Not buying the VUDU because the $399 price is too expensive for a box that only allows you to pay more to download content? Well then, you’re even less likely to buy the VUDU XL. The ‘XL’ quadruples the capacity from 250GB to 1TB, but it also bumps the price 2.5x to $999. It will be available in February. Remember that at this time you cannot re-download purchased movies from VUDU, as you can with other services like Amazon Unbox. All your eggs are in one basket, the XL is a bigger, more expensive basket.
I still say download services like this should be incorporated into other devices – as Unbox is on TiVo and Netflix is doing with LG – or, failing that, the hardware needs to be dirt cheap. How about a $99 VUDU box with minimal internal storage and the ability to delete and re-download purchases, and support for external drives to allow people to bring their own storage. $99 would get the box into more homes, and those who really use it will add-on storage.
On the up-side, VUDU is also adding 70 more HD films in January. Instant HD playback requires a broadband connection of 4Mbps or greater. That would make me nervous – 4Mbps is extremely low for HD streams, even using 720p and H.264 or VC-1. You really have to over-compress HD content to squeeze it into 4Mbps.