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VUDU and "HDX"

Started by Stanley Kritzik, Friday Oct 17, 2008, 12:16:35 PM

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Stanley Kritzik

VUDU (//www.vudu.com) is a small company that wants to be an on-line Net Flix or Blockbuster.  (I have their product.)  They have received a couple of rave reviews by NY Times writer David Pogue.  One was for their general concept and the truly neat rf remote control, and a recent one for their HDX format.

Their HDX format is 1080P with, they say, very advanced sound (I haven't tried the sound, yet.).  I have seen a one-minute sample, and the picture quality is probably the equivalent of Blu-ray.

1. Because of the volume of data, one will need to plan ahead, and order the HDX program say, an hour ahead of planned use time, whereas SD programs are ready to go immediately -- assuming cable modem speed.

2. The heavy volume of HDX data puts a load on the disk drive's capacity, and, while they say they are working on a big external add-on drive, I haven't seen it yet.  Backup is an issue, too (What happens if the hard drive crashes?).

3. So far, all HDX programs are "rent" only, whereas a number of their HD items are rent or buy.

4. VUDU's policy for rent programs are dumb -- just like Net Flix.  You have the download for 30 days, but once you start watching it, the program will disappear in 24 hours, plus an extra 24 hours for an extra $1.  I assume this is dictated by the program producers, but it's a drag.  Purchased items are yours forever.

I will say that they're heading in the right direction with HDX.  On a big screen with HDMI connectivity, what I've seen to date is excellent.  (Count the bricks in a brick wall, see blades of grass, see the hairs on a man's beard, etc.)

Oh yes, though it's not my cup of tea, VUDU has an "adult" feature one can register for.  It is hidden in some respects -- a panic push on the remote pretty well hides it, the program suspends, etc.; the hidden screens are password protected; the charges for programming are innocently worded, etc.  When they first brought the product out, "porn" was specifically excluded from their product plan, but I guess the lure of money won them over (if that's a win).  At least it's optional.