Due to a promotion offered by Wal-Mart, I recently became interested in VUDU's online movie streaming service. The deal was if you purchased the Toy Story 3 BluRay disk from Wal-Mart, you would get a free copy to include in your VUDU library to stream whenever you wanted. Unfortunately, I never got the deal to work out, but I was still intrigued by the VUDU service.
VUDU as a service is built-in to several home theater components, including HDTV's, bluray players, and more recently, the Boxee Box. It allows you to rent or purchase movies which are then streamed directly to you. When I signed up, I was given a credit for a free movie rental to try it out. I was using VUDU via Boxee Software on my Mac Mini. Unfortunately, due to VUDU's licensing agreements with use on a Mac or PC, I wasn't able to stream any of the High-Definition streams. VUDU was available from my LG TV, but not on my particular LG bluray player. Instead, I settled on a standard def rental of "Date Night" (because we were watching the movie on the projector -- not on the TV).
Browsing the VUDU interface via the Boxee software was less than ideal. Even though I knew what I wanted to watch, I had a hard time finding the movie I was looking for. I couldn't find a "Search" function in the interface, so I had to page through several pages of movies before I could find what I was looking for. Unless you're planning to watch a "recently released" or "most watched", it could take some time to find what you're looking for.
The standard def picture was better than I had expected, and when I had played some of the HD movie samples through a different device, I was very impressed with the picture and audio quality. In my opinion, the HD quality was better than the HD streaming from Netflix, and on-par or slightly better than HD content from the Apple TV.
Provided the VUDU service becomes available on more devices (I believe the PS3 is slated to get it today), I would not hesitate to use them again. The interface could use some work, but the quality of the picture is currently only second to bluray.
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About the reviewer
I'm a technology early adopter. I thoroughly enjoy geeking out with the latest hardware, software and electronics. I probably have as much fun setting up, tweaking, and configuring systems as I do actually … more
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