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Vudu

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vudu.com

With the rise of streaming and satellite TV networks, Video-on-demand might not be the most trending thing right now. However, Vudu does a great job of retaining its VOD users due to its vast library of content and its simplicity in operation. It distinguishes itself from other VOD service providers due to its live UI, easy-to-use interface, and provision of added benefits upon subscription.

What makes Vudu great is that it’s an online streaming service which follows a traditional VOD pattern allowing users to rent or buy movies as soon as they are available on DVD or Blu-Ray. Not just that, you can even buy or rent current TV shows without having to commit to a particular network.

History

Vudu started its journey as a set-top box manufacturer. Its success in the last decade led to its acquisition by Walmart. Since then, Vudu has become an amazing place to rent or purchase TV shows and movies. It basically works as Walmart’s primary video content distribution service. You don’t need a periodic commitment or a subscription. All you need is to sign-up by creating an account on their website and purchase or rent content based upon your preference.

It’s basically what Netflix was two decades ago. It’s seemingly following Netflix’s footsteps and in the foreseeable future, we might see them as one of the leading video content streaming giants with original content to their name.

I personally prefer Vudu as an add-on to my existing content viewing experience. Thus, if there’s a movie not available on DirecTV or Netflix, Vudu is the first website I check to see if the content is available.

Design

The blue and white color combination is simple yet effective. If you visit the website, you’ll see a header with five options on the left – Vudu (Homepage), Movies, TV, Free, and My Vudu. On the right side, you have three options – Redeem, Sign-in and a search bar.

Each of the items on the left has a small window featuring six thumbnails. If you click on Movies, you get six options – ‘Rental Store’, ‘Action Store’, ‘Holiday Store’, ‘Deals Store’, ‘Kids Store’ and ‘Horror Store’. Similarly, if you click on TV, you get six options too – ‘TV Store’, ‘DC Crossover Sale’, ‘TV Season Sale’, ‘TV Bundles Values’, ‘It’s a Wonderful Lifetime Sale’ and ‘Christmas Hallmark Sales’. The same goes for Free Category which has six thumbnails of its own and finally My Vudu which is basically your personal content library.

These content thumbnails keep changing from time to time. And I’ve got to admit that though there’s so much going on, the website doesn’t feel shabby. In my Amazon Prime Video review, I shared my dissatisfaction with the website’s interface primarily due to the content clutter. However, that’s not the case with Vudu.

Content

Movies on Vudu

Its vast content library is the first thing that appeals to you. Vudu has over 3000 titles from the 80s and 90s alone. The content selection is pretty awesome featuring the classics as well as the latest movies, freshly released on DVD and Blu-Ray. You can click on any title and can either rent or buy. I love the fact that most of the time, you even get the chance to buy these movies before their official DVD or Blu-Ray release.

Let’s discuss some of the titles, shall we?

Rental Store: IT: ‘Chapter Two’, ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’, ‘Hustlers’, ‘Hobbs & Shaw’, ‘Angel Has Fallen’, ‘Freaks’, ‘John Wick 3’, ‘Spiderman: Far from Home’, ‘The Lion King’, and ‘Stuber’. You even get well-curated collections such as Holiday Rental Favorites, In Theatres: Before the DVD.

Apart from these rental options, you can choose from six other options – ‘Pre-Orders’, ‘4KHD’, ‘Family Play’, ‘Disc + Digital’, ‘Movies Anywhere’ and ‘Collections’. Each of these categories has individual titles under it. You just have to click and you’ll go to a new page with content under that category. For instance, if you click on 4KHD, you’ll get three options – ‘Filters’ on the left to search based upon your preference along with ‘Most Watched’ and ‘Released Options’ which arranges the content as per the input.

TV Shows on Vudu

Similar to movies, TV shows are available for rent as well as for purchase. You can buy or rent an entire season of TV Shows such as ‘Fear the Walking Dead’, ‘The Preacher’, to name a few. It’s not just individual shows, but you can buy the Season Bundle as well. For instance, you can buy all the six ‘Silicon Valley’ Seasons for $69.99. Now suppose, if you just want to purchase Season 2 of ‘Cobra Kai’, you can get it for $14.99. You can even opt to buy a single episode for around $1.99.

I personally love the ‘TV Season Sale’ Category where I get to own a season for a price between $4.99 to $8.99. There are many deals across the Vudu website and you can make the most out of them especially during festive periods.

Its TV library similar to its movie library is quite vast and thus far my experience Vudu has been exceptional. There’s an entire category called “Not on Netflix”, which is a possible pain point for many users. Though the content on there is not something you’d die for, it still gives the FOMO factor.

Desktop/Mobile experience

Vudu’s interface is simple and effective. Whether you browse through the website or through the app, I’m certain that you won’t feel disappointed. Sure, it’s not as great as Netflix or Stan but for a VOD service, it’s still quite commendable. You can watch Vudu anywhere, all you need is the account from which you bought the content.

With that said – internet connection is crucial for streaming. In regards to the device compatibility, Vudu works well with not just PC or Mac but also with – Apple TV, Smart TVs, Google Chromecast devices, Roku and Video gaming consoles such as PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

One thing I’d like to point out though is that there’s no offline viewing. Thus, if your internet connection is not up to the mark, it’s simply not worth it. When you order an episode, you need to stream it on the network and don’t get to download it on your device. But that’s quite standard on the VOD network, isn’t it?

What I love about Vudu is that it has an in-built rating system that helps you check genuine reviews before spending your money. These reviews are from the Vudu community and it also features Rotten Tomatoes score (which I absolutely don’t care about). Nevertheless, I do trust Vudu reviews and I feel there’s a lot of room for improvement in data science and machine learning area. I’m saying that because Vudu doesn’t yet have its own recommendation system based upon your watching preference.

How to get the best Vudu experience?

Before you buy or rent a movie on Vudu, I’d like to share a few details which will help maximize your viewing experience. Firstly, I’d say that you should optimize your home network and stream on Vudu only if your connection meets the following internet speed standards: – When streaming 480p SD Content, you’ll need at least 1 MBPS – When streaming 720p HD Content, you’ll need at least 2.25 MBPS – When streaming 1080p HD Content, you’ll need at least 4.5 MBPS – When streaming UHD 4K Content, you’ll need at least 11 MBPS

If you don’t have the aforementioned speed, you might face little issues such as picture distortions and occasional buffering. Though Vudu is nowhere near Hulu when it comes to great streaming experience, it’s still trying its best to strengthen its foothold in the industry.

No commitment is the biggest plus

As opposed to major streaming and Cable or Satellite TV Service providers, Vudu doesn’t tie you up. It follows a simple model – View Per Purchase. So, you can either rent or buy once and watch anywhere you want.

Plans & Pricing

I might have disclosed Vudu’s plans and pricing already. But in case if you didn’t follow. Here’s a simple breakdown. Vudu packages for TV episodes are $1.99, for movies, it’s $4.99. However, there’s always some promotion which you can benefit from. For instance, when you sign-up, you can get 3 rentals for just $0.99. Also, there’s a ton of free content similar to Hotstar which you can enjoy for free.

Suggestions I have for Vudu

There are many things that Vudu can improve upon, starting with its promotion. Sure, its vast content library is its USP but given the marketing and advertising level of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, Vudu still falls short. In addition, I’d love for them to start their originals as they do have the financial backing from Walmart.

Conclusion

Vudu for me is an additional platform that I use to watch movies not available on the networks I have. In addition, I feel Vudu can be great for viewers who watch TV or movies infrequently. Thus, you can buy particular number of content and then can play it at your convenience. Though this model isn’t appealing to the new-age audience currently invested in the subscription model, you can still give it a thought on a personal level.

Likes & Hates:
You only need to pay for what you watch
Great selection of movies
Amazing compatibility with devices
Pre-order & latest content
Missing features such as closed captions
No flat rate
Comprehensively expensive
Not viable as a cord-cutting option