Vudu is adding some free video content to its set-top box. Streaming video from providers such as YouTube, MSNBC, CNN, MTV, PBS, and National Geographic will be available, as will access to Flickr and Picasa photos and a handful of casual video games. The new content will be available via a free firmware update that's scheduled to hit all Vudu boxes over the next 24 hours.
The new services will be available as part of what Vudu is calling the Rich Internet Application platform, or RIA. (It'll be available on a tab called "Vudu Labs" on the set-top box's main home screen.) Vudu hasn't signed deals with any of the above-mentioned content providers; instead, the RIA is using freely available Web content and feeds. Vudu is planning to open up its RIA platform to third-party developers in the first half of 2009. The company is also noting that the platform is optimized for fairly low system requirements ("a 300 MHz embedded processor with 128MB of RAM"), suggesting that the Vudu Rich Internet Application platform could be ported to other set-tops as well.
Vudu gave CNET a sneak peek of the RIA features a few days early. We think it shows promise, but--as always--content is king, and there's not yet a wealth of must-see TV there.… Read more