The little black box next to my TV dispensed more of its magic this weekend. Vudu delivered a high-definition movie over the Internet, instantly and without stammering. It's an impressive feat for the online service. Delivering HD over the Internet is difficult and costly.
So far, Vudu is offering only three high-def movies—the Bourne trilogy—out of its 5,000 titles. But this makes the service all the more beguiling. Vudu already did the best job yet of simply and consistently delivering DVD-quality commercial video over the Internet. I've had the luxury of testing the Vudu service for about a month now, and I'm charmed.
Still, I'm not sure I'm ready to pay the $400 for the box. It holds the movies hostage on the one box: I can watch the flick elsewhere only if I detach Vudu and take it with me. That seems particularly limiting when "buying" a movie for $20, or $25 for the latest Bourne feature. Buying a DVD can be cheaper and a lot more flexible. Also, too many of the offerings are independent or even foreign flicks that I'd not heard of.
That said, I've not had trouble finding something to watch. And now I can, at least occasionally, even watch in glorious HD.