Vudu is thinking outside the box--literally. The company's 14,000-plus movie library will soon be available on Entone set-top boxes and DVRs. A software upgrade on the Entone units will effectively add the entire functionality of the
While you may not have heard of Entone, the company supplies set-top hardware to smaller regional telephone-company-video providers. Many of those providers may have lackluster (or nonexistent) video-on-demand offerings, so Vudu's library--which includes about 1,500 high-definition movies as well--offers a worthwhile added value to consumers.
For Vudu, the deal represents the first time the company's content will be available on third-party hardware. Vudu has cut the price of its entry-level box to just $149, but having its pay-per-view content available to a much wider audience--including TV viewers who don't need to invest in any new up-front hardware purchases--is the first step for the company to transition from a box manufacturer to a service provider. Like Netflix, Amazon Video-on-Demand, or Rhapsody, Vudu could start showing as a supported feature in the increasingly long list of network-enabled consumer electronics--everything from TVs and Blu-ray players to home theater systems and game consoles.
Compatible Entone set-top boxes are scheduled to get the Vudu upgrade sometime this summer. A representative for Entone said that it should include the entire gamut of features available on the existing Vudu hardware, including thefeatures that include access to YouTube and Flickr.