Looks like Vudu might survive after all. The Internet streaming box that we've grown to love just got a big brother, the Vudu XL2. It's wide enough to mount on a professional rack, but its innards are similar to the latest Vudu XL — meaning that there's a honking terabyte-sized drive inside for storing plenty of HD movies.
This pricier Vudu is only available via home theater installers, those glorified cable TV guys who have a reputation for charging double for everything — and their customers inexplicably like it that way. We paupers like the look of this $1300 premium box, but for our tastes, we'll stay with our $300 (and on sale, $200) Vudu that fits nicely alongside an Apple TV and Roku Netflix box, all three on the same shelf.
Overall, though, we think Vudu is on the right track. Its HDX movie quality is right up there with 1080p Blu-ray discs, and the selection of movies offered for rent or sale is almost in the acceptable range. It's easy to use and the build quality of its box and remote is the best we've seen. We bristle at the $6 rental price of the HDX movies, when you can get the same Blu-ray version of that movie in the mail from Netflix for a fraction of that, but hey, you must pay dearly for instant gratification. See the press release for more details:
VUDU DEBUTS MOST ADVANCED ON-DEMAND BOX EVER
Available Exclusively Through Professional Home Theater Installers, 1U Rack-Mountable Box Features Aerospace-Grade Aluminum Bezel, On-Demand Access to More HD Titles Than Any Other Service
Santa Clara, CA - Nov. 18, 2008 - VUDU debuted today the VUDU XL2, a new Internet movie player designed specifically for professional home theater installations that demand the highest quality picture and a product that occupies just one rack unit (1U) of space.
In addition to providing access to hundreds of titles in VUDU's proprietary HDX format and with the largest HD library available on-demand, the XL2 will allow the most discerning home theater owners to
choose from more than 10,000 titles for instant viewing. The exterior of the new rack-mountable VUDU XL2 sports an aerospace-grade aluminum bezel that features a glowing VUDU logo. Inside, the XL2 is built from the highest quality components, delivering the best picture available.
"The introduction of the XL2 reflects our unwavering commitment to the custom installation market," said Tony Miranz, Executive Vice President, Sales and Business Development, VUDU, Inc "VUDU XL2 is designed for easy and secure integration into rack-mounted systems and delivers the world's largest HD library as well as the highest-quality on-demand 1080p HD making VUDU XL2 an installer's weapon of choice."
Designed from the ground up to seamlessly integrate into custom theaters, the XL2 offers a terabyte of storage, enough to store more than 500 films at your fingertips. XL2 also offers IP and IR control that allow it to b integrated into most high-end home control systems, 1080i HD output over component, and the ability to route and switch HD signals through the home with the use of off-the-shelf video switchers.