These are the first pictures of the box, remote control and UI of Vudu, a video store in a box that is going to engage in a battle royale with Apple TV later this summer. The service will launch with thousands of movies from seven major studios as well as indie distributors, connects directly to your TV and does not require a PC or a cable box. The company, Vudu, Inc., has been quietly engineering the technology and striking deals with content owners for the past two years (under the codename Marquee). It's run by some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley. Find out more about the box, its load-sharing network, and the Apple connection after the jump.
The box is about the size of a hardcover book and delivers video streamed in MPEG-4, which is upscaled to HD. It has HDMI, composite, and S-Video ports. Vudu goes online via an ethernet cable, and the media stream is managed through a load-sharing distributed network, which should guarantee instant access to the movies without stutters. The remote control has a scroll wheel (nice touch) and appears to have just five buttons. There are plenty of open questions about Vuduâ€”like the size of the hard driveâ€”which won't get answered until closer to the launch this summer. The price is going to be competitive with Apple TV, but probably a bit more expensive.
The chairman of the Vudu, Inc. board is Alain Rossman, the guy who made it possible for you to browse the Web on a mobile device (WAP). He got his start at Apple, then founded Phone.com (now Openwave Systems), EO Corporation, and C-Cube Microsystems among others. The founder of Vudu, Tony Miranz, comes from Tahoe Networks and AT&T Bell Labs. The COO and VP of Engineering both come from TiVo. Vudu is funded by Greylock Partners and Benchmark Capital.
How will it stand up against Xbox 360, TiVo Series 3 and Apple TV? I can't wait to find out.
Vudu [Teaser Page]