What if you could condense your entire DVD collection into a single box?
VuDu, developed by a Silicon Valley start-up company of the same name, is a small box that you hook up to your DVD player, but it doesn't use DVDs. The device itself contains about 5,000 movies that you can rent or purchase, and can start watching immediately.
VuDu is being launched in stores this month, so it's too early to tell if Netflix will learn what it feels like to be Blockbuster. The device costs $400, one-time rentals range from $1-4, and purchases range from $5-20. VuDu must be hooked up to the Internet, or it can be configured to operate wirelessly.
Reviewers who have tested the system compliment the high picture quality and the simple remote control interface--just four buttons and a scrolling wheel. Also, the remote works by RF, not IR, so that the box can be kept out of sight and the remote will still work. And gratification is immediate: the movies begin playing instantly, as the first 30 seconds of every movie are on the device's hard drive.
However, some people are concerned with the movie industry's policies, where certain movies are temporarily under contract to premium cable services such as HBO, and unavailable to users. This problem is common to all types of online movie services.
But VuDu has an advantage over similar services with its wide agreements: all eight major movie studios and several independent studios have agreed to make their films available on VuDu.
Perhaps the two biggest concerns are the price and the fact that VuDu is one more box to bring home. Still, those who have tried it say it's worth it.
And maybe one day, there will be no box.