Vudu, Inc. is an American content delivery and media technology company responsible for Vudu-branded interactive media services and devices. Vudu distributes full-length movies and TV shows to internet-enabled devices in the United States of America. Vudu was acquired by Walmart in March 2010.
|Founded||25 November 2004|
|Services||Video content delivery|
|Footnotes / references|
Vudu was founded on January 1, 2004. It began by only making its own set-top boxes (the Vudu Box and the Vudu XL), but Vudu now primarily markets its software as a smart TV/connected TV platform and video on demand (VoD) distribution service to third-party consumer electronics devices. Vudu is also available via PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, iPad, Android TV, Apple TV (4th gen and 4K), TiVo Roamio, and Roku devices, as well as most smartphones via the Vudu app (Android and iOS) which also supports Chromecast use. As of December 2011, the Vudu app within the downloadable version of the Boxee media player is no longer supported, due to DRM and certification requirements.
Movie delivery and storage via Vudu BoxEdit
Vudu Box requires a home broadband Internet connection to deliver movies. Users are given the option of watching a selected movie now or watching it later. The first couple of seconds of every movie within the catalog are loaded onto the Vudu Box's hard drive, ensuring instant playback when the user chooses to watch a given film. The remainder of the movie is delivered to the box via an exclusive peer-to-peer network. This process begins instantaneously while the user views the loaded portion of the movie, allowing for seamless viewing. The movie then finishes downloading to the box's hard drive. Users are able to set the amount of bandwidth the box uses, with settings at 1 Mbit/s (Delayed movies), 2 Mbit/s (Instant standard-definition movies), and 4 Mbit/s (Instant high-definition movies).
Digital locker integrationEdit
In 2012, Vudu began partnering with the movie-industry-backed UltraViolet system, to offer users a digital locker as well as digital versions to some DVDs and Blu-ray discs purchased in retail stores.
Vudu is currently one of only two U.S. streaming providers to be compatible with both UltraViolet and Movies Anywhere, the successor to DMA.
On January 30, 2019, Variety reported that Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) would shut down UltraViolet on July 31, 2019. They mentioned that users connect to at least one major retailer, like Vudu, who have continued to support UltraViolet redeemed streaming rights after the service has been shut down.
Movies are encoded in the MPEG-4 video codec and utilize various forms of Dolby Digital audio. Vudu offers movies in three formats: standard-definition or SD (480p), HDX (1080p), and UHD (4K). Prior to 2017, Vudu also offered 720p versions and playback in between SD and HDX with different pricing, but was dropped shortly before UHD was being introduced. SD titles are up-scaled to higher resolutions depending on the player or max resolution of the display. The majority of titles can be output at 24fps depending on the display or device used for playback. Audio on SD titles and streams are restricted to Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0 configurations, while most titles HDX or greater utilizes Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 or 2.0. Vudu offers Dolby Atmos audio with select UHD titles and recent releases. Audio is limited to stereo playback on HTPC/PC/Mac platforms. Depending on the playback device as well as the display type and resolution, users can adjust video to display in stretched, boxed, or zoomed format as well as adjusting overscan settings.
As of June 2019, Vudu's selection contains over 24,000 titles in their catalog and over 8,000 television shows, making them one of the largest streaming providers of its kind. Titles range from major motion pictures, independent films, documentaries, children's programming, anime, musicals, recorded musical performances, cartoons, and television series. Vudu has established content licensing contracts with all major movie studios as well as over 50 smaller and independent studios. In late 2016, Vudu rolled out a Free With Ads category of several titles for users of the service. Title selection changes month by month with films licensed from major studios such as Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, and Warner Bros., along with titles from independents such as Cinedigm, Filmrise/Screen Media, Kino Lorber, Magnolia Pictures, RJL Entertainment, and others.
Movies are available to rent in standard-definition, HDX, and UHD formats. A rented title can be stored on the Vudu Box for 30 days before being watched. Once a user begins watching a rented title, they have a 24 or 48-hour rental period to finish. After this period, the rental is expired but can be extended for a discounted price. In Vudu's early years, the majority of movies and television shows were only available for purchase in standard-definition format only. This policy was consistent with studio standards and other digital retailers concerning digital purchases and rights management. Currently, most movies and TV shows are available to purchase in HDX format when available, while a growing number of titles are becoming available to own in 4k UHD format. On February 25, 2010, to comply with the policies of its parent corporation, Vudu discontinued operating the AVN After Dark channel which provided users with adult movies.
HDX and TruFilmEdit
Vudu is capable of downloading and playing movies in HDX format, a format created by Vudu which encodes most titles in 1080p HD at 24 frames-per-second. Vudu utilizes the H.264 (MPEG-4 Part 10) encoding process along with proprietary encoding techniques dubbed TruFilm. TruFilm is composed of four main technologies designed to maximize the H.264 encoding standard:
- Psychovisual Processing: Designed to dampen and eliminate artifacting and pixelation commonly seen in areas of dark sky and water in movies by utilizing a constant algorithmic and visual check, then flagging these sections to be re-encoded. See also Psychophysics and Subjective video quality.
- Film Grain Preservation: A process which maintains the slight imperfections that the director of the movie decided to leave in the final film. Vudu makes multiple encoding passes over the original film, allowing the final encoded product to contain the original film grain.
- Statistical Variable Bitrate: Ensures optimal video quality throughout the film by allocating a higher encoding budget to high detail and high motion segments of the film, while conserving the budget during slower sequences. With peaks as high as 20Mbit/s and as low as 2 Mbit/s, this process allows for the highest possible video quality streaming over a broadband Internet connection.
- Color Gradient Processing: A unique technology used to tune the picture for optimal display on modern LCD and plasma televisions vs. an older CRT television.
This technology is similar to the encoding methods of MPEG-2, MPEG-4-AVC, and VC1 for Blu-ray Disc. However, the bitrate for a TruFilm encode at 1080p HDX hovers around 7-16Mbit/s, which is far less than the 20-44Mbit/s rate Blu-ray Discs typically use.
4k UHD TruFilm
Vudu's 4k TruFilm uses methods similar to the Ultra HD Blu-ray format. It supports 4K UHD resolution at frame rates up to 60 frames per second encoded using High Efficiency Video Coding, also known as HEVC or H.265. TruFilm 4k uses the Rec. 2020 color space and supports 10-bit color modes such as HDR and Dolby Vision, which display greater color gamut than supported by 1080p video with Rec. 709. While UHD Blu-Ray disc can have high bitrates of 82-128Mbit/s, 4k TruFilm encodes are typically at 20-50Mbit/s depending on connection strength, which still lacks in image quality compared to UHD disc. Audio on 4k titles is presented in Dolby Digital Plus or Dolby Atmos. 4k playback on Vudu is only possible with a HDCP 2.1 certified 4k display, and a 4k compatible device with a HDCP 2.1 certified HDMI cable.
Vudu Internet and mobile applicationsEdit
Vudu Internet applications have been developed using Vudu's rich Internet application platform that allow users access to online content. Via the Vudu Box, users can access and watch videos, view photos on Flickr and Picasa, and play casual games. Vudu Internet applications also contain access to on-demand television shows, some of which are available in HD. In May 2009, Vudu partnered with Brightcove to bring ad-supported content to the Vudu Box. The first application available from the partnership is the ability to watch Sony music videos through the MyPlay service.
Vudu allows users to explore the catalog in a multitude of ways. Users are able to search by movie title or actor or director name. Users can also browse through genres and add filters to the results to narrow down their results. Users are able to select a genre or multiple genres together and add a filter such as a critic's rating, release date, and whether the movie is available for rent or to purchase. The Vudu system also links the directors and casts of movies together, similar to IMDb, allowing a user to see all of an actor or director's movies available on Vudu.
Vudu was founded by Tony Miranz and Alain Rossmann (the creator of WAP). The Vudu Box had been secretly in development since 2004, but on April 29, 2007, The New York Times revealed that Vudu had signed deals with many movie studios and independent distributors to deliver access to nearly 5,000 films.
On February 24, 2009, Vudu became the first on-demand service to offer high-definition movies for download to own. Prior to Vudu allowing users to purchase high-definition movies, studios only allowed their films to be purchased in standard-definition format. LG was the first to integrate Vudu into its HDTVs, with access beginning in August 2009 though the TV's NetCast application.
On January 8, 2010, (the second day of Consumer Electronics Show 2010), Vudu announced it was no longer shipping its set top boxes and would provide its service to select HDTVs and Blu-ray players from LG, Magnavox, Mitsubishi, Samsung, Sanyo, Sharp, Toshiba, and Vizio. The company also announced its Vudu Apps platform for delivering internet services including embedding Wikipedia links in its movie descriptions
Vudu became the official sponsor of the 2017 WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view event on January 29, 2017.
Following the General Data Protection Regulation in June 2018 the site is no longer accessible from the EU.
Set top box features (2007–2010)Edit
The Vudu Box was capable of connecting to standard-definition (SD), enhanced-definition, and high-definition (HD) televisions. The box connected to a television by HDMI, component, S-Video, or composite video cables. An HDMI cable and a composite video and analog stereo cable were included; any other connections must be provided by the user. Audio was provided through HDMI, digital coax, digital optical ports, or stereo analog. The box connected to the Internet through an Ethernet port with the provided Ethernet cable. Wireless was not supported directly from the player but Vudu offered an optional wireless kit for purchase using 802.11g and 128-bit WEP security encryption.
The Vudu Box was separate from both a computer and cable/satellite television system. A user must only provide a broadband Internet connection to use the service. Users do not pay a monthly subscription fee; instead they add a selected amount to an online account which is depleted depending on how many movies the user rents or purchases. Users can purchase and rent movies via the set-top box or through the company's website.
Movies were stored on the box's hard drive. The Vudu Box was capable of storing about 50 purchased films in standard-definition format. There was no limit for film rentals. Vudu also allowed for the remote "archiving" of purchased movies.
Vudu made an XL version of the Vudu Box. The XL featured one terabyte of storage, which can store approximately 500 standard-definition movies. The XL features technology typically used for home automation and is designed for use in home theater systems.
The Vudu remote control features five buttons and is designed to fit in the palm of either hand. Users browse through the menus using a scroll wheel which doubles as a button for making selections. The scroll-wheel is also used to move through movies similar to fast-forward and rewind. The remote also provides a play/pause button, a back button, a more button, and a Vudu button which takes users to the main Vudu screen. The provided Vudu remote uses radio frequency, allowing the user to control the Vudu Box without having to point the remote directly at the box. Using off the shelf external Infrared dongles a Vudu Box can be integrated into a universal IR remote.
- TV Compatibility: High-definition (HD), Enhanced-definition (ED), Standard-definition (SD)
- Display Resolution: 1080p/24, 1080i, 720p, 480p, 480i
- Video Outputs: HDMI v1.1, Component, S-Video, Composite
- Audio Outputs: HDMI v1.1, Digital Optical, Digital Coax, RCA
- Dimensions: 2.4 × 8.9 × 7.3 in
- Weight: 4.2 lb (7.5 lb packaged)
- Connectivity: Ethernet, 2 USB ports
- Remote: RF (22 ft range)
- Availability: United States only 
On October 10, 2018, it was announced that MGM and Walmart's streaming service Vudu were developing a television adaptation of Mr. Mom (1983), which will serve as a continuation of the film following an adult Megan Butler heading back into the workforce while her husband takes over the parental duties of their two children. The series will serve as the first original series for the streaming service and will star Andrea Anders and Hayes MacArthur as Megan and Greg Anderson respectively, with the series set to premiere on September 12, 2019.
Vudu is licensing original content created by MGM and others, for distribution via a free, ad-supported streaming service operated by Vudu. TechCrunch reported on October 8, 2018: "the focus for now will be on short-form originals that will debut on Vudu’s 'Movies On Us' service". "Movies on Us", which debuted in October 2016, "was Walmart’s first foray into ad-supported free streaming [...] and today includes 7,000 movies and TV shows that consumers can watch for free, interrupted by the occasional ad break. It complements Vudu’s rental and purchase library of 180,000 films."
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