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Vudu Plans 1,000 HD Titles, Lifetime Content-Recovery

IP-based VOD developer to launch new features at CEDIA: More HD titles, lifetime warranty on content, and HD over component video.


Soon: 1,000 HD titles
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Vudu may be battling rumors of its demise, but the developer of IP-based video-on-demand products is rolling out “some really exciting things” at CEDIA Expo 2008, according to national dealer channel manager Mark Donnigan.

Most of the features will be available (at least initially) only on Vudu’s high-end XL box, which is available through specialty A/V outlets, and not big-box retailers.

Prices for the new features have not been revealed.

CEDIANews.com has an exclusive look at the highlights:

More HD Titles

Vudu was quick to amass a large selection of downloadable movies and TV shows, but HD content has been relatively slow in coming.

“The biggest weak point is the lack of purchasable hi-def content,” says one reseller who asked to remain anonymous. “If you sell a box that holds a lot of 1080p movies, people want to collect them.  They don’t want to collect them in 480p.”

Vudu is working furiously to build its HD library.

“In a very short time we’ll have 1,000 HD titles,” says Donnigan. “That’s more than Blu-ray. We have some huge deals.”

Donnigan declined to provide details about the deals. (We assume that not all of the additional HD content will come from Vudu’s newest offering, the Adult Video Network.)

Component Video for HD

Currently, the studios prohibit component video connections from passing protected 1080p content (despite so many efforts from the CE community).

Apparently, however, they are going to make an exception for Vudu.

“We’ll have [1080p] HD over component,” says Donnigan. “This has been a much-requested feature. It’s not even available on DVD players.”

He adds that Vudu has to implement some software changes to enable the

HD

1080p-over-component solution, and of course the company has had to get permission from the studios.

Donnigan reiterates the novelty of this component capability: “No other DVD player can do it. It is not even an option with DVD players.”

[update: Originally, it was not clear that Donnigan was referring specifically to 1080p; the story has been updated to reflect his true sentiments. Myapologies for the confusion.—jj]

Lifetime Content Warranty

How would you like it if you bought hundreds of high-def movies and TV shows over the years, and your hard drive crashed or burned or otherwise erased your content for good?

If you bought the goods from Vudu, you could recover it all. The company plans to sell a lifetime warranty on purchased content.

“We know exactly what was purchased and how much was spent,” Donnigan says. “It is not a difficult thing to manage.”

Donnigan notes that the Vudu plan trumps Apple’s recently announced program to warranty iTunes downloads for one year.

Multiroom Vudu

Currently, Vudu content is locked into a single zone. Will we see multiroom capabilities soon? Vudu has no comment.

In the meantime, you can distribute and control Vudu content via the NetStreams DigiLinx, an IP-based video distribution system.



  About the Author

Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]

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