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Vudu Adds HD Movie Purchase Option

2/24/2009 01:09:00 PM Eastern

Santa Clara, Calif. — Internet movie provider Vudu said Tuesday it has added a download-to-own option for HD titles carried by the on-demand service.

Previously owners of Vudu’s broadband set-top boxes were restricted to renting titles for limited viewing windows from the service’s HD library, which Vudu said includes more than 1,400 HD titles.

Starting Tuesday, Vudu is offering more than 50 HD movies from top independent studios for either rental or ownership. The movies in the special collection will be available for purchase in both instant HD and Vudu's HDX (1080p) format at the same price.

Films in the download-to-own assortment include Magnolia Picture's acclaimed “Man on Wire” documentary and FirstLook Studio’s “Transsiberian and War, Inc.”

“Consumers are clamoring for the ability to own digitally-delivered titles in high definition, especially in our HDX format, and we are excited to be the first in the industry to meet this consumer need,” stated Edward Lichty, Vudu's strategy and content executive VP. “This is a watershed event for the industry as well, signaling the studios' recognition of and confidence in digital delivery as an increasingly important part of their business. We expect to see a continuing expansion of digital rights in the coming months.”

Vudu plans to offer every HD release from FirstLook Studios, Kino and Magnolia Pictures for purchase as they are added to the service, day and date with DVD release. All current films and subsequent additions to this HD collection will be available in instant HD and Vudu's HDX formats.

“We are thrilled to work with Vudu to offer our new releases for sale in HD when they are released on DVD,” said Dean Wilson, COO of FirstLook Studios. “We continue to explore every channel for distribution, and the emerging digital platform that reaches consumers in their homes directly on their HDTVs via Vudu is an important new channel for us.”

Vudu said purchased high-definition titles can be stored on the Vudu set-top box or in the Vudu Vault, a free online storage option for movies and TV shows that enables consumers to free up disk space while still retaining access to all their purchased titles. Movies are priced between $13.99 and $23.99.

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