Is anyone using VUDU?

Is anyone using VUDU, the box that lets you rent and buy movies via broadband without having a computer or cable TV? It seems to be pretty slick, and it recently got a great review from either Popular Science or Consumer Reports (I think Pop Sci; I read both mags at the same time and then threw them out, and now I can’t remember where I saw the review). There is no monthly fee, you pay movie by movie ($0.99-$3.99 for rentals; $4.99-$19.99 for purchases). The review that I read says that the service offers more movies than Netflix.

What really appeals to me is being able to pick which movie I want to rent or buy at the moment that I’m ready to watch it. I’ve had Netflix since August 2002, and the only thing that ever frustrates me is trying to guess in advance what I’m going to feel like watching. I know that’s part of why they let you pick more than 1 movie at a time, but still … I always feel kind of obligated to watch what I’ve rented.

The big downsides are the initial $400 outlay for the VUDU box, and the fact that it’s so new (which is tied into the initial cost being a downside). I don’t think I’d mind paying that much up front for a service that will be around for a few years, but who knows how stable the company is or will be. Another potential downside is that when you buy a movie it is only available on your VUDU box: there is no (sanctioned) way to transfer it to DVD, so if the box ever breaks or something you lose what you’ve paid for. Yet another one is that VUDU doesn’t seem to offer TV show titles, only movies. I rent a lot of TV shows from Netflix.

So are there any folks with lots of disposable income out there using this? :slight_smile:

(I tried doing a search on “vudu,” but it wasn’t a long enough word. I haven’t been as on top of the Dope as usual, so my apologies if I missed a similar recent thread.)

One little bump. :slight_smile:

My boss brought a unit by my office yesterday. (We work in consumer electronics.)

It looks pretty interesting, especially if it can truly deliver video on demand. The specs say that you need at least a 2Mbps broadband connection. Otherwise, it buffers enough so that the movie doesn’t end before its download does.

I like that it has all the next-gen connectors, like HDMI, digital coax, and a couple of USB ports. And I’m impressed with the fact that they are starting out with a library of 5,000 movies.

I’d think about getting it if I had $400 to spend. I’d definitely get it if they offered TV shows, plenty of adult selections, and a built-in web browser, since it’s going to be connected to the 'net anyway.

If this works, it could kill Blockbuster and Netflix, and do a number on cable and satellite. (There’s nothing too unique on the technical side of their video over IP implementation that would threaten cable and satellite, but if people got used to the model of only paying for what they want to watch, it would be a new model of video distribution.)

Sounds cool, could work if they could eventually drop the initial cost by quite a bit.

$400 is a lot, and I probably wouldn’t pay it. I also think 3.99 is kind of high for a “virtual” rental, and that they should come down on their purchase prices, too, especially since they aren’t transferable to DVD.

Isn’t netflix testing something like this, where you can download movies as part of their service?

I’m such a geek for things like this (as my TiVo, external DVD burner, 5-disc DVD player, and bank account can attest) … I am soooo tempted… :smiley:

How big is it? Comparable to a TiVo box or DVD player, or smaller?

The TV shows would definitely be the decider for me. Between my laptop and my wifi-enabled PDA I don’t need a web browser, and the adult selections would be nice but that wouldn’t keep me from getting it (Netflix doesn’t offer many – any? – of them, anyway).

It’s definitely more expensive than Netflix, but how much do people pay at Blockbuster to rent one movie in-store? Isn’t it around $3-4? (It’s been at least five years since I’ve rented a movie in a store, so I really don’t know anymore, but I seem to recall that’s roughly what I was paying per videotape back in the day.) The review that I read said that the quality of the stream is excellent (with the right bandwith, as Airblairxxx mentioned): if I can’t tell the difference between a DVD and a stream, I don’t think I’d mind that price.

I agree that a $20 purchase price is kind of high for something without packaging that isn’t portable, but I can’t imagine that I’d ever use VUDU to buy a movie. It would most likely be strictly a rental box for me.

It’s a stream, not a download (and you watch them on your computer). You can’t purchase movies and download them through Netflix – at least, not yet. :slight_smile:

You remind me of the babe.

Ruth? :confused:

No, the babe with the power.

Ruth? :confused: :smiley:

Maybe a little bigger than a Mac Mini. I don’t have it in front of me, but it was about 2" tall and 10" on each side, maybe?

It’s more expensive because it’s on demand; if you want to watch something, you can be watching it within 5 minutes. Compare to Netflix, where if you don’t currently have that DVD, you won’t get it within 2 days at the earliest.

I actually would consider buying a movie through these guys. The Vudu unit is totally portable; there’s nothing in the user agreement that says it must be attached to one TV. You can move it throughout the house or even take it to a friend’s house. Also, as the movies are downloadable, if your hard drive goes bad then Vudu could allow you to simply re-download all the ones you’ve purchased. (Although I don’t know for certain that they will allow you to do this.)

The power of voodoo.

Here, sorry. It was just the thing that came instantly to mind when I saw the title of the thread. :o :stuck_out_tongue:

Cool, thanks. It doesn’t look very big in photographs, but I don’t think I’ve seen a picture with anything else in it for scale.

I wasn’t complaining about the rental prices. :slight_smile:

Sorry, when I said, “portable” I meant each movie itself.

Well, that’s something I’d have to know before I bought a movie from them. But if I’m going to buy a movie I still prefer the physical presence of a DVD in a case on a shelf. I know that’s just me, though.

Heh. No problem. :slight_smile: