Looks like Netflix has more competition as VUDU emerges as an up-and-coming player in the movie rental biz. Both offer instant streaming movies, but Netflix requires a membership while VUDU is more of on-demand service. Both have loads of titles and releases, but which one is best for you? Read on to find out!

Background

Netflix has become the No. 1 provider of on-demand Internet streaming media and DVD-by-mail rental programs. Membership for Netflix includes either a DVD-by-mail rental program or unlimited streaming, with the option to have both for a higher membership fee. VUDU only provides an Internet streaming media option that features on-demand service so you only pay for what you watch, making it a video-on-demand program.

User Friendly

Netflix members will find that it’s quite easy to rent DVDs by mail or watch streaming movies, TV shows and more. Once you sign up online, whenever you want a movie, you go online and search for the movie title/show name and begin watching (that is if you have streaming membership). Those who have only DVD rentals choose their “wish list” and then get movies mailed to them. With no due dates, users can keep movies as long as they want before returning and starting all over again with their next desired movie.

With VUDU, you get to stream directly to your VUDU-friendly device any time you’d like to watch movies. Just connect your HDTV, Blu-ray player, computer, or PlayStation 3/Xbox360 to the Internet and select VUDU as an option. Sign up for a free account and then browse through their selection of titles and then watch. You only pay per movie since it’s on-demand based.

Winner: Tie since both are fairly easy to use. All you need is the Internet and you’re on your way to movie enjoyment!

Compatible Devices

Netflix offers quite a wide variety of compatible devices users can choose from. Its streaming service is available on devices, including: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, iOS devices, some Android-based phones and tablets, the Windows phone, a few Internet-connected Blu-ray players and even some Internet-connected HTDTVs, TiVo or Roku, D-Link, home theater systems form the likes of Panasonic, LG, Sony, Samsung and Insignia. A great perk is that you can easily connect multiple devices to one account and then jump from device to device, while still leaving off at the same point you did on the last device.

VUDU also has a bunch of devices where its services will work, such as PS3, Xbox 360 (it requires an Xbox LIVE Gold Membership, though), computers (PS and MAC) and even Apple’s iPad.  VUDU also asserts that it’s “available on virtually every Internet-connected Blu-ray player and HDTV on the market.”

Winner: Netflix, obviously, offer more compatible devices so it’s a no brainer here!

Titles

Everybody knows that Netflix has quite the assortment of titles in its service. With more than 100,000 movies and TV shows on DVD and Blu-ray (even unrated and NC-17 ones) and “tens of thousands” of titles available for streaming (both TV and movies, along with many HD options), users can find old favorites and discover new ones.  VUDU users have access to 20,000 titles (and growing), including titles the same day they hit DVD. VUDU also claims it has the “most HD titles on demand” with more being added weekly. Their biggest claim to fame against Netflix is that they offer titles faster than Netflix would, stating that it takes Netflix 28 days later to have a new release on DVD and up to seven years for it to hit its streaming service.

Winner: VUDU wins here since it offers new releases a lot faster than Netflix.

Membership Perks

VUDU was bought by Walmart back in July and this provided a huge step for the company as it launched VUDU streaming directly on Walmart.com for instant viewing. VUDU also offers a $5 credit for newcomers and offers HDX quality that makes viewing just like it is in the movie theater, featuring 1080p True Digital video and rich Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound. Users can now also use the website of America’s largest retailer as yet another outlet. Netflix allows for a month’s free trial so that new users can test out the service.

Winner: Since Netflix offers unlimited streaming along with DVD rentals, there is a bit more bang for buck, and wins here.

Content

Netflix’s ability to land some big deals with movie companies has afforded them a wide assortment of content, from TV shows to movies. Since they’ve landed some pretty good content deals, users will find a great selection of TV shows from the likes of CBS, ABC, FOX, NBC and BBC libraries. Deals with Sony, NBC Universal and DreamWorks Animation (which is exclusive, but doesn’t start until 2013) also provide a large variety of content. But VUDU also scored some major content deals, too! They’ve been able to establish content licensing contracts with all major movie studios, as well as more than 50 smaller and indie studios, and that means a large library that might not be as large as Netflix, but is definitely on its way there.

Winner: Netflix steals it here by having a wide assortment of TV shows and older movies that can’t be so easily found nowadays.

Speed of Service

VUDU’s minimum speed requirements for its services is: 480p: 1 Mbps for SD; 720p: 2.25 Mbs for HD; and 1080p: 4.5 Mbps for HDX. Netflix recommends that its users have a minimum speed of 500 kbps (0.5 MB) to get maximum results for its service.

Winner: Tie

Quality

VUDU offers movies in HDX, which delivers the highest quality true High Definition 1080p content available from any Internet, broadcast or satellite on-demand service. It also provides rich Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound and offers many HD titles. Netflix also has HD movies and is capable of streaming 1080p video.

Winner: VUDU’s had the edge with its HDX and 7.1-channel surround.

Limitations

Netflix users saw a price hike for using both streaming and DVD-by-mail rentals, which many might consider a limitation. Since VUDU’s services are on a per-movie basis, you can easily rack up a high tab if you go movie crazy.

Winner: Netflix has less limitations for the money; they just offer more.

Price

Netflix charges $7.99 for unlimited streaming movies OR unlimited one-disc at a time rental service ($11.99 for 2 unlimited). For those that want both, they’ll have to dish out $15.98 a month. Netflix also offers Blu-ray discs for an additional $2 a month. Unlike Netflix, VUDU is s available without a monthly subscription or contract with some movies available to rent for just $2 for 2 nights. But some movies can cost up to $5 a pop (HDX is the most expensive option, but usually it’s SD for $3.99 and HD for $4.99). You can also opt to purchase the video and this various per movie.

Winner: Netflix’s monthly charge doesn’t look so bad compared to VUDU’s per-movie charge.

Overall Winner

Netflix wins! VUDU might be quickly crouching on Netflix’s tail, but it still hasn’t overtaken the popular movie rental service. Its low monthly fee and numerous titles proves it can’t be beat!










Kristie Bertucci

 
Kristie Bertucci is an L.A.-based writer, who can't live without her MacBook Pro. When she's not writing, she's either reading or shopping (online, of course) and loves lazy days so she can catch up on her DVR-recorded shows and movies. She's definitely a Mac girl, she loves music and is currently on a mission to to have an insane and enviable iTunes library.