5 Reasons The New Vudu Movie Service Is DOA

Apr 29th, 2007 | By | Category: Digital Video Downloads, Digital Video Recorder, Internet TV, Streaming Video, Video, Video Podcasts, Vlogs


The New York Times has a breathy overview of Vudu, a new set-top box that lets users download and view on their TV any of 5,000 movies. The selling point for the device is its speed, which, according to reports, uses P2P technology to allow almost immediate viewing.

“This is something that is going to alter the landscape, boasts Tony Miranz, Vudu’s founder. “We are rewriting economics.”

Here’s what the NYT has to say about the new device:

If Vudu succeeds, it may mean goodbye to laborious computer downloads, sticky-floored movie theaters and cable companies  much narrower video-on-demand offerings. It may even mean a fond farewell to the DVD itself – the profit engine of the film industry for the last decade.  “Other forms of movie distribution are going to look silly and uncompetitive by comparison,” Mr. Miranz asserts.

While the NYT may be excited about the Vudu, it looks to us it could be dead on arrival. Here’s why….

5 Reasons The Vudu Is DOA

  • The company has enough startup capital to emply 41 people, yet it doesn’t have the net & marketing smarts to secure the Vudu domain name, which belongs to Seattle, WA media guru Pete Helvey. If you’re looking for Vudu – Pete says “Howdy!”
  • It’s competing directly with Apple and Microsoft with an offering that doesn’t do a fraction of the things that the Apple TV or the XBox 360 do.
  • It’s not cost-effective. You’d have to save a lot of money on DVD purchases to justify the $300 cost of a Vudu. For most people, buying DVDs is cheaper and offers more content than digital movie downloads.
  • It’s all about on-demand digital movies, which haven’t found a market yet, and ignores one of the fastest-growing areas of content on the Web, video podcasts and Internet video. Microsoft’s Zune portable media player has demonstrated what happens when you introduce a digital media device that isn’t designed to work with Internet media – the all-important first movers stick with more capable devices.
  • It’s a closed, single-platform system. People want to watch movies on their TVs, but they also want to watch them on their laptops and portable media players. Apple’s iTunes system already lets you play movies on iPods, your computer and on your television, so any system that wants to compete needs to have equal capabilities.

There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity in the world of digital video. The video capabilities of the XBox 360 and Apple TV are far from ideal, and there’s plenty of room for innovation in this area.

Unless the Vudu can deliver innovation that leapfrogs the current capabilities of Microsoft and Apple’s offerings, though, it’s a device that’s dead on arrival.

4 Responses to “5 Reasons The New Vudu Movie Service Is DOA”

  1. Tessa says:

    I definitely agree with these “5 Reasons it will fail.” I was thinking of them while reading that very “breathy” review, and you summed them up quote nicely. No podcasting support? No photos? No music? Why would I want this again?

    The Apple TV does way more. And, it has gotten its own fair share of “breathy” reviews. Shelly Palmer’s was pretty solid, over on Media 3.0:


  2. Patrick says:

    Oops he did it again !!! Vudu will not make it. Apple TV is born.

    “Big slap do wap” …! Playing voodoo with customers, is wrong Dude !

    Snob creativity once again failed to provide the right product…

    Can you spare a dime for those poor too much blind self-centered investors who spent millions for an unborn product ?


  3. Adrian M says:

    After almost 2 years it still exists and now in dec 08 there is nothing better out there. period!
    Apple tv remote and response time of the remote stink, ROKU relies on Netflix variety (stinks as well).
    Quality has it’s price and VUDU is quality. i only compare it to renting Blu Ray from Blockbuster.
    You get your movie instantly and you pay 1 dollar less.
    There is nothing like VUDU out there.

  4. Rich M says:

    Five Reasons Why This Blog Post is B.S.:

    1. Domain names don’t mean anything. Even blue chip companies have been temporarily thwarted by domain squatters. Oh and by the way, type in Vudu.com and guess what, you get the Vudu’s website.

    2. My Xbox 360 and Apple TV can’t play a 1080p current release in the minute I want to watch it. Neither has 13,000 movies, and neither can save me a trip to the video store, or a 3 day wait for Netflix.

    3. The box is $149.00. In 9 months I’ll have paid for my box by canceling my Netflix account. If I rent movies at the same pace, I will break even in a year.

    4. On demand movies is a market now that it’s 2009. Read the newspapers. All of the players are vying for it. If you want the internet, Vudu does YouTube, Flickr and more. See Vudu Labs

    5. You can control your Vudu with your iPhone or iPod Touch. Remote viewing is sure to follow, but I don’t want to watch theatrical movies on my handheld. Only losers want to do that. I have a home cinema to watch my movies in.

    6. it’s only a matter of time before Vudu works out a deal with Studios to allow 1st week viewing of a films simultaneous release (to theaters) for $50 bucks.

    7. It’s been almost two years since your article and Vudu is still running. In fact, I became a subscriber this week. This is one of the best purchases I have made. And installation went off without a single hitch. This is a first class product for $149.00!

    8. You’re gonna admit you were wrong and buy the box.

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