Vudu: Early reviews of the $400 movie box

Pay for a device for the privilege of paying more to rent movies instantly. Reviews aren't as negative as you'd expect.

Farhad Manjoo
September 6, 2007 9:16PM (UTC)

Vudu, the long-in-"stealth mode" start-up that made its public debut in the New York Times in the spring, has put its wares on sale. The company makes a box -- also called Vudu -- that it wants us to think of as a personal video store in your living room. The unit sells for $400, and it lets you watch one of 5,000 movies instantly -- you either rent the movies (for between $1 and $4, depending on the specific movie), or buy ($5 to $20).

It seems like a pricey outlay, especially given the selection -- rent-by-mail services, after all, offer more than 70,000 titles -- but some of the tech reviewers who got to test the Vudu are largely impressed. CNet gives the device a 7.7 out of 10, praising its selection of new releases, its video and audio quality, and its simple setup. The Times' David Pogue praises much the same things; he's especially enamored of the quick action: "Find a movie, either by typing part of its name or by browsing the New Releases, Genres, Staff Favorites or Most Popular lists. Click past the price/confirmation screen. Start watching."


USA Today's Edward C. Baig, though, finds less to love, giving the thing 2.5 stars out of four. Baig's first Vudu had a corrupted hard drive, and a second model the firm sent him didn't work with his Sony TV.

Baig also argues that $400 is "a lot to pay for the convenience" of getting movies instantly. "Even with no subscription fees, I'm having a difficult time coming to grips with Vudu's pricing."

But if money's no object, you can pre-order yours now.

Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

MORE FROM Farhad Manjoo


Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address


Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •