Vudu Introduces Wireless Accessory ($79)

Let me start by saying every device should offer some sort of wireless connectivity, preferably built-in. Research indicates folks are going to connect a limited quantity of devices to their televisions, so it behooves companies to reduce barriers to entry. As to why wireless isn’t integrated into everything: Another chip raises the BOM. And more than the additional hardware cost is the price associated with supporting wireless configuration and performance. While I understand the rationale, I don’t buy it. If you want mainstream penetration, you need to offer WiFi.

Having said that, I’m actually (pleasantly) surprised to see Vudu provide a wireless option – especially since they stream at pretty high bitrates. I’d have assumed they’d play it safe with no remote networking option or, perhaps, Powerline. However, it seems to me that they’re mitigating support costs by selling a pair of wireless bridges to simplify configuration. In fact, at $79 I doubt they’re making any money on these.

Coincidentally, I happen to have a compact ASUS wireless bridge which looks remarkably similar to what Vudu is selling. Setup was extremely efficient and performance (Vudu, Slingbox SOLO) has been rock solid – much more so than the two Buffalo wireless bridges I recently ebayed. And what I find most clever is that it doesn’t require a power adapter (though one is provided) – it’s able to get enough juice off a USB connection, thereby reducing my clutter quotient. I wonder if there’s a way to decouple the Asus Vudu wireless bridge pair… If so, that $79 becomes an excellent value for adding WiFi to two devices (Vudu, Xbox, Slingbox, TiVo, etc).

9 thoughts on “Vudu Introduces Wireless Accessory ($79)”

  1. So the VUDU WiFi kit is an Ethernet to 11g bridge set? For $79? Couldn’t you just use a standard 11g gaming adapter, etc, and spend a lot less?

  2. You could use a gaming adapter, but I’m not sure how much you’d save. They seem to have jacked the prices up. Microsoft’s Xbox WiFi dongle is $100. Linksys and D-Link are also $70 or $80 (on Amazon). I even sold the crappy Buffalo brdiges for more than I purchased them for in the 60-70 range. (Which is why I might buy a Vudu pair if I can use each one independently.)

  3. I have seem many folks try using gaming adapters with the VUDU and due to their poor use of network connection management lock up when the VUDU is streaming.

    What I have done here at home is use the client bridge mode of a DD-WRT or Tomato flashed router. You used to be able to buy Buffalo routers for about 39 buck a piece and then flash them. For 40 bucks it beat the heck out of what any gaming adapter can do.

  4. Isn’t the key here, that there are TWO of them and therefore the plug and playability is 100% for the consumer? No configuration really, just plug one into device, plug the other into router? boom, wireless network between the two boxes is managed by the boxes?

  5. Yep, that’s why it’s a clever solution and should limit their support costs. My assumption as to why they haven’t priced the hardware higher.

    Interestingly, they also dropped 128bit WEP encryption on the connection. Of course, WEP has been an insecure protocol for years and now the potentially weakest link on someone’s network is introduced by a third party. Another reason I might want to get a pair for testing…

  6. Dave, so how does this work if you’ve also got Wifi going on in your house, ie. does this interfere with it? I’ve got enough problems changing channels to avoid my neighbour’s Wifi networks without another one in my own house…

  7. From Vudu’s post on their forum, it’s a customized version of Asus unit (they even kept Asus logo). And for $79/pair, it’s a major bargain. I was looking at Sonos’ solution and the lowest price I could find was $79/each.

    Anyway, the set-up I used for one of my Vudu locations is Buffalo’s WHR-54G router (flashed with Tomato firmware; in G mode) connected to D-Link’s DIR-655 N router (in G/N mode). Amazingly, I get perfect signal even with a dozen other networks around (live in an apartment).

    And yes, the price of flashable routers (DD-WRT, Tomato, etc.) isn’t going down. I was lucky enough to have Buffalo handy (I got D-Link a few months prior to getting Vudu).

  8. I just purchased a pair and would like to know if there is anyway to seperate them, so I can use them on 2 different wireless situations. I have been unable to access the menu by going to the IP address that is in the manual.

  9. So has anyone successfully been able to use this as a gaming adapter?

    Anyone willing to try hooking up their game console to test it?

Comments are closed.