Vudu Extends Platform for Internet Content

With the introduction of Vudu Labs, owners are enjoying some new functionality this week. Riding the Internet media wave, Vudu ($300) has extended their platform ($300) to provide a variety of freely available web content… in addition to existing movie streaming/download services. Initial offerings include YouTube, Flickr, and numerous video podcasts. Like much of the Vudu experience, navigating the new content is relatively efficient – although I’d like to see something a bit more visually appealing while media is loading.

This initiative certainly adds value to a device that clocks in at a higher price point than AppleTV ($230)… and they say this is just the beginning: The “Vudu Rich Internet Application (RIA)” is being developed as an open and extensible platform to facilitate delivery of web content in a lean-back environment. Of course, we’re all still waiting for a simple method to bring Hulu’s video library to the television…

The brief non-narrated video I shot (above) begins with a quick run-through of Vudu’s existing film library and interface, followed by some time in the new Labs area.

10 thoughts on “Vudu Extends Platform for Internet Content”

  1. I think part of the problem with Vudu is that they are trying to have their cake and eat it too. It’s one thing to charge $300 for the box, but then to lock consumers into buying content only from them seems like a bad deal for their customers. How do you know that they won’t just jack up the prices once they have critical mass? At that point there wouldn’t be any incentive to keep them honest. It’s great that they are bringing in web video, but I’d like to see them introduce Netflix, cable card and DivX/H.264 support so that their customers would have real content options even if Vudu trys to charge too much or ends up going out of business. They really do have a slick interface, but they need to decide whether they are a gadget manufacturer or a content distributor and pursue that avenue with gusto. If they try to straddle both worlds, they’ll just end up becoming the next Akimbo or Moviebeam or pretty soon AppleTV.

  2. I don’t get why someone would pay $300 for this. I mean, I’ll grant you that the interface isn’t optimized, but viewing Hulu on the PS3 (which is only $100 more than Vudu, gets you the same sort of access to downloadable content, plus a Blu-Ray player and a gaming system) is really quite nice, especially now that they’ve got the Full Screen working. Even with having to use the controller to navigate the Hulu webpage, though, it’s not too tough to load up the Daily Show or the latest episode of Chuck on the PS3.

  3. Not trying to do a promo here, but don’t forget that VUDU is offering a promo through at least a couple retailers – BB included where one gets 200$ in movie credits for the first four months, with any purchase prior to 12/31/08.

    With this NEW functionality, youtube, access to internet video podcasts, access to photos online the device is getting pretty darn compelling!

  4. Troy, I find Hulu on the PS3 to be tedious – natively or via PlayOn (which requires a running PC). We can do better. The question is who will hack it first or who will Hulu bring into the fold to make it happen.

    Regarding Vudu, I agree it’s an uphill battle for them. The $200 movie credit is a great incentive, and their content selection and UI are top notch (though, not without idiosyncrasies). But it’s a crowded marketplace and their biggest competitor is cable company video on demand… which doesn’t require a hardware purchase. (I wonder if the AVN/porn “channel” is helping sales.)

  5. They don’t care. They’re banking that most of their revenue will come from the juicy adult content they offer.

  6. I think, one of the things Dave didn’t mention in the write-up is that VUDU will open up RIA to all the developers next year (“first half of 2009”) and the current apps are kind of “proof-of-concept” type to show what’s possible. Unlike AppleTV, the company actually wants outside developers writing code & improving functionality.

    Anyway, of the current apps, OnDemand TV, YouTube, and Flickr are probably the best ones. HD podcasts look gorgeous and YouTube interface is surprisingly good.

    Hopefully, when RIA is opened up, some enterprising individual(s) will be able to find workaround to get popular stuff (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) to work.

  7. couple points. Indeed, I think that ONE of the direct competitors to VUDU is VOD from the cables, but I think their content is MUCH more limited than the VUDU has, ANNND, while a cable VOD access doesn’t TECHNICALLY require a hardware purchase, it sort of does through the lock-ins they require when giving STB’s that can do VOD. So, in essence one has to commit to at LEAST 180 days, or 1Yr of commitment to get something like an HD DVR STB from comcast in order not to pay anything for it.?

  8. I bought my Vudu early on when they were offering them through an evangelist program for $99 with $99 in movie credit. This added functionality is a welcome gift. I really like the flickr application. I have been waiting for TiVo to do this one.

  9. I have been with VuDu for quite some time and love the product and the prople. They constantly strive to introduce new features and offerings. Customer service is second to none as well and the boxes ( I have two) have been trouble free. I wish them the absolute best and they will keep my business, they have worked hard to get and they have earned it.
    If your on the fence on VuDu, give em a try. With the holiday promo it is hard to be wrong.

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