Vudu starts streaming 3D movies

The 3D service is set to go into effect in the next few weeks for people with the PlayStation 3, but it's available now on Samsung HDTVs and Blu-ray players.

Don Reisinger
Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
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Vudu's streaming service is now offering 3D movies, the company announced today.

The company's 3D content is currently available to select Samsung HDTVs and Blu-ray players. It will be made available to PlayStation 3 owners in "the next few weeks," a company spokesperson told CNET in an e-mail. Vudu's 3D films are coming to devices from Vizio, LG, and others in the next few months. The service will also be made available to 3D-capable Blu-ray players from Mitsubishi and Toshiba (among others), as well as the Boxee Box by the end of 2011, the Vudu spokesperson said.

Vudu, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wal-Mart, didn't say which individual devices would work with its 3D offering, but it noted that the service would also be rolled out to "select 2011 models over the course of the year." Users have automatic access to 3D content, and won't be required to download anything to get it up and running.

The 3D content is offered in standard definition, as well as 720p and 1080p resolution at the same bandwidth requirements as 2D content. Vudu has three 3D titles available now--"Bolt," "Chicken Little," and "Meet the Robinsons"--to complement its 4,000 2D HD movies.

Users can opt to rent or buy 3D movies from the service on a per-film basis. Vudu is offering 3D 720p HD rentals for $5.99 on new releases, compared to the $4.99 it charges for 2D HD rentals. Customers need to pay $6.99 for 1080p 3D rentals. Customers who want to buy a 3D HD film will need to pay $21.99, up from the $19.99 they pay on 2D HD purchases.

Vudu was quick to point out that it's "the first [provider] to stream 3D movies directly on connected HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and entertainment systems." And by the looks of things, the company was smart to get in on the 3D push now.

Last November, Futuresource Consulting released a study that found 2011 3DTV sales could more than double 2010 figures. The research firm believed about 4 million 3DTVs would be sold worldwide in 2010. This year, it expects 5 million 3D sets to be purchased in the U.S. and 3 million 3DTVs to sell elsewhere around the world. Futuresource didn't provide figures on overall 3D use through other devices, like 3D Blu-ray players.

Updated at 10:09 a.m. PST to include more information on Vudu's 3D release.