How Vudu Compares to Netflix

Stream, Rent, or Buy Movies When You Want

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If you have never heard of Vudu, you aren't alone. The Wal-Mart-owned video streaming service doesn't have quite the same name recognition as ‚ÄčNetflix or Hulu Plus, despite being around for several years now.

Vudu is an online streaming movie service that bears more resemblance to iTunes than Netflix or Hulu Plus. Rather than stream movies based on a monthly subscription, you are able to rent individual titles in either standard definition or high definition. And if you really like a movie, you can purchase it outright.

Vudu recently gave its website an HTML 5 makeover, which gives it an app-like feel within the browser. This allowed Vudu to bring its service to the iPad without submitting an app to the app store. Apple has long been a staunch supporter of the emerging HTML 5 standard, and their Safari browser is one of the early adopters of the standard.

Is Vudu Worth It?

So, should you switch over to Vudu? Is it time to flush those Netflix and Hulu Plus subscriptions? Are we entering a post-iTunes movie-watching world?

Not exactly. While Vudu boasts more HD movies than any online streaming site, anyone hoping they'll get a Wal-Mart-style discount on those movies will be sadly disappointed. While they definitely offer more titles in high definition than iTunes, the pricing is about the same. In some instances, you might find a title cheaper on Vudu, and at other times, you might find one cheaper on iTunes. But you won't find any major savings.

Is Vudu a Better Deal Than Netflix?

Vudu likes to brag about getting rentals quicker than Netflix, but if you watch a lot of movies, it is definitely more expensive. For the cost of two rentals on Vudu, you could have a subscription to the Netflix streaming service and watch as many of their streaming titles as you want. Do you watch five or more movies in a month? You'll rack up the same costs as having both the unlimited streaming plan at Netflix plus the ability to have two DvDs out at a time.

Vudu does get movies quicker than Netflix. But Netflix also has a wider selection available for streaming, and between the streaming service and the subscription service, you'll save a lot more money. After all, for those newly released movies for which you simply can't wait until they hit Netflix, there is always Redbox.

I put Vudu in the same classification as iTunes rentals and on-demand movies from my cable provider: simply too expensive to use compared to the competition. They are great for the occasional "must see" movie or the "totally bored" night, but for regular usage, Netflix still blows them out of the water.