The Vudu video-on-demand streaming service has long been available on a wide variety of connected home entertainment products, including networked TVs, Blu-ray players, and even the PlayStation 3. But now subscribers will be able to watch Vudu movies through computer Web browsers, too.
As with rivals Netflix and Amazon, the Vudu browser experience is pretty much the same as what you'll find on those other Vudu venues--the identical content library (albeit limited to standard-definition, thanks to studio restrictions) at the identical pricing. The video should work on any computer browser (Windows, Mac, Linux) that's compatible with the latest version of Flash. (In-browser Vudu streaming should be active at Vudu.com later today.)
Watching premium video in a Web browser is hardly a unique offering--plenty of providers from Hulu to Facebook already deliver similar services. But for Wal-Mart Stores-owned Vudu, adding PC screens to the mix adds yet another way to access videos you rent or own.
Where else might we see Vudu in the future? Vudu general manager Edward Lichty told CNET that "any device that can connect to the Internet is something we want to be on." When asked specifically about products like the iPad, he replied that he suspects you'll be seeing Vudu on tablets this year, but added "we have nothing specific to announce" at this time.
Other interesting tidbits: Lichty said 80 percent of Vudu customers are also Netflix subscribers, but they use Vudu to watch new releases that aren't available on Netflix streaming. And--while Vudu is the only Internet-delivered video service that offers 3D content, Lichty indicated that 3D streaming on Vudu is "fairly modest" to date.