Vudu/Walmart Gets Avatar HD Streaming Exclusive
For the first time, Vudu offers "special features" that are usually reserved only for hard discs, as well as exclusive content that the other services won't get.
April 22, 2010 by Julie Jacobson

Evidently, it pays to have the highest-definition instant-streaming video capabilities (1080p/24) on the planet. Vudu –- which does –- has the exclusive on Avatar in live HD streaming. (Perhaps Walmart’s bet paid off.)

It’s available now. Vudu began streaming the movie –- not in 3D of course –- to Vudu-enabled TVs and settop boxes at midnight on Avatar’s release day.

“Most other services will have Avatar in SD but not in HD,” the company says.

PlayStation will have it in HD, but you can’t watch it instantly. You have to download it. Other than that, the company says, “No other streaming services (CinemaNow, Netflix, etc.) will have Avatar in HD on Thursday.”

Apple TV also will not be streaming it right off the bat, Vudu says.

So when will they? Friday? If so … big deal, right?

Well, Vudu claims to have some content –- called “Hardware” for those in the Avatar know –- that is exclusive to Vudu.

“These features will be free on the Vudu service for this release, as part of a promotional effort behind the release of Avatar.”

In addition, Vudu is offering for the first time the “special features” that are usually reserved for hard discs only: “With Avatar, Vudu is for the first time offering special features, promotional content that we’ve never had before.”

That’s a nice little milestone.

The price for this HD/HDX Avatar goodness is $25 and you own it. Just want the standard def? That’ll cost you $20.

A couple of weeks later, you’ll be able to rent the title.

By the way, Netflix and Redbox won’t be getting the Avatar discs until the typical 28-day waiting period, Vudu says.

Want to stay current on the Avatar matter? Visit the Vudu blog on the subject.

In the meantime: Is there anything to “Avatar” other than 3D? Guess we’ll see how non-theatrical reaction is.

That’s pretty cool ... special features via a streaming media service.

Here’s the Vudu message for its customers:

Here at VUDU, we are totally dedicated to perfecting the home cinema experience. We want you to have outstanding clarity and color in your picture, with mind-blowing Dolby Digital Plus immersive surround sound, all conveniently and instantly accessible from your couch. We want you to enjoy the movie watching experience in your living room to the absolute utmost.

And with the Avatar coming out today on VUDU (you’ll have to wait 28 days to find it on Netflix or Redbox), we thought we’d raise the bar on the VUDU experiencae even higher. First, VUDU is offering Avatar for purchase in HD and HDX, something you won’t find on iTunes or any other streaming service. So you can experience Pandora with the best on-demand A/V experience available anywhere. Secondly, you’ll notice we are offering some amazing extra Avatar content (including a VUDU exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the equipment that James Cameron invented to shoot Avatar), presented in a beautiful new layout and available for free to all VUDU users. You’ve never seen any other on-demand service present featured titles in such a compelling way, and you’ll be seeing more of this kind of stuff from us in the future.

And keep in mind, when you buy a streaming title from VUDU, it’s stored in the cloud, and you can watch it on any VUDU-enabled device that is attached to your VUDU account.

So what do you think of our new look presentation and free extra content?

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Julie Jacobson - Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

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