Netflix vs. VUDU (comparison)

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!

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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.

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31 Comments

  1. Vudu is horrible. They may have a lot to choose from but their customer service is the worst I’ve experienced in years. They are rude and interrupt you several times. They called me a liar and even hung up on me after I waited way too long to get through. They are not even aware of the promos they post and when they say they will credit you, you never get it and then they say it’s your bank. I have emailed them with more than clear questions and yet when they do reply, they either don’t answer the question or they leave a generic answer. I would rather pay for Netflix over and over then to deal with Vudu anymore.

  2. BEWARE!!!!! I WAS OFFERED A DISCOUNT WHICH I DIDN’T RECEIVE. I ASKED FOR IT. AFTER 6 WEEKS OF NO ANSWER, I DISPUTED THE CHARGE WITH MY BANK AND FOR THAT VUDU SUSPENDED MY ACCOUNT. I NO LONGER HAVE ACCESS TO MY 200+ MOVIES (I PAID VUDU $5 TO CONVERT OR BOUGHT NEW MOVIES – $200 OVER LAST 2 YEARS).

    TO GET ACCESS BACK, I HAVE TO CANCEL THE DISPUTE WITH MY BANK, PROVIDE PROOF TO VUDU AND ONLY THEN DO THEY SAY THEY WILL RESOLVE MY BILLING ISSUE.

    I HAVE NO FAITH THAT, AFTER SPENDING HOURS TO DO WHAT THEY ASK, THEY’D REFUND MY MONEY. THEY HAD 6 WEEKS TO DO IT BEFORE AND DID NOT! WHAT KIND OF COMPANY SUSPENDS YOUR ACCOUNT WHEN YOU POINT OUT AN OVERCHARGE INSTEAD OF ADDRESSING YOUR ISSUE? ONE OWNED BY WALMART WITH THE WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE EVER!!!! I’M USING FLIXSTER TO VIEW, AMAZON AND ITUNE TO BUY MOVIES FROM NOW ON. THEY TREAT THEIR CUSTOMERS SO POORLY!!! I SEE OTHERS HERE HAVE HAD SIMILAR PROBLEMS (SEE SWAMPGATOR89’S REVIEW BELOW)
    Like · Reply · 6 mins

  3. Total ripoff. Rental movies are continually interrupted for downloading. Very aggregating. I wanted my money back. Too bad. Good selection of movies. – but no good if they are continually interrupted.

    1. David, that’s no good. Were you able to check with your ISP and make sure they’re not throttling you? I only ask, because some ISPs have data limits.

  4. Vudu sucks. I will never use Vudu again and recommend that nobody does. I actually purchased several movies from Vudu and the buffering throughout one movie was so bad, I couldn’t watch it (but had no problems with Fantango, Apple TV, Hulu, Netflix). I tried contacting Vudu to get a refund but Vudu makes it impossible to get in tough with it for any reason. So I challenged the charge through my credit card company who got no response from Vudu as well (Vudu was given every opportunity to respond, but just ignored it). So my credit card company refunded me the charge for the 1 movie purchased that I couldn’t watch, and Vudu responded by suspending my account so I can’t watch any of the 8 other movies purchased from Vudu. It’s fraud and I’ll be taking the appropriate action against Vudu.

    1. I am right there with you and would join you in such action. They are rude and make it seem like it’s the customers fault or the bank. The customer service department is the worst and those who work in that department do not know how to spell or use proper grammar which looks very unprofessional.

  5. I will never ever again use VUDU…I signed up with VUDU last year and received a coupon code. I then used it to watch a movie. With in less than a minute I realized that I’ve already seen the movie so I then immediately turned it off and called VUDU to see if there was anything that can be done since I didn’t watch the movie. I was advised that they would give me the credit back to my acct. since I didn’t watch the movie. I was very pleased to hear this. I really don’t use VUDU often so a couple of months later I ordered a show from VUDU expecting it to use my code, instead it used my PayPal acct. I called VUDU, spoke to the rudest supervisor who basically called me a liar. Not only did she say that I never received a credit but also told me that I never ordered the movie from them. I will never again use VUDU & I will advise everyone against using them as well.

  6. The most stupid article I’ve ever read. Vudu wins always cause they have tons of new releases and lots of more movie and TV availability. If you buy something on vudu, its yours to keep. Where on Netflix, you can’t do that. matter fact Netflix be removing TV shows and movies and vudu doesn’t. Netflix is for broke people who don’t wanna pay for movies, so they just watch whatever’s available. you could connect vudu with amazon and Disney anywhere. You can’t do that with Netflix. Who ever wrote this article must be a Netflix fan boy.. Never compare vudu with Netflix. go do some more research before writing a article.

    1. Actually, Vudu loses hands down. For less than the price of two streamed movies in HD from Vudu, I can have a new DVD everyday from Netflix for a month. Thirty vs two. Duh.

  7. I’m surprised no one has gone more into availability of content. Netflix will add or drop shows seemingly on a whim. If I see something available, I always want it available. That’s where I like Vudu, where once I buy content I can feel confident that I will always have access to it.

    1. Wow! I guess it’s not autism that makes me not like unknowns. I was always wondering the differences and I guess that wins it for me having Vudu be more stable then Netflix on what it offers even though you pay as you go which is good if you only watch movies once in a while.

  8. I’d be curious to know how these services stack up against each other today, two years after this comparison was made. Anyone know or willing to put it to the test?

  9. I think Vudu actually should win the compadiable devices catagory, since you can download the movies you bought to devices such as the ipad, allowing you to watch your movie without an internet connection.

  10. Netflix is good for the day to day movie/tv watching. I dont have cable and use a combination of Netflix/ HuluPlus/ Network TV. When I want to rent a movie I use Vudu/ Amazon depending on who has the cheapest rental fee. Vudu is JUST another option for having a cable like experience without the cable like price.
    VERY budget friendly and you can watch the movie as many times as you want in a time period.

    1. We used to use Amazon but recently their player has screwed up and now want to charge 100$ a year after a few times of watching it.

      But that aside their player is one to be desired. If you like to rewind movies you can only do it 2 times or it will freeze up requiring the *player* to be shut down in a control alt del way and forced to turn on the movie all over again and have to find where you left off.

      If you like captioning it will say *On* and their onboard captions do not work. :( I like captioning as I don’t keep up with fast paced movies very well.

  11. I was a long time netflix user. The availability of new titles is what killed it for me. I just signed up for Vudu today. I like how they will offer newer titles way faster than netflix. If people are honest they will agree netflix has way more movies but the majority of them are ones you wouldn’t watch anyway. You will find yourself wanting to watch recent releases while netflix shugs their shoulders LOL!

  12. my xbox live ran out today,and yet my vudu is on thru the xbox right now.netflix wont even let you in to browse without the xbox live.although it may be cuz i have digital copies and movies i already own in the vudu service.

  13. minor problem with netflix, they usually only have season one maybe season two of a show and the rest of the seasons are never available. I have to watch them on Hulu plus.

  14. Why pay for each rental individually with Vudu, unless you RARELY use it.  For those of us who are tired of the cable and satellite prices, Netflix is the answer.  If I want to watch network shows, they are available to watch for free.  The only reason I ever use Vudu is if I want to watch a new release because it is cheap-unless I rent from Redbox for $1.29.

  15. who wants to pay per movie on Vudu…I have been a member of Netflix since it started, I have the cheapest plan…less than $16.00 a month for unlimited streaming movies…I think it is the better deal…

    1. Depends on if you want better quality or not. The VUDU videos are amazingly good and start up instantly. They have a growing selection of 3d titles as well which look great. Also for someone that only watches a movie once in awhile, the VUDU option would be more cost effective. It just depends on how much content you consume and what quality you want it.

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