads instead of waiting for it.

    Knocking the 360 for ‘huge’ files is silly, since ANY HD files are going to be ‘huge’ – including VUDU, Unbox, or anyone else who does HD at some point. HD means more data which means larger files. Simple.

    I’ll agree that the Unbox service on TiVo isn’t as nifty as VUDU – and TiVo is still a better value because it is not *just* a download box. It is a premium DVR, a digital media access point, *AND* a download box – and the HW costs less than the VUDU (TiVo HD). The TiVo HD costs *$250* (Amazon) and if you pre-pay it is $8.31 a month.

    Personally I paid $600 for my Series3 and I have lifetime on it, so I have no ongoing fees, a total of $800. For that I’ve had it for over a year now, and even with the cost I still think it is a better value than VUDU – I use it daily, I might use VUDU a couple of times a month, maybe. Especially since I can TiVo movies off IFC and the like for free (and regularly do), so I rent even fewer.

    But you still miss the point. There is no ‘huge immense savings’ going with VUDU. You save on the subscription even if you pay more on the hardware with VUDU, sure. But you LOSE a ton of functionality. If *all* you want is movie downloads, fine, VUDU is a better value. But if you want more bang for your buck – movie downloads *and* a top quality, dual-tuner high-definition DVR *and* a box that can access music, photos and video from your network *and* access 3rd party online content like Rhapsody, Live365, Yahoo, Fandango, podcasts, etc, *and* 3rd party HME Apps like Apps.tv and PlayTeeVee.com *and* do more – the TiVo HD just blows VUDU out of the water on value. Most people will use a DVR every day – but not movie downloads. So you can pay $300 for a box you use for movie downloads – and how often will you use that? Or you can pay say $548 for a TiVo HD with three-years of pre-paid service ($249 for the box, $299 for the service ($8.31/month)) and have something that can capture content from the cable or antenna you probably already have, in HD, allowing you to watch it any time. And download movies & TV. And play your digital music and photos. And more. Or if you don’t want to drop as much up-front, $249 for the box and $12.95/month. Or one of the other pricing plan options.

    The movie downloads might not be as *slick* as VUDU, but it isn’t *bad* either – very usable. And overall Unbox has more than twice the content as VUDU with movies & TV.

    I don’t care of the VUDU is the best movie download box in history – I think it is a poor value because you can get other products that do a *good* job but that also do a hell of a lot more than VUDU, for similar amounts of money. VUDU is too specialized – just like Akimbo and Moviebeam were as hardware companies.

    In terms of price tag VUDU costs less, no question. But in terms of *value* I think it fails badly. What it does for the price you pay is very limited, and you’re better off putting that money toward something else – unless you really are a movie fanatic and will be use the VUDU several times a week.

    Note that this has nothing to do with the quality of the product, in fact I think the product is quite slick, simply the scope of the features – no matter how good they are, they’re limited.

    I could buy a great carving knife for less money than my Swiss Army Knife Cybertool. But I carry my Cybertool with me all the time and I use it very regularly, while my carving knives site in a knife block in my kitchen and are rarely used. If I had to buy just one, I’d buy the Cybertool. In a pinch I *could* use the long blade to cut some meat – while the carving knife wouldn’t be able to be a torx driver, scissors, wrench, etc – all things I use regularly on the Cybertool.

    The VUDU is a great box – but it is very specialized. Most people will find a versatile tool a better value than a highly specialized one.

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