VUDU Wireless Kit
HDX Movies, and New Features
By Heath McKnight
The VUDU is an incredible movie download device with the highest amount of 1080p high definition (HD) movies available, more than even Blu-ray. Things have changed since last year, with the inclusion of the wireless kit, HDX movies (even better quality 1080p HD), and new features from VUDU Labs. Plus, the much lower price of $149 makes it a best buy in my book.
When I first obtained my VUDU in January 2008, the only problem I had was that my DSL modem was in my old office, a good 15 feet from the HDTV in my old living room. I found a 20 foot Ethernet cable and was able to get it to work, but I was curious about wireless options. A quick Google search turned up that people were trying third party methods with very mixed results.
Enter VUDU's Wireless Kit: it's two pre-paired 802.11g wireless adapters that you plug into your broadband modem (or router), and the other into your VUDU device. It's plug-and-play, and you're up and running in no time as I was. Now I can put my VUDU box and HDTV anywhere I want without having to bust out the extra-long Ethernet cable. Of course, speed does change the further the wireless devices are from each other, so don't expect to take it over to your neighbor's house while keep the other wireless device at yours. I was able to rent and purchase movies with the Wireless Kit without any problems. Keep in mind that many of the movies available through VUDU have the first couple of minutes of footage cached on the drive, so you can start watching instantly.
HDX: 1080p High Definition Movies
VUDU introduced even higher quality 1080p HD movies in a new format called HDX. The movies cost a little more to rent and take longer to download, but it's worth the price and time!
I rented The Dark Knight on HDX and compared it on the 42" VIZIO SV420XVT 1080p LCD HDTV (read my review, and compared it to the Blu-ray Disc (BD) version. The quality of HDX was close to BD, and I was very impressed. I wish it went to a more "full view" during IMAX-shot scenes like the BD version, but I am very happy with HDX quality. The quality remains high with SD (standard definition) and HD movies, as well.
VUDU released the free VUDU iPhone App (also compatible with the iPod touch), which allows you to browse movies or TV shows, and purchase or rent something to watch. The movie or TV show will automatically begin downloading. On your way home and stuck in traffic? Pull out your iPhone or iPod touch and rent a movie-it'll be ready when you get home.
VUDU Labs is a pretty cool new feature on VUDU. When you click on over to it, you are greeted with many choices for entertainment, including the ability to watch YouTube videos, check out photos on Flickr and Picasa, watch On Demand TV, listen to music from Pandora (this is a great new feature that I'm digging with stereo surround sound), Now Being Watched (check out what others are watching in cities around the country on VUDU with Google Maps), and some neat little games. I'd love to see even more games, if it's possible. Might VUDU video game downloads be in the future? It's just speculation on my part.
I checked out all the features within VUDU Labs and really liked the quality of some YouTube videos I found, even on the 42" VIZIO. And of course, using Pandora to jam out to some tunes was fun, too. Find out more at http://www.vudu.com/vudulabs.html.
No more stringing long Ethernet cables around to watch movies from your VUDU with the Wireless Kit, plus all the new features like HDX movies and VUDU Labs make the VUDU an even more enjoyable "core" in your home entertainment center. Visit www.vudu.com for more details plus a look at the VUDU XL and XL2, which is rack mounted.