Roughly 18 months after plunking down the cash for Vudu, Walmart has finally made the streaming media service an integrated part of its web store. Fans of digital video can now stop by the discount retailer’s site and rent flicks for between $ 1 and $ 5.99 or purchase them $ 4.99 and up. The service compliments Walmart’s sizable physical media library with over 20,000 titles that can be played directly from the website, as well as on Vudu-enabled devices like connected TVs, Blu-ray players, and steaming media boxes such as the Boxee Box. If you’re a fan of companies tooting their own horn, check out the PR after the break.
Continue reading Walmart brings Vudu into the fold, still can’t stream you tube socks
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Netflix just got some more competition. Walmart launched its video streaming service today and don’t just write it off as a “me too” service. This is a serious offering.
Walmart bought Vudu 18 months ago and has slowly evolved the business. Vudu, like Netflix, is available on a number of set-top boxes, gaming systems, and media streamers. Users have access to 20,000 titles, including titles the same day they hit DVD, when used on one of these devices. The just-launched service puts Vudu streaming directly on Walmart.com for instant viewing. The Walmart.com service doesn’t seem to have access to the entire library, but there’s still a good chunk available and that might be good enough to make Netflix slow its roll.
This isn’t a subscription service. It’s on-demand with rentals available from $ 1 to $ 5.99 and purchases starting at $ 4.99. That’s the same way Vudu has always worked. Except this time it’s available directly on the website of America’s largest retailer.
This release comes just two weeks after Netflix hiked a popular plan by 60%. Vudu, even with a smaller library, has always been considered the main alternative to Netflix, and now it seems as if Walmart is ready to give it the proper support and placement to make it a true competitor.
Vudu’s movie service is already available on 300-odd set top boxes and HDTVs including the PS3 and Boxee Box, but now it can add your personal computer to the list since it will start streaming its entire catalog right on the company’s website. The Flash-based player will let customers watch movies they’ve rented or purchased like any other device, but due to licensing issues it’s limited to a maximum 480p resolution with stereo sound for now. That’s disappointing for a company that pioneered high quality 1080p streaming with its HDX format but it could help attract customers who find a rental packed in with one of their DVDs or Blu-ray discs from Walmart. There’s no word yet on plans for mobile devices, but general manager Edward Lichty confirmed to us it plans to make content accessible in “as many places as possible” so we’d expect to hear something on that front soon (but probably after the launch of premium VOD.) Until then, there’s a few more screens in the gallery and a press release after the break or you can just check out the 2.0 interface for yourself on Vudu.com once everything goes live.
Gallery: Vudu.com streaming
Continue reading Vudu starts streaming movies to the browser, but only in SD
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Ah, there we go. After a bit of a false start, Boxee’s rolling out Vudu to the Boxee Box today — you can either hold tight for the auto update in the next 24 hours, or trigger the manual update in Settings. Vudu’s offering new users who sign up on the Boxee Box a $ 5.99 credit, which is just one cent short of three $ 2-for-2-nights Vudu HDX rentals, so that’s very clever. Vudu remains Vudu — 1080p/24 video, 5.1 audio — but we’ll obviously give it a look on the Box to check it out. As for other improvements, there are quite a few; highlights include better browser performance with HTTPS support, a sorting option to ignore “the” or “a” in titles, more deinterlacing controls, a whole host of bug fixes, and quite a bit more. Not bad — we’ll let you know if we discover anything crazy. PR and the full changelog after the break.
Continue reading Vudu arrives on the Boxee Box, along with a host of big fixes
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A cryptic Tweet from Boxee points to a new firmware version rolling out in the next few hours, one that probably promises Vudu and Hulu content on what Matt calls “his favorite box.”
According to a post that’s just gone live on Boxee’s blog, users of the Boxee Box won’t see VUDU or Netflix content on their TVs until January. We know, the wait will be painful. According to the Boxee team, VUDU offerings should hit the platform as soon as next week, but Netflix won’t be made available until the end of the month. The company claims that both services are up and running in its offices, but more time was needed to “test each application to make sure they are ready for launch.” It’s nice to know where we stand, though it would have been even nicer to get more frequent updates on the status of these apps, instead of a last-minute blog post on New Year’s Eve.
Still, the post has equal touches of hopefulness for the bright future Boxee sees for home entertainment, and acknowledgment of the massive challenges the startup faces in the coming year. In their words: “As we get ready for the New Year tomorrow and CES next week, it’s clear that in 2011 we will be competing with companies that spend more feeding their employees that we have to pay ours. We’re confident though that our small team will continue to push the envelop of what people expect from their TVs.” Here at Engadget, we’re eager to see how it all plays out, but we’re definitely rooting for underdogs like Boxee who have pioneered so much of what the world is just waking up to. 2011 is going to be a crazy year!
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