Vudu Has First Disney HD Downloads4 Jun, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey
Video-on-demand set-top company Vudu is the lucky host of Disney’s first ever download-to-own high-definition movie offerings, with 69 Buena Vista Home Entertainment titles available at launch June 4.
Vudu said it plans to offer more Disney titles in high-def in the coming weeks, and new releases will be offered day-and-date with DVD and Blu-ray Disc, Vudu said. Disney titles purchased through the system will be stored on consumers’ Vudu boxes and will be available in Vudu’s 1080p HDX format.
“Consumers are expanding the way that they acquire and watch films, and Buena Vista Home Entertainment wants to support this growing medium of digital delivery,” said Lori Macpherson, GM of North America for Buena Vista Home Entertainment.
The titles range from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy to No Country for Old Men. While newer animated fare such as Tinker Bell and Bolt are offered, Disney is not offering any of its more famous, classic animations, such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Pinocchio.
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 reported price tag of about $1,300.
In May the company announced it was offering ad-supported music videos for streaming instead of download and was looking at the possibility of doing the same with movies.
Vudu EVP Edward Lichty said his company’s consumers have shown “a strong interest in buying HD films.” However, Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for The NPD Group, said new data from his firm shows those consumers make up less than 1% of the total American movie-watching population.
“It’s positive for Vudu, but for the set-top landscape it may not mean much,” he said. “The reality is the audience is beyond tiny, and we’re still not seeing an uptake in the set-top download market.”
A complete list of the HD titles from BVHE available now on Vudu:
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Beverly Hills Chihuahua
Bridge to Terabithia
Dan in Real Life
Enemy of the State
Goal! The Dream Begins
Gone Baby Gone
Gone in 60 Seconds
Meet the Robinsons
Miracle at St. Anna
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
No Country for Old Men
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Reign of Fire
Remember the Titans
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
The Brothers Grimm
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
The Game Plan
The Great Raid
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
The Secret of the Magic Gourd
The Sixth Sense