When we got an early preview of Vudu last year, company reps told us off the record that its Internet video-on-demand box would someday offer adult-entertainment content. Well, that day has finally arrived with word that Vudu has consumated a deal with AVN Media Network to create the AVN Channel on Vudu, "robust with AVN reviews and ratings, etc..."
According to a press release from AVN, "The AVN Channel will include hundreds of the latest standard and high-definition titles from the leading adult studios including Wicked, Vivid, Hustler, and many others. This is the first stand-alone content channel available on Vudu."
"To celebrate the launch, AVN Adult Channel includes free access to the 2008 AVN Adult Movie Awards in brilliant 1080p HD. The legendary 25th anniversary show, hosted by Tera Patrick and Greg Fitzsimmons, features special appearances by Artie Lange of the Howard Stern Show, Bubba the Love Sponge, Dave Navarro, Jenna Jameson, and many other celebrities."
That's the good news. The bad news is that there's still a hefty to price pay for discreetly downloading porn to a set-top box in the privacy of your own home. Nevermind the initial $299 fee for the Vudu hardware, standard-definition adult movies will run you $6.99 for rental and $19.99 for purchase. High-definition smut will cost you $8.99 a pop for a rental and $29.99 to own it outright (we don't know what happens if Vudu goes out of business, but now that they're into porn, the company probably has a better shot at making it).
The AVN press release also notes that, "The AVN Adult Channel includes all the functionalities available in the award-winning Vudu interface plus an advanced discovery engine useful when searching by genre or studio. Consumers can take advantage of Vudu's safe and discreet billing system and avoid risky online transactions."
Vudu already has a full parental control feature built into its system (it effectively hides any content above whatever rating level the user prescribes), but the company will be further bolstering that with adult content: "Once the AVN Channel is enabled, password-protected privacy controls must be activated in order to access the service from the TV," says the press release.
Anybody care to comment? Is this a desperate move by Vudu or just a smart one?
Editors' note: This post has been updated to clarify the robustness of Vudu's parental control system.