They Got Vudu

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Yes, you could be a victim of Vudu. This, though, is quite harmless.

It’s a California company with an interesting idea. Yesterday it began shipping a unit that costs $399, and which customers can use to download and watch movies over a broadband connectionat about the same time the film arrives on DVD.

You need a connection of around 3MB a second for instant access (speed can be checked on the company site). Movie rentals must be watched within 30 days and will cost between 99 cents and $3.99, while movies can be purchased for $4.99 to $19.99.

Movie downloads will begin in about three weeks, with about 5,000 available from a library of current and older work.

“At $400 we are comparable (to high-definition player prices),” said Patrick Cosson, Vudu’s vice president of sales and marketing. “We will be able to play HD content without you having to change your hardware.”

The Vudu system utilizes a mixture of peer-to-peer networking and central servers to deliver content. The peer-to-peer part helps speed content delivery, while synchronization with a centralserver ensures the download will happen even if a local Vudu box containing the information is unavailable.