Can hi-def porn save Vudu?

Vudu was sitting pretty 16 months ago. The set top box that streams premium content over the Internet to your television had over 5,000 movies from all the major studios except Sony and a bunch of smaller ones. This was impressive compared to its rivals, which at the time included traditional cable boxes and the first version of the Apple TV.

Times have changed.

Now the company faces competition from many of the big guns in the digital entertainment industry. Not only has Apple significantly improved the Apple TV over the past year, Sony, Microsoft and a new player, Roku thanks to the help of Netflix’s content, have all come out to play. By “play” I mean battle to the death to control your living room.

All of Vudu’s competitors now have deals with the major movie studios. If content is king, Vudu is one of many kings. So what to do? Find new content. And it looks like Vudu may have done just that by going to an industry that none of its main competitors are likely to touch: Porn.

That’s right, the films that few people fess up to watching despite the industry pulling in billions of dollars every year are coming to Vudu. The company has reached a deal with the AVN Media Network, an adult content company, to stream pornographic films on the Vudu, according to PC World.

Here’s the kicker: The films will be available in high-definition — which may or may not be a good thing depending on who you ask.

Standard definition porn rentals will cost $6.99 while HD ones will be $8.99. This is a steep price increase over more traditional digitally distributed movie rental rates which usually range from $2 to $5, but as the video and DVD industries have shown, people are willing to pay more for this content. There will also be an option to buy pornos in standard definition for $19.99 or high definition for $29.99.

So will porn content save Vudu? Well, it certainly can’t hurt it. Let’s be honest, the device was unlikely to survive against all the big players in the field and more popping up each week. The device, at $299, is roughly on par with the cost of the Xbox 360, but the 360 also happens to be a very popular gaming device as well. The Vudu is more expensive than the Apple TV and already did a $100 price-cut earlier this year.

Now there’s a compelling reason for some to buy the device again. The only issue may be explaining to your significant other why you went with the Vudu over its competitors. Perhaps the “it was on sale” lie will suffice.

[photo: flickr/anyaka]


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