Vudu Now Offers 99 Cent Movie Rentals

Vudu might be on to something with its new promotion: "Stay in. Rent four movies for the price of 1 gallon gas!" At today's prices for movie tickets, concession snacks, and the cost of gas for getting to and from the theater, a family of four could easily spend upwards of a $100 for a night out at the movies. Staying at home and watching movie rentals means you'll miss out on the latest releases, but a quick gander at Vudu's catalog shows that its rental offerings include many A-list titles, including some films that were recently in the theaters.

Vudu is a video on-demand streaming service that streams movies over a broadband Internet connection to a $299 Vudu Box device connected to your TV. All you need is a broadband connection that is fast enough (2 Mbps for Standard Definition (SD) video, and 4.0 Mbps for High-Definition (HD) video)--you don't use your computer (other than just once to activate your account). The Vudu Box can output video up to 1080p. Once you own the Vudu Box, there are no additional service charges--you only pay for the videos you rent.

As to how much these rentals cost, prices vary, but most new SD titles appear to cost $3.99, and HD titles $5.99. But with Vudu's new "99 for 99" promotion, Vudu created a special channel where a selection of "99 blockbuster films [are] each available to rent for 99 cents." The current selection of 99 SD titles includes recent releases such as I am Legend, Sweeney Todd, and Cloverfield. Other selections run the gambit from classics, such as Vertigo, to fan-favorite comedies, such as Groundhog Day.

 Some of Vudu's current "99 for 99" titles
The 99-cent movie rentals are not limited to just the "99 for 99" channel. Vudu is also now charging only 99 cents to renew any SD movie rental "within seven days of first viewing a film." Once you purchase a rental, it is downloaded to the Vudu Box's 250GB hard drive. The movie can reside on the Vudu Box's hard drive for up to 30 days before it is automatically deleted--you do not have to watch it as soon as your purchase the rental. Once you start watching a title, however, it remains viewable for only 24 hours (you can watch it as many times as you want in that 24-hour period). If you want to extend the rental beyond the initial 24 hours after you started watching it, starting today, Vudu charges only an additional 99 cents for another 24-hour period. That's much better than paying the full $3.99 rental price. If you want to extend an HD movie rental, it costs $1.99. You can extend a rental only once.

Vudu might not offer the best solution or bang-for-the-buck for all users. Many prefer using Netflix with its mail-based, physical disc rental service and its small, but growing library of "Watch Instantly" titles. Others find that the VOD services offered by their cable providers meet their needs. Even some folks have come to embrace the Apple TV as a way to watch downloaded movies on their TVs. Lastly, those who demand the very best image quality, will likely be disappointed with the compressed image quality of Vudu's SD and HD movies. But what Vudu offers is reasonably priced access to a catalog of over 6,000 movies and TV shows. If you are the type to get a sudden hankering to watch episodes of Arrested Development on your TV, then Vudu might be what you are looking for.