Adding to an already impressive list of services available on their web-connected HDTVs, LG has yanked Vudu into the fold. What this means: instant 1080p movie streaming. Also, that standalone set-top streaming boxes might finally die, as they should.
So what gets this? It's a decent spread of 42-inch-and-up plasma and LCD TVs, including the 47-inch LCD 47LH50 and 50-inch plasma 50PS80, available now for $1,699 and $1,799, respectively, and the forthcoming 42-inch LCD 42LH50, and the 60-inch plasma 60PS80, which should land outside the price spread of the current sets on both ends.
Vudu has promised a smattering of improvements on their side of things, from video quality tweaks to a snappier user interface—mostly due to these HDTVs' more substantial hardware, I'd assume. But the most important part of this announcement isn't even about Vudu:
With LG's NetCast Entertainment Access, consumers have instant access to millions of streaming movies, TV shows and web videos through an Ethernet connection. These models, ranging in screen size from 42- to 60-inch class sizes*, also include access to content from Netflix, Yahoo! Widgets, YouTube and more
This "choose your widget" scenario is an increasingly common scenario for new HDTVs right now, which is fantastic news for customers, and not so fantastic news for whatever poor companies got roped into manufacturing the various standalone streaming set-top boxes we'd just started to get used to. (Sorry, Roku!) Without the hardware entry cost, these video services can fight it out with the features that really matter: Netflix's monthly subscription vs. Roku's per-movie rentals and purchases; Vudu's 1080p HDX streaming vs. Netflix's 720p VC1AP video; etc. Open platform TVs and Blu-ray players are the new battlefield, and they won't be a forgiving one. [LG, Vudu]
LG ELECTRONICS FIRST TO BRING VUDU HD MOVIE SERVICE
TO BROADBAND HDTVs
VUDU's Unique Streaming Movie Service, Largest Library of HD Movies,
enhance LG ‘NetCast Entertainment Access' LCD and Plasma HDTVs
NEW YORK, July 29, 2009 — LG Electronics will be the first to introduce broadband HDTVs with the instant-access high-definition (HD) movie service from VUDU Inc., a leading provider of digital on-demand entertainment services, the companies announced today. VUDU on-demand movies will be available on LG's LH50 1080p LCD series and PS80 Plasma 1080p series with "NetCast Entertainment Access," beginning next month.
"Our alliance with VUDU further demonstrates LG's commitment to delivering the ultimate HD viewing experience, by providing instant access to more 1080p movie content than ever before" said Peter Reiner, senior vice president, marketing and strategy, LG Electronics USA. "VUDU highlights the superb video quality of our ‘Full HD' sets with NetCast Entertainment Access, while providing consumers with access to thousands of HD movies with the touch of a button."
The VUDU service allows consumers to instantly buy or rent from an extensive library of movies and TV titles, including an industry-leading catalog of more than 2,000 high-definition movies – with no monthly fees and without having to buy, install, or connect any additional hardware. Consumers will enjoy movies in VUDU's unique HDX format, with Full HD 1080p resolution, plus Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround sound.
VUDU's streaming movie service delivers a near-instant viewing experience – movies start immediately, including high definition HDX movies, and viewers can fast forward, rewind and browse chapters without the delays or the frustration associated with slow buffering. The VUDU catalog is updated weekly, and newly released movies from major studios are typically available months before they are available on subscription-based services.
"Together, LG's Broadband HDTVs and the VUDU service set the industry standard for easy access to on-demand HD movies," said Alain Rossmann, CEO of VUDU. "VUDU is blazingly fast on LG's Broadband HDTVs and makes discovering and watching new HD movies a truly exciting and fun user experience. With this partnership, VUDU is raising the bar on delivering Hollywood movies to this new class of Smart TVs."
With LG's NetCast Entertainment Access, consumers have instant access to millions of streaming movies, TV shows and web videos through an Ethernet connection. These models, ranging in screen size from 42- to 60-inch class sizes*, also include access to content from Netflix, Yahoo! Widgets, YouTube and more. With this enhanced connectivity, LG's Broadband HDTVs transform and personalize the home theater experience by offering a virtually endless array of entertainment options.
LG's 47-inch class* LCD HDTV (model 47LH50) and 50-inch class* plasma HDTV (model 50PS80) with NetCast Entertainment Access are available now at national retailers with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $1,699 and $1,799. LG's 42-inch class* LCD (model 42LH50) and 60-inch class* plasma (model 60PS80) will be available and existing LG Broadband TV owners will be able to add the VUDU service next month.