Vudu has been working its way into the movie set-top box arena for a couple of years now. Recently, they began working to embed the player into hardware (similar to what Netflix and Amazon VOD have done). CRM has a few titles on Vudu, such as Google Me, The Auteur, and Happy Birthday Harris Malden. It’s a great product, especially for HD movies. They have an impressive library of new release offerings, as well as classic titles. Over in another realm of retail is Wal-Mart, who has been thus far unsuccessful with launching their own versions of Netflix and iTunes stores. They’ve tried to no avail, but that could change if the rumors about a possible acquisition of Vudu, prove true. It would be a very smart move on the part of both companies, in my opinion, as it adds tremendous scale for Vudu and a tested platform for Wal-Mart. Peter Kafka at AllThingsD has more about the possibilities:
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Vudu has raised at least $21 million from Benchmark Capital and Greylock Partners. I’m told that when the company was marketing itself last fall, it was looking for a sale price of $50 million or more. But it may not have much leverage to command a premium.
Vudu started out by marketing an Internet-connected box that consumers plugged into their TVs, but that offering seemed to underwhelm customers (as well as All Things D’s Katie Boehret). It is now focused on building that technology directly into TVs and Blu-ray players and marketing itself as a Netflix-like service.
The company’s supposed strengths are a video compression technology that makes it feasible to stream movies in high definition and a peer-to-peer architecture that cuts down the cost of delivering large files.