Exclusive Pics of the Vudu - Video Store In A Box

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These are the first pictures of the box, remote control and UI of Vudu, a video store in a box that is going to engage in a battle royale with Apple TV later this summer. The service will launch with thousands of movies from seven major studios as well as indie distributors, connects directly to your TV and does not require a PC or a cable box. The company, Vudu, Inc., has been quietly engineering the technology and striking deals with content owners for the past two years (under the codename Marquee). It's run by some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley. Find out more about the box, its load-sharing network, and the Apple connection after the jump.

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Illustration for article titled Exclusive Pics of the Vudu - Video Store In A Box
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Illustration for article titled Exclusive Pics of the Vudu - Video Store In A Box
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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.

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The chairman of the Vudu, Inc. board is Alain Rossman, the guy who made it possible for you to browse the Web on a mobile device (WAP). He got his start at Apple, then founded Phone.com (now Openwave Systems), EO Corporation, and C-Cube Microsystems among others. The founder of Vudu, Tony Miranz, comes from Tahoe Networks and AT&T Bell Labs. The COO and VP of Engineering both come from TiVo. Vudu is funded by Greylock Partners and Benchmark Capital.

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How will it stand up against Xbox 360, TiVo Series 3 and Apple TV? I can't wait to find out.

Vudu [Teaser Page]

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DISCUSSION

donlphi says:

"—I said the same thing about APPLE TV."

Well, you didn't know what you were talking about then, this is different. AppleTV has an established userbase behind its content ALREADY, and the content can be moved around freely between it and other devices in an ecosystem. For that alone (and the fact that other iPod-to-TV solutions have been out, AppleTV was more than a "weak" offering. If I had the cash and an HDTV, I'd definitely have one.

Vudu? Meh. Sounds more like "Dudu" to me. I was astonished when I read about MovieBeam, and how people were supposed to pay hundreds of dollars for a device with the sole purpose of having them spend even MORE money on a regular basis... in a HIGHLY proprietary and non-reusable way. Yikes.

Now, along comes Vudu. There are things that would spark my interest... like say, $9.99-$14.99 all you can eat movie rentals, 3 downloaded at a time (like Netflix). Perfect! No waiting for people to return DVDs a-la-NetFlicks, good price, as fast as your connection. That'd be nice. Maybe the device only costs $99 or maybe $149.95. Doable. Very doable.

But is this that? I mean, I use RedBox from time to time. Stop in at a Stop & Shop and grab a DVD for $1 per day. I always return it the next day, so its very convenient. They even send me an e-mail confirmation of my purchase.

I agree with one comment I read that this DOESN'T compete with AppleTV. Wouldn't for me. I doubt it'll do podcasts. AppleTV will be upgrading its software overtime. Will Vudu? Probably not. Can Vudu let me rip my DVD's into a jukebox?

the pitch on their website is this:

"VUDU is thousands of movies delivered directly to your TV. VUDU is freedom-it doesn't require a PC and is independent of your cable or satellite TV service."

Meh... NO THANKS. It sounds like paying for a device more expensive than your average cable box and then using the basic "on-demand" services for probably the same price points.

Revolutionary. God that word is starting to SUCK.