2/26/10 Walmart to acquire VUDU
This is so funny. All of a sudden I got a bunch of IM pings and email from ex-VUDU people asking me if I had heard about “it” yet…. What was “it”?
That turned out to be the BIG news that Walmart is buying VUDU, lock, stock and barrel! I guess VUDU will survive with Walmart’s muscle behind it… or will it? I just don’t think Walmart is a risk taking company, nor do I think that it is innovative. I would love to be proven wrong though.
There are so many companies now in this space. The space itself is getting fragmented. We have:
- Server based video streaming over Internet – this is divided into those requiring a box/appliance vs those streaming to your computer. Some provide services to both (Amazon, Blockbuster, Netflix, etc.).
- Require Appliance
- Stream to computer
- Require Appliance
- Video streaming OTA (Over The Air)
- Video streaming over cable (traditional like Comcast, Charter, Time Warner, etc.)
- Video streaming over satelite (Dish, DirecTV, etc.)
I believe VUDU is getting out of the hardware business. They’ve shifted their focus to the embedded business. VUDU set top box is getting harder to find from what I hear on the web. VUDU have also announced a number of embedded wins — Entone STB, LG (BD Blue Ray and HDTVs), Mitsubishi HDTVs.
It make sense to me. I’ve always thought it was dumb to try to break into the consumer hardware business when you don’t have the deep pocket to keep you going through the first few years. It’s better to license the designs and software.
Dec 4, 2009
It has been confirmed that VUDU is out of the hw business. They’ve closed off their production facilities and stop selling new STB (you might be able to find places that still have stocks, but once they are out, that’s it!).
They’ve gone to the embedded model. Also seem to be changing from P2P to streaming as the embedded devices generally frown on P2P. On one hand, it’s good because of less infrastructure to maintain on the VUDU side, also less support (P2P has a whole host of issues with regards to firewall, home routers, etc. not to mention blocking by ISPs such as Comcast). On the con side, this requires the clients to have higher bandwidth.
Btw, less infrastructure for VUDU because they can use CDNs such as Akamai, Limewire, etc. It’s harder to distribute to CDN with P2P, trust me, it’s harder. When I was there, I was looking into how to do this…. and it was not easy.
So, keep your eyes out for VUDU to be embedded in more devices. At this point, I can’t decide if VUDU has done enough to save whatever market they have or if it’s too late. I’ve just bought a WD TV Live (media center device) that let’s me play pretty much any video formats out there, along with music and in HD to boot. I’ll have more to talk about regarding the WDTV in another post.