Video streaming service Vudu announced today that it will launch on Sony’s PlayStation 3 gaming console next week, giving it access to the PS3’s 30 million users in the U.S. In addition, the service is rolling out a new design that provides an improved user interface and personalized recommendations for Vudu users.
Through the deal, Vudu will offer more than 4,000 HD video titles on-demand to PS3 users through the PlayStation Network, as well as approximately 15,000 titles available in standard definition. The new service goes live Nov. 23, at which point users can download the Vudu app from the PlayStation Store. As an incentive to get gamers to use the service, new Vudu customers will get a $5.99 credit, which will allow them to get their first HD rental for free.
For Vudu, launching on the PlayStation will give it instant access to millions of new users. While the PS3 represents the first game system that the streaming service will launch on, Vudu says it won’t be the last. There is a period of exclusivity involved in the deal, but Vudu GM Edward Lichty told us at a press event that the company hopes to be on as many consumer electronics devices as possible. Vudu is already available on connected TVs and Blu-Ray players from LG, Mitsubishi, Samsung, Sanyo, Sharp, Toshiba and Vizio, as well as through PCs on Boxee’s media center software.
For Sony, the announcement comes as a bit of a departure from its own video initiatives on the PS3. While it already offers subscription streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, until now, its PlayStation Network movie download service was the primary way to rent and buy on-demand movie titles on the game console. Furthermore, the PlayStation Network video service, which is being rebranded Qriocity, is expected to be the basis for Sony expanding video services to its own Bravia HDTVs, Blu-ray players, Sony Ericsson mobile devices and Sony PCs.
At the same time, the deal adds more choices for PS3 users, according to Susan Panico, senior director of the PlayStation Network. Despite the fact that Sony recently added Netflix and Hulu Plus to its content lineup, Panico says that sales of PSN titles have grown more than 40 percent over the past year. The deal also tightens Sony’s partnership with Vudu parent Walmart, which bought the video streaming startup earlier this year.
In addition to its new distribution channel on Sony’s PS3, Vudu announced a new user interface that will be coming soon. Vudu 2.0, which is designed to enable viewers to find the content they want more quickly, also provides personalized recommendations based on prior viewing history and enhanced filtering capabilities. The new UI, which is cloud-based, will roll out to all Vudu-connected devices sometime next month.
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