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Vudu

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vudu.com

When it comes to the number of choices that we have available to us for watching quality television and movies on demand, things have never been better. There is no hyperbole whatsoever in saying that there has never been a better time for TV and movie viewers. Not only do we have hundreds of premium streaming options to choose from – all at different price points and with slightly different content offerings – but there are also thousands of free streaming sites and apps as well.

However, quantity does not always equate to quality. Streaming sites are far from created equal. This is especially true when it comes to free streaming sites. As you may already be well aware, there are many free streaming sites out there that are riddled with ads, to the point where watching free movies and TV shows can cease to be an enjoyable experience. Every once in a while, though, you come across a free movie and TV show streaming site that offers a truly exceptional experience.

One such free streaming site that everybody should know about, especially those of us who are looking to stream as many TV shows and movies as possible without putting a dent in our bank accounts, is Vudu. This is not just some random free streaming site that I came across while falling down a free streaming rabbit hole. Far from it. In fact, Vudu is one of the most popular free streaming services, and, according to some, it may even be considered the best free streaming site on the web.

Vudu offers a unique business model, drawing from both the traditionally ad-supported licensing of content, as well as the on-demand rental and purchasing options that people have grown to love from sources such as Amazon Prime Video. Vudu offers cord-cutters everywhere even more options for streaming high-quality movies and TV series, be it by renting or purchasing titles or streaming free movies and shows from Vudu’s surprisingly large and diverse library.

Streaming services such as Vudu really stand out these days, now that every single TV network and movie studio wants to get in on the premium streaming. With new and shiny premium streaming sites such as HBO Max and Disney Plus throwing their hats into the ring, ad-supported streaming services such as NBC’s Peacock and Vudu that offer a free or more affordable way to stream movies are gaining in popularity.

Nobody wants their monthly streaming bills to near what they used to pay for traditional cable. That defeats the purpose of cutting the cord, to begin with! Nowadays, though, with a new premium streaming service being released all the time (each of which with its own must-see shows and original movies), this is becoming more and more of a reality. With a few top-notch free movies and TV streaming services in your arsenal, though, you can ensure that you have the highest number of great shows and movies to watch without breaking the bank.

So, if you are in the market for what is arguably the best free streaming site on the market – one that has a vast library of free movies and TV shows, as well as an even larger archive of titles available to buy and rent in their media store, even if you never have any interest in paying for a single movie or episode of TV individually again, Vudu is a streaming site that you should have on your radar. I would even go as far as to say that you should add the app to your smart TV’s home screen today!

History

Vudu was founded by Tony Miranz along with Alain Rossmann (who, coincidentally, also invented Wireless Application Protocol). Although it wasn’t until April of 2007 that The New York Times reported that Vudu officially signed deals with several big movie studios and licensed nearly 5,000 films, the Vudu Box had been secretly in development since 2004.

In May of 2008, Vudu finally began selling that box in Best Buy. Prior to this pivotal move, the original box was only available from smaller online retailers. In October of the same year, Vudu also announced that it would begin streaming free movies at 1080p HD quality, originally branded as HDX.

In 2009, Vudu’s streak of fast-paced innovation continued. On February 24th of that year, Vudu became the very first on-demand streaming service to offer HD movies which users could buy, download, and own. Prior to this inventive move, movie studios only enabled users to purchase and download films in their standard quality versions. Of the many companies that now support the Vudu application, LG was the first to fully integrate the Vudu hardware into their HDTVs in August of 2009.

This hardware win, though, was relatively short-lived. Not because they were outdone, but because they quickly decided to phase out their focus on in-house hardware. On January 8th of 2010, at the Consumer Electronics Show, Vudu announced that it would be pivoting its focus toward its “rich internet application platform,” its apps, and making them available across a wide range of HDTVs and Smart TVs (and Blu Ray players).

Wal Mart came into the picture in February of 2010, announcing that it planned to acquire Vudu, as the corporate giant had been looking for a way to compete with iTunes in the digital video sales space. iTunes’ popularity resulted in Wal Marts’ previous digital video sales venture being shut down in 2007.

More recently, in February of 2020, it has been reported that Comcast intended on buying Vudu from Wal Mart. In April of this year, NBC Universal’s subsidiary, Fandango, announced that it was to be acquiring Vudu. The amount of the purchase was undisclosed, but the sale officially closed on July 6th. The service is rumored to somehow complement NBC’s Peacock streaming service.

Design

One thing that I will look forward to being upgraded once Vudu is integrated with Peacock (whatever that may entail) is a site design makeover. Don’t get me wrong; Vudu doesn’t look or function terribly. It’s far from the worst free streaming site build that I have ever seen. However, I do think that it could stand to benefit from a bit of a streamlining and aesthetic makeover. It just doesn’t look or feel like I would expect a multimillion-dollar streaming service would.

The site has clearly tried to emulate the Netflix and Hulu platform designs. It offers up numerous categories and genre distinctions, each of which has a side-scrolling menu associated with it. But titles and thumbnails are too small for my personal liking. The site could be much more interactive in dynamic, in my opinion, perhaps by allowing thumbnails to take focus or increase more in size when you hover your cursor over them. As it stands now, Vudu’s site design is uninspired, a little clunky, and a bit flat.

Content and Features

So, as I mentioned earlier, Vudu allows users to both watch thousands of free movies and TV series without a subscription fee and buy or rent titles that are not available for free. You will, however, need to register for an account before you can begin streaming content, free or otherwise.

This, of course, isn’t a huge deal; I just felt as if it were noteworthy. One design/feature move that I do appreciate about Vudu is the fact that each movie or TV series’ status is labeled atop its thumbnail. In other words, content that is free with ads is clearly indicated as such; the same is true of movies and shows that are available to rent and/or buy.

As far as content is concerned, there are thousands of classic titles here, from just about every genre there is. I strongly encourage you to go check out Vudu.com and browse the free movies and TV shows available today. I do not think that you will be disappointed!

Mobile and Desktop Experience

There may be no streaming service that is as widely available as Vudu. There is certainly no free movie and TV streaming site that has so many different apps and device capabilities, that is for sure. It might be easiest for me to just list every device on which you can use Vudu:

-iOS and Android devices

-Vizio, Samsung, LG Smart TVs

-Xbox and PlayStation

-Roku, ChromeCast, Tivo

-Sony, LG, Samsung Blu Ray players

-PC and Mac

Likes & Hates:
Thousands of movies and TV shows
Great selection of free content
Available on almost every device
No subscription fees
Site design could be better
Rental/purchasing prices a bit high