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Last week, Apple took a shot at rocking the movie business by announcing that it will begin renting movies online through its Apple TV product. Standard definition movies would be $3.99 and high definition movies would cost $4.99. To make the sitation a little more tempting, it reduced the price of the entry-level Apple TV from $299 to $229.
In my earlier post (linked above), stated that Apple was getting closer to making downloading movies more attractive to the mainstream consumer, and that the Blu-ray high definition disc format would have to keep an eye over its shoulder at the impending competition.
The Vudu has dropped in price from $399 to $295.
What you may not know is that there is another company vying for your downloadable movies business by the name of Vudu. Their box (of the same name) is similar in functionality to the Apple TV, and unlike Apple's device, the Vudu can be connected to non-HDTV's. Using the on-screen display, you can rent movies from 99¢ to $3.99, purchase movies from $4.99 to $19.99. TV episodes are $1.99.
Most likely in response to the amount of press that Apple received, Vudu has announced a price reduction of their box from $399 to $295. Unlike Apple, they are offering customers who purchased a box in the last 30 days a $100 movie credit. Additionally, if you buy a Vudu now, for a limited time they are offering two HD movies for free.
The reviews I've seen of the box have been pretty favorable, but I doubt that the picture and sound quality would be up to the standard set by HD DVD and Blu-ray. We've seen in the past that many people are willing to trade quality for convenience, so it will be interesting to see what impact, if any, boxes like this will have on the marketplace.
It does serve as yet another reminder that Blu-ray better not take too much time to gain as many customers as possible in its effort to go mainstream. It may not have a very generous window of opportunity to do so before products like this present a very real challenge.
For more information about the Vudu, visit the official Vudu web site.
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