State of the Art – Vudu Lives (Outside the Box)

By Stuart Goldenberg for The New York Times

We like to think of ourselves as rational creatures. But if that’s true, why do we eat stuff we know isn’t good for us, fall for people who treat us badly and text while we drive?

And for heaven’s sake, why is the movie industry so determined not to make money? Hollywood executives seem determined not to sell what the world really wants: any movie, any time.

DVDs are “any movie,” but not “any time.” Movies from the Internet are “any time,” but not “any movie,” thanks to the industry’s self-defeating system of rights and availability windows. (You know: a movie plods first to hotel rooms, then pay-per-view, then airplanes, then DVD.)

Netflix offers a solution in two halves: recent movies by mail, old movies from the Internet.

But if you want recent movies on demand (legally), the best bet has been Vudu, a set-top box that connects to the Internet. You can watch any of its 16,000 movies and TV episodes instantly on your TV.

Vudu gets movies the same day they arrive on DVD. The quality is much better than on Netflix, pay-per-view or any other Internet service; you can get high definition–the high-end 1080p kind–and even surround sound. And there’s no monthly fee; you pay only when you watch a movie ($1 to $7, depending on the age and the quality level you choose). For busy people, that’s far more economical in the long run.

But there was one small problem with the Vudu box: nobody’d ever heard of it, nobody bought it and the future looked bleak.

Last month, Vudu revealed its new business plan, which boils down to this: It’s a feature, not a box.
Read the full article in Personal Technology http://www.nytimes.com

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