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Bad Vudu [blog on Forbes.com]

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Old 12-19-2008, 04:04 AM   #1
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Default Bad Vudu [blog on Forbes.com]

Quote:
Digital Tools
Bad Vudu
Lee Gomes, 12.18.08, 06:00 AM EST
Vudu's service is fun--but the company needs to tell its customers exactly how it delivers all those movies.

Before I tell you why you should think twice before buying a Vudu set-top box on account of the lack of disclosure at the heart of the service, I need to tell you how much I once enjoyed my own.

....

The geek in me was struck by what I assumed was Vudu's clever use of video servers: How else, I reasoned, could Vudu effectively stream so many high-quality movies to so many customers?

A few days later, I happened to be chatting casually with a Vudu executive and learned what is really going on.

Vudu, it turns out, uses peer-to-peer technology to stream movies to its customers. That means different bits of movies are stored on different Vudus. When you want to watch a movie, it gets assembled from scores, even hundreds, of other Vudu boxes and is then streamed to you.

You might be sitting in your den connected via VPN to your home office and, without your knowledge, your Vudu might be taking up bandwidth to help deliver The Dark Knight to some kid in Tucson.

Users of peer-to-peer software like BitTorrent will be alarmed by this hijacking, because these protocols are notorious bandwidth hogs. They easily use up so much of the network that simple tasks like e-mail or browsing can slow to a crawl.

The big problem is that the company doesn't clearly tell customers that it's doing this. I haven't found a word about this forced downloading on the box I bought or on the company's Web site. My bandwidth is my property, in much the same was my living room or front yard is mine, and I don't take to people using it without telling me.

.....

The fact is that this sort of forced bandwidth sharing has, from the very beginning, been at the heart of the company's business plan and technology platform. It occurs every time any Vudu customer watches a movie. If Vudu boxes didn't carry that load, the service would grind to a halt.

As a practical matter, I hadn't noticed delays on my own home network. Then again, fewer than 100,000 Vudus have been sold; who knows what will happen should the service get more popular. The company insists I have nothing to worry about and that the product is designed to not impede normal network usage.

....
Only excerpts posted here, please read the complete article:

http://www.forbes.com/technology/200..._1218vudu.html

(yes, i'd file that under Vudu FUD.... )

Last edited by Nikopol; 12-19-2008 at 05:55 AM.
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Old 12-19-2008, 05:46 AM   #2
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shit son!
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Old 12-19-2008, 05:59 AM   #3
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btw this is exactly how i think the huge streaming/download server load will be handled in the future: bandwidth sharing and decentralized storage, meaning there isn't just "one" server everyone gets their files from, but a network of client devices, sharing the data with each other and only supported by a few main servers, that handle the remaining needed data.

Imo this will be a key element for a mass-adopted streaming/download system in the future. Didn't know, Vudu already uses it.
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Old 12-19-2008, 06:15 AM   #4
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Damn. So if you only watch one movie per week on the thing to stay under your ISP's cap, you STILL may go way over unless you unplug the damn box when not used.

No thank you!
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Old 12-19-2008, 07:36 AM   #5
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This Forbes guy must be living under a rock. The P2P nature of Vudu has been explained by Vudu on their website, it's in the product documentation, and it's even in their press releases and published patents. Heck, a google search on 'vudu p2p' returns over 51,000 hits - some blogs as far back as May 2007 - before the Vudu was shipping. Besides, the guy even admitted in the article it never impacted his network experience. Apparently the sky is falling!

The best independent response to this "hit piece" I've seen so far is posted at http://formatwarcentral.com/2008/12/...udu-hit-piece/

The Forbes author also failed to mention that the Vudu network setup screen allows users to throttle the upload activity anytime at their own discretion. Anybody network savy enough to understand this concept can easily use QOS to further limit the impact of Vudu on their upload bandwidth. I own 3 Vudu's and have not had any problems, and I know one guy with 5 Vudu's on his LAN. I'm guessing the guy from Forbes has a passion for one of the lower quality 2nd tier VOD services so he's just taking a pot shot at Vudu - this was not "news" or a great discovery.

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12,495 Titles
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The last 3 movies I watched on Vudu (out of 12,495 titles at my fingertips) were:



What did you watch last, and how long did you wait to get it?
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Old 12-19-2008, 07:38 AM   #6
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like i said in the op ..... the blog is prolly fud
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Old 12-19-2008, 07:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
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this was not "news" or a great discovery.
It was news to me, and I bet several others here. This has never been mentioned in Vudu discussions here before.
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Old 12-19-2008, 07:44 AM   #8
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It was news to me, and I bet several others here. This has never been mentioned in Vudu discussions here before.
Now you know the rest of the story!



Seriously, it really doesn't use much bandwidth for uploading - it won't prevent you from enjoying the full functionality of your internet service.
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Old 12-19-2008, 07:51 AM   #9
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My favorite line from the formatwarcentral article:

Quote:
He also mentions that the only place that mentioned the P2P aspect of the Vudu, was in the TOS. Since the TOS was one of only two pieces of paper that came in the box with my Vudu. It might have been hard to find for him, even though the P2P is mentioned in the first column on the first page of the TOS.
The P2P nature of Vudu may not have been discussed here before (you won't be able to say that again), but anybody thinking about spending the $ to own a Vudu would easily have found it by going to forum.vudu.com
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Old 12-19-2008, 07:58 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by PFC5 View Post
Damn. So if you only watch one movie per week on the thing to stay under your ISP's cap, you STILL may go way over unless you unplug the damn box when not used.

No thank you!
My feelings exactly. What ever happened to full disclosure? How do these companies get away with this? These are rhetorical questions and I don't want any answers.
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Old 12-19-2008, 08:10 AM   #11
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My feelings exactly. What ever happened to full disclosure? How do these companies get away with this? These are rhetorical questions and I don't want any answers.
Hard to get full disclosure when you bring the "I don't want any answers" mentality to a discussion.



The fact of the matter is this "breaking news" has not been kept a secret - folks who didn't know about the P2P nature have not been seriously considering VOD service as part of the total home theater experience. I'm guessing you've already decided that you are opposed to participating in diversified entertainment platform that includes Digital Download innovation like the Vudu - your loss. The guy with the most toys wins.
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Old 12-19-2008, 08:53 AM   #12
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Hard to get full disclosure when you bring the "I don't want any answers" mentality to a discussion.



The fact of the matter is this "breaking news" has not been kept a secret - folks who didn't know about the P2P nature have not been seriously considering VOD service as part of the total home theater experience. I'm guessing you've already decided that you are opposed to participating in diversified entertainment platform that includes Digital Download innovation like the Vudu - your loss. The guy with the most toys wins.
Sorry, I prefer high quality, unrestricted video that doesn't cause me to pay much more for other services. See it anyway you like. My gain is positive your so called gain is costly and restrictive.
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Old 12-19-2008, 09:15 AM   #13
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I guess we'd have to agree on the definition of "costly" - I don't find the rental fees for HD/HDX movies to be costly ($4-$6), and anybody that finds the purchase price for a Vudu to be costly probably can't afford to have a serious home theater system($299 at Best Buy including a $200 viewing credit - that's about 40 HD movies or many many more movies if you are willing to watch catalog titles that are in SD which will likely never be available on BR or any other HD format). Nobody has reported that the P2P component of Vudu has caused them to exceed their bandwidth limits - this is just a bunch of BS from folks that are afraid to expand their horizon to have the best of both worlds - own a BR player and a Vudu player. Until you've experienced instant access to such a huge library of current movies, you really can't appreciate how much it adds to your total entertainment package. It's a luxury that I find affordable and have a hard time imagining anybody not wanting to "have it all".
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Old 12-19-2008, 09:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nded View Post
Now you know the rest of the story!



Seriously, it really doesn't use much bandwidth for uploading - it won't prevent you from enjoying the full functionality of your internet service.
I checked out that link and according to the sniffer that tracked uploads in that chart the uploads for this P2P aspect was about the same as it was for downloading the movie itself.

So if your ISP has bandwidth usage caps the Vudu setup is roughly DOUBLE what the movie you download to watch is and can be reached and surcharged by the ISP much sooner or with a higher surcharge.

My ISP has a 75GB/mo. cap so this P2P aspect could significantly increase the cost of those hidden costs of using this service. I imagine MANY people might be surprised by this and how many people read those TOS documents completely if at all?
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Old 12-19-2008, 09:22 AM   #15
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Imagine that, more reasons to stay away from VUDU. I'll stick with my $2 Netflix BD rentals for the time being and avoid the pain of depending on my internet speed.

I keep reading that the VQ for VUDU HD movies is no better than a UC SD DVD. How much merit is there to those statements?
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