vudu1.jpgVudu, a Santa Clara, Calif. company promising a better way to bring video to your television instantly, has emerged from secrecy today — with a story given exclusively to the New York Times.

The company, which does not yet have a Web site and hasn’t launched yet, says it improves upon TV set-top offerings being developed or already offered by Apple TV, Comcast and Time Warner — none of which have really perfected the experience of bringing new or old movies to your screen. Comcast, for example, is incredibly frustrating, say people we know who have used it. Apple requires a connection with your computer.

Vudu uses a peer-to-peer technology that boasts a major advantage, speed. It says the films will begin playing immediately after a customer makes a selection — by caching the first bits of movies in its set-top box that you’re most likely to watch. The Times article is largely positive, and we haven’t seen the technology yet, but there are two main obstacles. The company will force the consumer to make yet another three-hundred dollar purchase, and behemoth competitors are likely to be quick on its heels.

Still, impressively, it has already negotiated rights to 5,000 films. Every major studio — except, for now, Sony Pictures Entertainment — and 15 smaller ones will make their films available on Vudu, the Times says.

In 2005, it raised $21 million from two Valley venture capital firms, Greylock Partners and Benchmark Capital. It was founded by Tony Miranz, former vice president at OpenWave. Chairman is Alain Rossmann, who worked on the original Macintosh, and was later at OpenWave.

(Image courtesy of the NYT)


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