The guys and gals over at Vudu must feel pretty good after getting a nice profile in the New York Times today, complete with everyone’s favourite “plucky underdog taking on the big guys” storyline. In a nutshell, the Vudu gizmo looks like an Apple TV-type box with a funky remote control, and it will reportedly launch with thousands of movies to offer from most of the major Hollywood studios (except Sony, which doesn’t like to play with others).
One of the big selling points, as I understand it from the NYT article, is that the Vudu (formerly known as Marquee and Vvond) uses peer-to-peer technology to distribute the load of serving up the movies, in much the same way that Joost does. And the first part of the movie is stored on the device so that it starts playing immediately, another nice touch. The big question, of course, is whether anyone will actually buy and/or use it. It may only be $300, but then users would presumably have to pay for the movies themselves — and based on previous models such as Movielink and CinemaNow and other dogs that failed to hunt, they won’t be cheap. Then there’s Apple TV and Amazon’s UnBox and plenty more.
I wish Vudu well. But I think that the field is getting crowded, and as Om Malik points out, the cable guys are getting smarter — and Vudu sounds a lot like video on demand, which has been held back in part by a lack of good content from the movie studios. Will they play ball by offering up the good stuff through Vudu? That remains to be seen. Rafat brings the dis.