On Wednesday, Walmart subsidiary VUDU launched a new iPad-accessible web app that allows iPad users to stream more than 20,000 movies and television shows directly from the Web. iPad owners don’t have to use iTunes and simply need to navigate to http://VUDU.com for access to rentals and purchases. “VUDU’s launch on the iPad plays into that vision as we’re committed to offering the VUDU experience on as many devices as possible so customers can shop for and access their favorite movies and TV shows however they want, whenever they want,” general manager of VUDU Edward Lichty said. Customers can add a VUDU web app to their home screen by clicking the “Add to Home Screen” button once they have accessed the website. Read on for the full press release. More →
Walmart, one of the world’s largest retailer of DVDs, may be moving beyond physical media sales and jumping feet first into the online streaming business. According to the New York Times, Walmart is reportedly in the process of purchasing VUDU, an online movie streaming service that recently inked some sweet deals with big name TV and Blu-Ray drive manufacturers. Some of them include LG, Mitsubishi, Samsung, SANYO, Sharp, Toshiba and VIZIO. Walmart could possibly use its retail presence to sell the VUDU box and offer up VUDU’s 3,000 strong HD movie catalog at its famous discounted prices. With its name, its retail presence, and its influence on the DVD distribution channel, does Walmart wield enough power to be the game changer that forces the movie industry to let go of its precious DVD and embrace the online streaming model of distribution? We can’t say for sure but one thing is certain, Hollywood will be watching this deal and the resulting service very closely. More →
VUDU has taken a great leap forward, moving from its small lineup of streaming media set-top boxes and its presence on a few home entertainment devices to being the embedded media service of choice for LG, Mitsubishi, Samsung, SANYO, Sharp, Toshiba and VIZIO. The popular streaming movie service will be installed on select models of broadband TVs and Blu-ray players across all partners, an arrangement that may put millions of VUDU-enabled home entertainment devices into living rooms across America. Customers who purchase a VUDU-spiced HDTV or Blu-ray player will be able to access VUDU’s 3,000 strong on-demand HD movie catalog and its exclusive 1080p HDX formatted feature films. VUDU also announced its new VUDU Apps application platform, a cloud-based application service that allows customers to browse photos, stream video, access social network sites and more from the comfort of their favorite chair. They’ve got over 100 applications in the catalog and they will be available on broadband HDTVs from Mitsubishi, SANYO, Sharp and Toshiba and on broadband Blu-ray players from Toshiba. We need this. Now. More →
File this little guy under gadgets we need ASAP. VUDU has been tearing it up lately as the company wisely broadens its horizons beyond dedicated set top boxes. The HD on-demand content provider recently announced partnerships that bring its service to various LG and Mitsubishi flat-panel televisions, and now VUDU is taking things to a new range of products: LG Blu-ray players. It certainly makes sense — if you’re going to add an on-demand HD streaming service to a line of home theater components, why not make them Blu-ray players? The first LG model that will be graced with VUDU service is the BD390, which is available now with an MSRP of $399. VUDU will go live on the player via a free software update toward the end of the month, though CEDIA attendees will be able to get a preview of the VUDU-enabled player this week at the show. If you have a High Def addiction and you’ve given up fighting it long ago, the BD390 is definitely the 1080p fix you’ve been looking for. Hit the jump for the full release.
Official word that VUDU jazzed up its service offering with the addition of Pandora came through this morning but now some less-than-official news is creeping out that may be even more interesting. As you can see in the leaked screen shot above, VUDU is currently working on a new feature called Home Movies. According to Zatz Not Funny!, Home Movies will provide a Slingcatcher-like PC to TV streaming experience. It will reportedly allow users to stream H.264 video from a PC to the VUDU box, plugging yet another hole hole as the team continues to add value beyond HD movie rentals and purchases. It looks like the advent of the RIA platform was indeed a pretty effective catalyst for VUDU — let’s hope it can continue to add new features and services as the company makes its best effort to weather the storm.
Since the announcement of VUDU’s Rich Internet Application (RIA) platform, we’ve been waiting for some new big news to come down from the Santa Clara-based set top box-based movie distributor and this morning it looks like we’ve got it. Pandora, perhaps the most popular among a new wave of intelligent internet radio services, is now available via VUDU hardware. Pandora represents the first music application to hit the VUDU box and owners will have full access to just about all of Pandora’s great functionality. VUDU’s implementation also allows for multiple log-ins, allowing each member of a household to easily access his/her custom stations. The Pandora application is integrated seamlessly into VUDU’s sexy UI, as seen above, likely making it the most attractive Pandora-streaming option currently available. The addition of Pandora is awesome of course, but we’re still waiting for a monthly subscription option in addition to a la carte movie rentals/purchases before we get too excited about the service in general.
How low can you go is the question on the minds of potential VUDU owners as the company today announced a new price point for its set top box offering. Regularly $299, VUDU had announced a special deal earlier this year that threw in $200 of free movie credits with a purchase. It is now halving the cost of admission however, as the new price on VUDU’s site was lowered today to $150 including $50 worth of movie credits. VUDU is calling it a Christmas special but we wouldn’t be surprised if we see $99 become a regular occurrence in the near future as the struggling start up continues its attempts to boost sales. The shame of it is that VUDU has an awesome product, as just about any user will tell you, but the competition with cable provider services and other set top box solutions may prove to be too much for the company to handle. Stay strong, VUDU!
VUDU swings for the fences and connects! Big news from California-based set top box provider VUDU this morning, as the company announces a huge new addition to its arsenal — the VUDU RIA (Rich Internet Application) platform. Last time we covered VUDU, it was beefing up its 1080p offering and doling out generous $200 download credits for new customers (which is still available until the end of the year, by the way). This time around however, VUDU has something entirely new and different up its sleeve. Its freshly announced RIA platform is a tremendous step for set top boxes and a sharp deviation from the norm. In a nutshell, it is an open platform that paves a direct path to your television for an endless amount of internet-based content. To start things off, VUDU has a few new services that showcase the potential of its RIA platform: over 120 completely free on-demand TV channels with standard and high definition content, access to the entire YouTube video library, a handful of casual games and a portal into picture services such as Flickr and Picasa. Yeah, big time. VUDU will continue to add new content throughout 2009 and will open its platform to third party developers sometime in the first half of 2008. From the looks of things, 2009 is the year of VUDU. Hit the jump for two more screen shots.
Have you really not jumped into the set top box game yet? Remember how you made fun of your parents until they ditched their VCR and bought a DVD player – well we’re getting pretty close to the point in time where people are going to be laughing at you in the same way. For those of you who have been teetering, Vudu may have just given you the push you needed. From now until December 31 of this year, customers who purchase a new Vudu box from Best Buy ($300) will receive a $200 credit to be used on Vudu content. Of course there are a few stipulations, most notably is the fact that the credit must be used within four months and that it cannot be used on adult content. In other words, the box is now a very affordable $100 until the end of the year. What’s more, Vudu has just announced the addition of 1080p HD content so all you High Definition fiends out there will have something to chew on. As of now there are about 65 1080p titles to choose from but Vudu will be adding more titles moving forward. In fact, all new movies that become available in 720p will also be available in 1080p from now on. What’s more, 1080p content will be priced exactly the same as Vudu’s current HD content (720p downloads are between $4 and $6). These two new announcements might just be what Vudu needed to get bumped right up to the top of your holiday list.
If you’re a proud owner of a VUDU video-on-demand box or have been considering taking the plunge, today is your lucky day. The company has just announced the the availability of a wireless adapter, bringing its media box out of the wired stoneage and into the new millennium. The VUDU wireless adapter is a plug-and-play solution for integrating your VUDU box into your existing home wireless network. The adapter draws power from the VUDU itself, so there’s no need for an external power brick. $79 isn’t cheap, especially considering that the Wi-Fi capable Netflix box can be had for just $20 more. Then again, if VUDU is your poison of choice, this looks like a must-have accessory.