Retail giant Wal-Mart will now enter the internet movie delivery world currently dominated by Netflix, by purchasing Santa Clara, CA based Vudu within the next couple weeks. With the acquisition, Wal-Mart will now be in direct competition with Netflix who offers movies by mail, internet on PCs, and streaming to your HDTV.
Vudu also offers movies streaming to your HDTV, and the applications already exist within sets from LG and Mitsubishi with more manufacturers to follow. The company has deals with major studios and indies alike, providing content for its 16,000 title library which includes about 3,000 titles in its own high-definition HDX format.
Vudu is a service (also a set-top-box), that offers content a-la-cart for rent or own via its dynamic software applications, or Vudu Apps. Vudu makes movies available for purchase the day they arrive on DVD and high-definition versions are offered in 1080p, as well as 1080i and 720p. Rentals, however, still have a 30-day restriction imposed by the studios.
Vudu’s HDX format is a heavy download, demanding 4.5 Mbps for smooth delivery. However, the format which offers 1080p at 24 frames-per-second with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 is about as close to Blu-ray quality as you can get over the internet. Vudu’s 720p format requires just about half that, at 2.25 Mbps. Standard-def content will get to your TV at 1 Mbps.