updated 05:25 pm EDT, Tue May 3, 2011
Vudu adds TV shows for first time
Vudu chose Tuesday to throw itself into more direct competition with iTunes and Netflix by carrying TV shows. The deal gives it access to shows from ABC, AMC, Fox, HDNet, Palm, Showtime, Sony, Starz, and The CW, such as Weeds and The Walking Dead. As a paid service, its episodes will show a day after the air date rather than weeks or months like on Netflix.
Individual episodes are available by the title, but like iTunes, viewers can also buy access to a whole season and automatically download new episodes if the season is still in mid-progress. Vudu has an edge since it doesn't need permanent storage
Content is available immediately on any device that can see Vudu, such as LG and Vizio TVs, the PS3, and more recently web browsers on Macs and Windows PCs. New shows are due to arrive in upcoming weeks and months.
Vudu has been growing rapidly as a competitor in online video. The company struggled for its early history as it tried to market a service solely on its own hardware. A switch to software and a buyout by Walmart, however, quickly turned it around as it became a common choice for home theater device makers who wanted a non-subscription movie service. Adding TV shows now makes it one of the few majors to offer the option outside of Apple and Microsoft and makes it an alternative to Netflix for those who want more recent episodes.