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Mitsubishi Offers Free Vudu Box with HDTV Purchase

13 Jul, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Bucking industry trends, Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America beginning July 16 will include a Vudu HD set-top box and $50 in movie credits with the purchase of a high-definition television.

A Mitsubishi spokesperson confirmed the $200 value endorsement and said it would run through Aug. 10.

Vudu has relationships with every major studio and more than 50 independents, with a library of more than 16,000 movies and TV episodes. Nearly 2,000 of those are available in high-def. Rentals from the service start at 99 cents, TV episode downloads start at $1.99 and movie download-to-own options begin at $4.99, running up to around $20 for a new release.

Vudu’s three 1080p movie players, the BX100, XL and XL2, display movies in 1080p resolution at 24 frames a second and upscale standard-resolution films. The low-end BX100 sells for $149, while the XL goes for $499. The XL2 has a price tag of about $1,300.

Many consumer electronics retailers have been including Blu-ray Disc players with the purchase of a similar brand big-screen, flat-panel HDTV or home-theater system.

In Southern California, Ken Cranes recently included a Sony BD player with BD Live with the purchase of a Sony Bravia 52-inch HDTV.

Frank DeMartin, VP of marketing with Mitsubishi, said the CE manufacturer opted for a Vudu valu-add over a BD player as point if differentiation from the competition.

“Blu-ray player [giveaways] seem to be the norm and we thought we would do something different,” DeMartin said. “The Vudu service is certainly a compelling on-demand platform with 1080p [resolution] movies and a comprehensive library, so we thought, ‘why not?’”

DeMartin said dissemination of movies from the Internet to the TV remains a work in progress over the next several years, in addition to how consumers embrace it with the burgeoning stream of Web-enabled media devices hitting the market.

“There really aren’t a lot of choices right now,” he said.

The executive said Mitsubishi chose Vudu over Netflix’s Roku-manufactured video player due to the former’s ability to stream high definition content.

“The Netflix offering is very limited in terms of its [picture resolution] quality and available titles,” DeMartin said. “There are not a lot of new releases. Vudu has the best solution right now. We thought it was timely.”



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