updated 12:50 pm EDT, Mon April 30, 2007
Vudu Video Hub
Vudu Labs has recently provided early details of the self-titled Vudu, a networked media hub co-developed by former Apple, AT&T, and TiVo employees. The device both downloads videos directly from the Internet to the hub and eliminates the need to buffer or completely transfer videos before playing -- both limitations commonly associated with the Apple TV and similar hardware. The Vudu uses peer-to-peer technology to do this, according to the company. Similar to BitTorrent, the new box collects movie data from other systems on the Internet. This eliminates the bottleneck of centralized servers that frequently cripples cable providers or smaller services with higher costs for direct downloads.
While the performance and storage of the Vudu are yet to be revealed, the device will offer major videos in MPEG-4 format and will upscale any standard-definition footage to HD without the need to re-encode videos by hand. Controlling the device itself is equally simple, the firm adds: the remote only holds five buttons, and uses an iPod-like scroll wheel to quickly flip through content. Video and audio can be relayed to HDTVs through either a component or an HDMI connection, with audio optionally piped through an optical link.
Final details of the official launch, including a complete list of content partners, have yet to be determined. However, the company says that the Vudu should ship during the summer at a price slightly higher than the $299 of its Apple rival. [via Gizmodo]