Vudu to Offer Instant Movies
Competition is stiff. Vudu is up against video-on-demand from cable and telcos, established (barely) peers Movielink and CinemaNow, and new ventures from the well-heeled likes of Amazon and Wal-Mart, not to mention networking devices like Apple TV. The Vudu-oids hope their wide selection and instant-gratification technology will help them float to the top in these tumultuous seas.
Vudu achieves its quick startup time by downloading the beginnings of several movies pre-selected according to what it deems likely you'll want, though the exact nature of that process has yet to be publicly specified. The company is paying attention to the user interface, having kidnapped no fewer than 11 TiVo veterans.
The picture is delivered to your TV (not your PC) and is upscaled to high-def. Whether Vudu will offer true HDTV remains to be seen.
Digital rights management is the same stuff used by cable and satellite broadcasters, to the relief of the movie studios, whose confidence and cooperation are of course vital. The device may eventually be used to market TV shows, games, and music as well as movies. It may even become internalized by other video providers, such as cable or satellite companies.
The always enterprising Gizmodo people scored some pictures.