Sunday, April 29, 2007

Vudu - Video On Demand in a Box

There has been tons of buzz this weekend about a new, yet-to-be-released product called Vudu. Vudu is a small box that plugs into your TV and your internet/network connection to provide video-on-demand where you can rent or purchase a movie without the need for a computer or cable box. The buzz on the internet has been calling it a AppleTV killer, but I guess it could be considered a competitor of AppleTV, Joost, Netflix, Amazon Unbox etc. According to Gizmodo and the NY Times, Vudu, Inc has been striking deals with the content owners for two years and should have thousands of movies available when it launches.

What makes Vudu different from the competitors? A NY Times write-up on the Vudu says" The box’s biggest asset is raw speed: the company says the films will begin playing immediately after a customer makes a selection." The Vudu will be based on a Peer-to-Peer network described by the NYTimes interview "The system, according to interviews and those patent applications, will operate like a traditional peer-to-peer service, but without any active participation by users. Vudu boxes that already have a certain movie on their hard drives — say, “The Godfather” — will send pieces of that movie to a nearby box when its owner suddenly gets a taste for the epic Mafia drama."

Description from Gizmodo:

"The box is about the size of a hardcover book and delivers video streamed in MPEG-4, which is upscaled to HD. It has HDMI, composite, and S-Video ports. Vudu goes online via an ethernet cable, and the media stream is managed through a load-sharing distributed network, which should guarantee instant access to the movies without stutters. The remote control has a scroll wheel (nice touch) and appears to have just five buttons. There are plenty of open questions about Vudu—like the size of the hard drive—which won't get answered until closer to the launch this summer. The price is going to be competitive with Apple TV, but probably a bit more expensive."
This device will be in a busy space, but it has a lot going for it. It should be interesting to see how well such a device is accepted by the general public looking for an easy way to get movies they want on their home TV's whenever they want them. Not just the small selection their cable company gives them.