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I was reading Paul Stamatiou’s site for TechDispenser yesterday and he posted a review of the Vudu online movie rental service. Something about this gadget has gotten under my skin and I’m on a quest to slay it…enough so that I went back today and posted comments with my concerns.

This isn’t the first time I’ve commented about the unit. I posted this at Jaded’s Pub earlier this month:

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Following up on the discussion we were having in the hi-def movie thread, there’s a new product called Vudu hitting the market soon. It’s a $400 box that has 5000 ‘movie stubs’ pre-loaded onto it. You hook it to the net and and pay per movie to watch. The ‘stub’ will start playing immediately with the rest of the movie downloading in the background, hopefully faster than you’re watching.

The movies aren’t high def, but the unit is supposed to upscale if you have an HDTV. It is capable of high def movies but they’re still negotiating the rights. You need a cable modem or better to use it. DSL isn’t fast enough, they say.

NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/06/technology/circuits/06pogue.html

You *can* buy the movie for “$15-$20″ or rent it from $2-$4 (after which you have 24 hours to watch it).

The rig uses peer-to-peer with other Vudu users. NY Times seems to consider this to be a “cool feature” but to me it’s a drawback. I don’t need my ISP barking at me because I’m uploading huge files to random strangers. And I know when I use bittorrent (at least) it sucks down every byte of bandwidth. Heaven forbid the (internet) phone should ring because I can’t use Vonage and do a P2P bittorrent transfer at the same time.

NY Times seems really bullish on this product. Me, I’m not seeing it. $400 to pay full price for movies that I could play on any of my existing DVD players?
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[source]

I still don’t get it. People think shelling out $400 to buy a piece of hardware that lets you buy more things from the people you bought the hardware from is a good deal? I mean, I get the whole ‘razors and razorblades’ thing, but $400 doesn’t feel like a bargain price for this piece of hardware. They aren’t subsidizing the cost of the thing to get it into your living room. And they’re using the bandwidth you pay for in order to service their other customers!

I really hope this gadget/service flames out, because it sets all sorts of bad precedents.



Comment:
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  • VUDU has gotten even better as they are loading more and more movies. Apple has only 500 downloads, VUDU has 5000 already going to 10,000 in 6 months. I have not had a single glitch in 60 movies. You do need broadband 3 MBPS. My carrier increased my speed at no charge (it’s a competitive market.) Once you use these guys, you feel that you will never go back to DVDs or physical media again. No going to the store, or going online to order, no mailing, no waiting 40 minutes for a download. VUDU downloads are a click and the movie starts in a second or less. It’s cool.
    Posted by on 10/05 at 10:54 AM

    To previous responder. It didn’t slow down my computer at all, unlike Apple which downloads to the computer and does slow things down. No problem here. As far as peer to peer…it’s fabulous technology, works great, and you shouldn’t ##### as long as it does the job its supposed to do. You seem to be negative without ever having used the thing. You mislead people in the wrong direction when you comment about something you never even used. You were wrong in your assumptions. I would predict that if you did use it, you’d like it. Every time I show it do people, I here “wow’s” all over the place. It is impressive and just works the way they said it would. Ken