VUDU First To Sell HD Movies On-Demand, But Films Expensive, Library Limited

While most online video services have been renting HD quality movies for some time and Apple has been selling HD quality TV show via iTunes, to date, no one has been selling HD quality movies online. Today, VUDU announced that it would make fifty films available for sale from independent studios FirstLook, Kino and Magnolia Pictures.

While it's great that better quality movies are now available for sale, the price that all of these on-demand services charge is simply too much. Why would I buy the movie online when I can get the DVD cheaper? Delivering movies online means the studio saves a lot of money on packaging and distribution, yet they are not passing any of those savings onto the consumer. And then they wonder why services like Movielink and CinemaNow have never been successful.

VUDU says their HD movies are priced between $13.99 and $23.99, which is simply too expensive for films from independent studios. I don't blame those high-costs on VUDU as I'm sure the studios are dictating the pricing but clearly these studios don't get it. If you go right now and look at any of the first-run movies for sale on the home page of, like The Dark Knight, Pride and Glory or RocknRolla, all of these movies can be purchased from Amazon for three to five dollars cheaper than CinemaNow sells them. As a consumer, why would I want to buy a lower quality movie, for more money? That's just stupid thinking on the studios part.

For movie rentals, it's a different story. Services like VUDU, iTunes and others who charge $3.99 to rent a movie charge a fair price and VUDU's HDX video quality is extremely good. But I'm not sure why studios think consumers would want to purchase HD quality movies for more money to play back on a device like VUDU that them gives them no options to transfer or copy the movie to another device.

The movie industry complains and moans about piracy, lower ticket sales and how much they are hurting. Yet every year they raise ticket prices, make loads of really crappy pictures and charge customers more money to purchase movies online than in DVD. You would think the movie studios would have learned a thing or two from the record labels by now, but apparently not.