Vudu launching on Sony PS3 next week; gets new interface

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On-demand movie service Vudu is rolling out on Sony's PS3 gaming platform next week, giving users access to some 4,000 HD titles from all major Hollywood studios. The Nov. 23 launch will give Vudu visibility on a popular platform,Vudu's new look helping it to differentiate itself in what is becoming a very crowded sector, and marks its second major rollout on a device in the past month.

The PS3 will be the only gaming system with access to Vudu, GM Edward Lichty told FierceOnlineVideo.

"It's a big step for us to get onto a game console," Lichty said. "It's very exciting for us. Vudu will be available when we roll out next week to new and existing PS3 owners will have access to our service. And, it's the same Vudu that's on everything else, there's nothing missing. The big difference is that the PS3 will be the best performing platform we're on."

Lichty said PS3 users will be able to use Vudu to access new releases the same day they are released to DVD or Blu-ray disc. Many Vudu titles are available for $2 for a two night rental. Customers who have a free PlayStation Network account can download the Vudu application in the "Media" category on PlayStation Store and then access it under the "Video" icon on the XMB (XrossMediaBar) menu. New Vudu customers receive a $5.99 credit, enabling them to watch their first HD movie on the service for free. The service over PS3 will offer movies in HD, HDX and with Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound.

The deal opens up Vudu on yet another device; its existing list of partnerships includes manufacturers of HDTVs, Blu-ray players, the latest Boxee platform (For PC and Mac), and the just released D-Link Boxee Box.

"PS3 is tailor-made for the high-quality, high-speed Vudu streaming experience," said Lichty. "Now with Vudu on PS3, we are able to deliver a completely immersive experience to those loyal to their entertainment system when they want, where they want."

Vudu also today said it was rolling out its next generation 2.0 user interface optimized for HD, wide-format TVs. The UI offers an intuitive structure organized around tabs, allowing users to navigate more quickly, and includes new tools including personal recommendations, a "social feed," and enhanced browse and filter capabilities. Vudu said it also will support next-gen motion-based input devices, like the PS3 Move, mice and pointer remote controls.

The new UI is scheduled to arrive in December, Lichty said. "It's a whole new interface that we think further raises the bar on experiencing Vudu," he said. "It has a cleaner look, it takes users fewer clicks to get where they're going, and it's more structured. We think it's a more sleek, cinematic look than Vudu has ever had."

Vudu was acquired in February by mega-retailer Walmart for a price that has been estimated to be as high as $100 million. The deal gave Walmart a way to get back into the VOD market, something it has tried--and failed--twice to enter.

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