New Device Could Make DVDs Obsolete

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.

Lisa Zyga
Science Blogger


Sep 20, 2007
by Anonymous (not verified)

rent is too expensive

They will die within a year

Sep 21, 2007
by Justin (not verified)

Lame concept...

How would I bring a movie to a friends house for movie night? How would I borrow a movie from a friend? How would I bring a video with me when I travel? How would I watch a video in my SUV? How would I sell my old movies that I do not want anymore? Even if I paid $25 for a DVD, I might be over it in 2 years and selling it for $5-10 online or at a bookstore. At least I would be getting "something" back (even $5). Why do we need to be technologically r@ped? So corporations can monopolize the market? Ef that!

Sep 27, 2007
by windknots (not verified)

A friend works at this

A friend works at this company and I've actually had a chance to try this.  Once it's in your hands it just sucks you in, you almost immediately end up finding something you are interested in watching.  I think it's a huge advantage that it is independent of any PC platform,  I have no interest in using anything that depends on microsoft any other pc for that matter, they don't have any incremental benefit to offer, just compatibility nightmares, bugs, and crashes.  As for the apparent limited hard drive storage for movies I think that's pretty much a buggy-whip issue, I don't see a great deal of value in owning movies, there are very very very few that I watch more than once, and if they just cost a few dollars to pipe into my home the instant I feel like watching them that's a better deal for me.  Plus if you have 100 movies that you watch 5 and 6 times over that's somewhere on the order of 1000 hours of time you have committed to watching those movies.  Hello, get a life.  Or at least broaden your horizons with a little cinematic variety in those 1000 hours. 

I liked the simple navigation, the ability to surf titles, actors, genres, directors and the immediacy of the experience.  Want it now? You can watch it now.  As for the hardware price tag, this is similar to the squeezebox.  I had some reservations about buying a squeezebox and dropping a few more dollars for a Pandora subscription but once I did it revolutionized audio for me and there's no looking back.

 I have a home theater system that will work perfectly with this, I'm looking forward to getting one of these, it will save me a lot of trips to the post office (netflix) or walks to Blockbuster (when someone wants to watch something other than what I happen to have in a red envelope).