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Summary:

It’s been a long time coming, but over-the-top video company Vudu has finally stopped selling its set-top box, according to the NY Times, preferring instead to provide its software and video marketplace to consumer electronics manufacturers. Founded in 2004, Vudu released its first Internet video set-top […]

It’s been a long time coming, but over-the-top video company Vudu has finally stopped selling its set-top box, according to the NY Times, preferring instead to provide its software and video marketplace to consumer electronics manufacturers.

Founded in 2004, Vudu released its first Internet video set-top box in 2007, which it primarily sold online. But despite gaining distribution through a partnership with Best Buy in 2008, the company failed to gain much traction, due in part to being ahead of the market and also in part to being overpriced. After a couple of rounds of layoffs and several price cuts, Vudu still couldn’t give the devices away.

As a result, Vudu shifted to getting its software and video marketplace embedded on CE devices instead, a strategy that has been pretty successful for the company. It now has agreements in place that would put it on TVs or Blu-ray players from seven of the top nine device manufacturers.

The move comes as some other companies — notably Roku and Boxee — pursue a strategy based on selling hardware devices that can connect Internet video onto TV sets. The Roku Player has been fairly successful so far, selling 500,000 units with the company targeting another 500,000 sold by the end of this year. And the Boxee Box, while it has yet to be released, has gotten a fair amount of buzz since it was first announced.

But even Boxee isn’t pinning all its hopes in making hardware sales. The Boxee Box itself is being manufactured by D-Link and that relationship is mainly a software licensing deal — in other words, Boxee isn’t on the hook for manufacturing and inventory costs if the product doesn’t sell. And it’s pursuing its own strategy of getting its software embedded on third-party CE devices.

While being a software player might be preferable to building and distributing hardware, that segment, too, is heating up. Multiple companies, including TiVo and Rovi, are positioning themselves to provide the software layer that enables multiple Internet video services to be offered on broadband-connected CE devices.

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  1. They abandoned it some time ago… just waiting for inventory to run dry is my guess. We’ll see if they keep the P2P distro method going or if we’ll get one final CDN update (what the integrated STBs are using). That Rotten Tomatoes feed would be nice too. Either way they made the right call and appear to be executing well!

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  2. [...] The first rumors of Wal-Mart taking over Vudu appeared in early January, and the deal certainly does make sense for the retail giant. Vudu has been busy forging alliances with CE makers and announced deals with Mitsubishi, Sanyo, Sharp, and Toshiba to embed its app platform on their devices in January. This should give Wal-Mart almost instant access to a large part of the consumer electronics market. Vudu was founded in 2004 and released a set-top box for web-delivered video in 2007, but the product was unable to gain traction despite a retail partnership with Best Buy. Vudu eventually shifted to providing an embeddable platform for CE makers, and finally stopped selling its set-top box this month. [...]

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  3. [...] The first rumors of Wal-Mart taking over Vudu appeared in early January, and the deal certainly does make sense for the retail giant. Vudu has been busy forging alliances with CE makers and announced deals with Mitsubishi, Sanyo, Sharp, and Toshiba to embed its app platform on their devices in January. This should give Wal-Mart almost instant access to a large part of the consumer electronics market. Vudu was founded in 2004 and released a set-top box for web-delivered video in 2007, but the product was unable to gain traction despite a retail partnership with Best Buy. Vudu eventually shifted to providing an embeddable platform for CE makers, and finally stopped selling its set-top box this month. [...]

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  4. [...] The first rumors of Wal-Mart taking over Vudu appeared in early January, and the deal certainly does make sense for the retail giant. Vudu has been busy forging alliances with CE makers and announced deals with Mitsubishi, Sanyo, Sharp, and Toshiba to embed its app platform on their devices in January. This should give Wal-Mart almost instant access to a large part of the consumer electronics market. Vudu was founded in 2004 and released a set-top box for web-delivered video in 2007, but the product was unable to gain traction despite a retail partnership with Best Buy. Vudu eventually shifted to providing an embeddable platform for CE makers, and finally stopped selling its set-top box this month. [...]

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  5. [...] The first rumors of Wal-Mart taking over Vudu appeared in early January, and the deal certainly does make sense for the retail giant. Vudu has been busy forging alliances with CE makers and announced deals with Mitsubishi, Sanyo, Sharp, and Toshiba to embed its app platform on their devices in January. This should give Wal-Mart almost instant access to a large part of the consumer electronics market. Vudu was founded in 2004 and released a set-top box for web-delivered video in 2007, but the product was unable to gain traction despite a retail partnership with Best Buy. Vudu eventually shifted to providing an embeddable platform for CE makers, and finally stopped selling its set-top box this month. [...]

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  6. [...] things, Vudu, now owned by Wal-Mart, recently rolled out apps on its online video store, which is embedded on Blu-ray players and TVs from CE manufacturers like LG Electronics, Mitsubishi, Sanyo, Sharp and [...]

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