Vudu has a great library of recent hit movies. The same is true for TV shows, with many episodes available within days after they air. Vudu's picture quality is called the best of any streaming provider. But unlike Netflix, you'll pay for each Vudu video you stream and pay extra to see it in the best video quality.
All the hits, at a price. Like most video-on-demand movie streaming services, Vudu's library features lots of the latest Hollywood hits, some simultaneously with or even before their release on disc. The catch compared to subscription services like Netflix (Est. $7.99 per month) is that you must pay separately for each movie you stream.
Most movies can be purchased -- which gives you the right to stream it as often as you like -- or rented with a 24-hour viewing window, but some can be only rented or only purchased. Most streaming movies can be seen in standard definition, high definition or a format Vudu calls HDX, which delivers the best streaming picture quality of any streaming service, reviews say. Special deals as low as 99 cents per rental are always available, but expect to pay around $6 for an HDX rental of a top streaming movie title.
Lots of current shows. Like movies, you pay for each streaming TV show you watch. Shows are generally owned, not rented, and range from $1.99 in standard definition to $2.99 for HDX quality for shows from the major broadcast networks and basic cable stations like Syfy. Content from premium cable channels like HBO run a little higher. Season passes let you save a little by buying all of the episodes from one year at a time. Content includes old and current programs, with latest episodes often available within days of their original showing. Hulu Plus (Est. $7.99 per month) is certainly a less expensive way to see current TV shows, but it lacks content from some broadcast channels and most basic and premium cable channels. Hulu Plus also usually has fewer current episodes of a given show.
Vudu is everywhere. Vudu began its existence as a streaming service that relied on a proprietary and costly set-top box. Today, Vudu uses apps to stream movies and TV shows to its subscribers, and has become nearly ubiquitous. On its site, the company claims that "VUDU is available on virtually every internet-connected Blu-ray player and HDTV on the market." It's also available via a bevy of set-top boxes with the notable exception of Apple TV and Chromecast, though Chromecast support is promised in the near future. There's no support for the Nintendo Wii/Wii U, but you can stream Vudu on the latest- and previous-generation game consoles from Sony and Microsoft.
Vudu is among the movie and TV streaming services included in a survey of ConsumerReports.org subscribers. Services are ranked and rated on several key criteria, including price and selection.
Review: Streaming Media Players & Services, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, March 2012
Chris Heinonen looks at how the picture quality of three movie streaming services stacks up against the picture quality of the same movie on Blu-ray Disc. Blu-ray is still best, but if you stream, you'll find the best picture quality via Vudu's HDX format.
Review: Blu-ray vs. HDTV Streaming Services: A Quality Comparison Review, Chris Heinonen, Sept. 2, 2013
In this slightly older review, Mashable.com says that Vudu is unmatched when it comes to streaming video quality, especially content in the HDX format. However, the library is smaller than that of some competitors and the video streaming service can get expensive.
Review: 5 of the Best Streaming Media Services Compared, Christina Warren, Feb. 14, 2011