Vudu Movie Streaming Service Overview

Vudu's Online Video Streaming App Brings High Quality Movie Streaming to Your TV

Official VUDU Streaming Service Logo
Official VUDU Streaming Service Logo. Image provided by VUDU

Introduction To Vudu

Vudu is an online video streaming service owned by Walmart. Vudu provides access to movies and TV shows and movies in an on-demand (pay-as-you-go) system. In other words, instead of a monthly subscription platform, like Netflix and Hulu, Vudu requires users to pay for each TV show or movie viewed.

Vudu offers a large library of movie and TV titles that may be rented and streamed to many network media players, media streamers, Smart TVs PCs and other devices that can access the Vudu App.

Also, if you don't have a media streamer or Smart TV, another way to access Vudu is with the Vudu Spark HDMI plug-in device. This device works in a similar fashion as the Amazon Fire TV or Roku Streaming Sticks, but, in this case, the only accessible streaming service is Vudu. For more details on the Vudu Spark, read our report.

Getting Started With Vudu

Although there are no up-front subscription fees, users must set up an account by entering an email address, password, and credit card information for instant payments of rentals or movies you want to rent or buy. 

When renting a movie or TV show, you can choose to stream it and watch it immediately or you can choose to watch it later. In most cases, you have to watch the movie within 30 days of the day you rented it. Once you start watching, you have 24 hours to finish watching it or to watch as many times as you'd like within the time period.

There may be some exceptions to these rules, as some independent film offerings may allow a 48 hour viewing period once initial watching has been activated.

You also have the option purchasing a movie or TV show and saving it to The Cloud by setting up an additional UltraViolet account, or, if your device has a hard drive, you can also download and save your purchased movie.

If you opt for the UltraViolet option purchased TV shows and movies are accessible on any compatible network or mobile connected devices (including many smartphones and tablets), whether at home or on the road. If you opt for hard drive storage, your stored TV shows, and movies may only be accessible via that hard-drive device or through your home network.

Another service that Vudu offers is in-home disc-to-digital conversion using the Vudu to Go App. This added Vudu service provides an easy way to purchase digital versions of older Blu-ray Discs and DVDs you own. The digital versions are stored in The Cloud and can be accessed the same way that online purchases movies and TV shows can be accessed.

Choose the Video Quality to Match Your Internet Speed or Watch Later

For the vast majority of content offerings, you can choose from three levels of video quality--"SD" for Standard Definition (1.0 to 2.3mbps required), "HD" for high definition 720p resolution (2.3 to 4.5 Mbps required), and "HDX" (4.5 Mbps to 9 Mbps required) for an approximate Blu-ray quality experience with 1080p resolution and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround sound.  

Higher quality video and audio contain larger files that require a faster internet connection.

Before selecting the quality level, your device can check your connection speed so the movie won't stall to buffer while streaming. If you run into difficulties streaming a movie, Vudu offers to downgrade the quality level during your viewing. If you have a slower connection and want to watch higher quality video, choose the "watch later" option when you rent the movie.

3D and 4K

In addition to the viewing options discussed above, Vudu also offers 3D and 4K rental and purchase streaming options.

For 3D, you need not only a 3D-enabled TV, but ​your streaming device must also be compatible with Vudu's streaming requirements, such as broadband speed of 9 Mbps, or more.

For more details, Read our review of the Vudu 3D Streaming Service.

Also, Vudu is one of the first content providers to offer a 4K streaming option.

Vudu's 4K streaming service provides access to select 4K Ultra HD TV and movie titles. Also, added bonuses to this service for those that have compatible TVs and Streaming devices, is HDR (High Dynamic Range) for more true-to-life brightness and contrast, and for those that have compatible Home Theater Receivers, Vudu also includes Dolby Atmos immersive surround sound encoding.

For those that have 4K TVs and Home Theater Receivers that are 4K compatible, but not HDR or Dolby Atmos compatible - you would still be able to access the 4K resolution component. Also, users need to take note of added internet speed requirements (11Mbps or more), as well as any datacap limits.

Although Not Being Sold, Original Vudu Boxes Are Still Being Used

In the early days of internet streaming, the Vudu streaming service was released on the Vudu box, which has since been discontinued)). The Vudu box was a dedicated device with a hard drive for downloading films you wanted to own.  Vudu boxes are no longer available for sale, but they still work.

In the fall of 2010, the boxes were updated with new apps to access such online content as sports, news, and podcasts. Vudu further supports these original boxes with a Vudu app for iPhone/iPod touch that lets you choose movies that can be downloaded to your Vudu box for later viewing. 

UPDATE 10/20/2016: VUDU Adds "Vudu on Us" Free Movies To Its Streaming Service