Parks Associates Blog

Monday, January 14, 2008

VUDU Box

VUDU has certainly been among the key products to watch, as the broadband video player has breathed new life into the market for delivering higher-quality Hollywood content electronically and putting it right at the TV set. I had a chance to meet with the VUDU folks at CES, and I was impressed at my first live demonstration of the service. It really was as easy as click-and-order.

They were nice enough to give me a unit to try out at home, so I spent part of the weekend getting it connected. One of the first challenges was figuring out how I was going to bridge the Ethernet connection on the back of the VUDU box with my broadband connection, since the set-top and the router aren't located in the same room. I attempted a bridge with a first-generation NETGEAR HomePlug adapter, but the VUDU box didn't pick up the signal. So, a trip to Best Buy (and $100+ later), I left with some UPA adapters from D-Link. This is the 200 Mbps solution that the folks at DS2 are touting. I tried the adapter with my laptop first to see if I could get a connection, and a bandwidth test from CNET indicated a speed north of 2 Mbps.

Connections were really easy after that. Just plug the adapter into the router and an available wall outlet and plug the other adapter into the outlet near the main entertainment center. I connected the VUDU box to the Ethernet cable, and ran through the rest of the set-up. The service is now live.

I'll be interested to try the service and see what it's like. My hope was that many of the DVD titles that are currently showing at Blockbuster would be available through VUDU (in rental form). This isn't the case with a movie such as Superbad. Although it's at Blockbuster, it's not available until January 18 from VUDU. I'm also going to be interested in seeing what a comparison between VUDU and the VoD offerings from my Verizon FiOS service are like. My gut tells me that most of what I'd want from VUDU will be available from Verizon either at the same time or shortly thereafter.

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