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post #1651 of 1941 Old 01-22-2012, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by aaronwt View Post

I have several free dollars in credits that will expire in a few days. I can use them to check the title out.

Crap! I let the $5 credit I got for registering my Xbox expire (yesterday I think). Oh well .

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post #1652 of 1941 Old 01-22-2012, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by oleus View Post

and with titles like Hangover 2 we aren't even getting OAR.

it's been a while, but when i rented Inception, the DD 5.1 was insanely compressed and the surround info wasn't even coming out of the right channels...

And with the recent addition of 7.1, i can't IMAGINE how compressed the sound is.

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post #1653 of 1941 Old 01-22-2012, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by DigitalfreakNYC View Post

And with the recent addition of 7.1, i can't IMAGINE how compressed the sound is.

With those titles you mentioned. Were all of them being streamed in 3 bar HDX? I know video wise there is a huge difference between one bar HDX and three bar HDX. And with HD there a big difference between the HD streaming and HDX streaming. I know the video is greatly affected with the lower bitrates so maybe the audio is too.

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post #1654 of 1941 Old 01-22-2012, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by aaronwt View Post

With those titles you mentioned. Were all of them being streamed in 3 bar HDX? I know video wise there is a huge difference between one bar HDX and three bar HDX. And with HD there a big difference between the HD streaming and HDX streaming. I know the video is greatly affected with the lower bitrates so maybe the audio is too.

Again, read my post. No streaming. It was downloaded. I have a Vudu box.

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post #1655 of 1941 Old 01-23-2012, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by DigitalfreakNYC View Post

Again, read my post. No streaming. It was downloaded. I have a Vudu box.

The VUDU box downconverts DD+ to standard Dolby Digital. Could that have something to do with it?

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post #1656 of 1941 Old 01-23-2012, 09:02 AM
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Sure, cuts the quality in half.


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post #1657 of 1941 Old 01-23-2012, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

The VUDU box downconverts DD+ to standard Dolby Digital. Could that have something to do with it?

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Originally Posted by nathan_h View Post

Sure, cuts the quality in half.

If it's anything like what happens with Netflix 5.1 channel DD+ played on the PS3 (from which it emerges as basic 5.1 DD) that is very true. It's like a thin echo of the bitstreamed DD+.

VUDU's DD+ has always sounded fairly decent to me without blatant compression artifacts. The equipment I'm listening to it through is pretty modest (Onkyo NR-TX509 and old Onkyo HTiB speakers) so higher end stuff might reveal its flaws.

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post #1658 of 1941 Old 01-23-2012, 02:38 PM
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Last night I compared Pirates of the Caribbean 4 on VUDU with 7.1 DD+ to the BD with 7.1 DTS-MA. Of course the BD sounded much better, but it had a 6Mb/s bitrate for just the audio with the video being around 30Mb/s (No idea what the averag is but everytime I looked at the bitrates they were around there with the video hitting much higher at times).

For what VUDU is, 9Mb/s total bitrate from MPEG 4 with DD+ audio it did sound good, but of course nowhere near what the BD was. And I would not expect it to. But I guess a better comparison for the audio would be to check out the DVD audio. If I get a chance I'll need to rent it from Netflix one day

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post #1659 of 1941 Old 01-23-2012, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

The VUDU box downconverts DD+ to standard Dolby Digital. Could that have something to do with it?

Well now THAT is something. I had no idea. Thanks for pointing that out!!

That's enough to make me get rid of the box immediately!

Are there any choices for a "box" that would let me download (instead of stream) AND keep it at DD+?

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post #1660 of 1941 Old 01-23-2012, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DigitalfreakNYC View Post

Are there any choices for a "box" that would let me download (instead of stream) AND keep it at DD+?

There aren't many, but they just announced the capability for non-VUDU-boxes about 2 months ago. I found a post by someone from VUDU (posted 2 weeks ago) about devices allowing download from VUDU here. It states that the LG 590, 690, VUDU box and PS3 can download titles and play later. (It further states that the PS3 can only download owned titles, but I've tried it out downloading an HDX rentals). The PS3 cannot bitstream DD+ from VUDU (or will not, inasmuch as it can do it from BDs); it will decode and convert it to multichannel LPCM, which sounds pretty good.

The LG units are BD players with 250GB drives for media storage. They ain't cheap but you can get a BD590 factory refurb for as little as $129+shipping (from Buy.com).

My freebie VUDU sound test is the two minute HDX sample of Rio, which is bright and punchy, with good spatial imaging. Again, not TrueHD or DTS-HD MA, but decent; I'd bet that it's superior to the 448 Kbps basic DD you'd get from a standard def DVD.

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post #1661 of 1941 Old 01-23-2012, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

There aren't many, but they just announced the capability for non-VUDU-boxes about 2 months ago. I found a post by someone from VUDU (posted 2 weeks ago) about devices allowing download from VUDU here. It states that the LG 590, 690, VUDU box and PS3 can download titles and play later. (It further states that the PS3 can only download owned titles, but I've tried it out downloading an HDX rentals). The PS3 cannot bitstream DD+ from VUDU (or will not, inasmuch as it can do it from BDs); it will decode and convert it to multichannel LPCM, which sounds pretty good.

The LG units are BD players with 250GB drives for media storage. They ain't cheap but you can get a BD590 factory refurb for as little as $129+shipping (from Buy.com).

My freebie VUDU sound test is the two minute HDX sample of Rio, which is bright and punchy, with good spatial imaging. Again, not TrueHD or DTS-HD MA, but decent; I'd bet that it's superior to the 448 Kbps basic DD you'd get from a standard def DVD.


So the LG boxes are really my only option? And neither one has a problem with DD+?

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post #1662 of 1941 Old 01-23-2012, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigitalfreakNYC View Post

So the LG boxes are really my only option? And neither one has a problem with DD+?

I have no idea. There must be an LG BD590/BD690 thread in the Blu-ray Players forum; ask whether they can bitstream DD+ there. (My Panasonic DMP-BDT110 can, but it has no storage other than external USB storage and SD cards--they ought to implement download to USB for it).

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post #1663 of 1941 Old 01-23-2012, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

I have no idea. There must be an LG BD590/BD690 thread in the Blu-ray Players forum; ask whether they can bitstream DD+ there. (My Panasonic DMP-BDT110 can, but it has no storage other than external USB storage and SD cards--they ought to implement download to USB for it).

I would hope they can bitstream the DD+. My old LG BD390 bitstreams the 7.1 DD+ from VUDU with no issues. So I would expect the new models to be able to do it as well.

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post #1664 of 1941 Old 01-24-2012, 04:21 AM
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Originally Posted by aaronwt View Post

I would hope they can bitstream the DD+. My old LG BD390 bitstreams the 7.1 DD+ from VUDU with no issues. So I would expect the new models to be able to do it as well.

Awesome. I had no idea that it did that. Thank you guys so much for telling me! That box is going on ebay tonight!

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post #1665 of 1941 Old 01-24-2012, 06:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronwt View Post

Last night I compared Pirates of the Caribbean 4 on VUDU with 7.1 DD+ to the BD with 7.1 DTS-MA. Of course the BD sounded much better, but it had a 6Mb/s bitrate for just the audio with the video being around 30Mb/s (No idea what the averag is but everytime I looked at the bitrates they were around there with the video hitting much higher at times).

For what VUDU is, 9Mb/s total bitrate from MPEG 4 with DD+ audio it did sound good, but of course nowhere near what the BD was. And I would not expect it to. But I guess a better comparison for the audio would be to check out the DVD audio. If I get a chance I'll need to rent it from Netflix one day

Why not give some people the option for streaming the highest quality audio, like they do with 1080p video? Make it available to stream for those that can handle the bandwidth. Otherwise, streaming will always be 2nd tier in my view.
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post #1666 of 1941 Old 01-24-2012, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

My freebie VUDU sound test is the two minute HDX sample of Rio, which is bright and punchy, with good spatial imaging. Again, not TrueHD or DTS-HD MA, but decent; I'd bet that it's superior to the 448 Kbps basic DD you'd get from a standard def DVD.

You will lose that bet. The advantage of DD+ is 7.1, DD is 5.1, DD+ is better than DD at low bit rates and is probably the reason IPTV providers have an interest in it. Roger Dressler of Dolby Labs (now retired) has covered this subject many times.
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post #1667 of 1941 Old 01-25-2012, 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Wendell R. Breland View Post

You will lose that bet. The advantage of DD+ is 7.1, DD is 5.1, DD+ is better than DD at low bit rates and is probably the reason IPTV providers have an interest in it. Roger Dressler of Dolby Labs (now retired) has covered this subject many times.

You're saying the only advantage of DD+ is the ability to have 7.1?

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post #1668 of 1941 Old 01-25-2012, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by DigitalfreakNYC View Post

You're saying the only advantage of DD+ is the ability to have 7.1?

No, DD+ has the advantage at low bit rates, i.e., 320, 256, 192 kbps. That makes it more attractive to IPTV providers. I would never use DD below 384 kbps and would prefer to use 448 kbps. I had our main ATSC broadcast channel set to 448 kbps and dialnorm set to –31dB.

Many (most) Blu-ray titles use 640 kbps for the DD tracks. Since most Blu-ray titles use Dolby True HD or DTS Master Audio, it makes the DD+ vs. DD for them a moot point.
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post #1669 of 1941 Old 01-29-2012, 05:19 AM
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I rented Paranormal Activity 3 on HD using my 3Mb DSL connection. The picture quality seemed blotchy and washed out, but being that it looks like a low budget film I shouldn't expect to much. The audio was descent.
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post #1670 of 1941 Old 01-29-2012, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by DigitalfreakNYC View Post

Awesome. I had no idea that it did that. Thank you guys so much for telling me! That box is going on ebay tonight!

Another option is the WDTV Live Hub....It streams DD+ audio from VUDU....I don't know about the WD Live SMP, though....The Hub has a 1TB HDD built in....VUDU does not allow downloads to it, though......
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post #1671 of 1941 Old 01-29-2012, 03:00 PM
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Another option is the WDTV Live Hub....It streams DD+ audio from VUDU....I don't know about the WD Live SMP, though....The Hub has a 1TB HDD built in....VUDU does not allow downloads to it, though......

Thanks but that kills my interest. I don't want to stream. I want to download. Otherwise, I could just use any blu player.

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post #1672 of 1941 Old 02-02-2012, 07:32 AM
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I signed up recently and on Tuesday evening put my $5.99 introductory credit toward renting "Drive" in HDX. I feared the worst when I got a "buffering" message just moments into the distributor logo at the very beginning, but fortunately that was the first and only such interruption.

My impressions are pretty good. The image from where we were sitting looked very good and the DD+ audio, whilst not as good as lossless, was pretty punchy and dynamic. From my admittedly limited experiences of streaming (I've seen some Netflix in SD & HD) right now Vudu is probably the closest thing to Blu-ray (from a technical standpoint) we're going to see in the short term so kudos to them for that. For the non-technical aspects of their service, I'm not so convinced...

Their range of films is very American mainstream-centric: great if you're only interested in the latest bangs & flashes that Hollywood musters up but what about all the other (usually better) films that are produced across the world?

I have done countless searches for a wide variety of titles and for the most part Vudu comes up blank. It should have a better range for a service that is promoting itself as the premium film viewer's experience.

This leads me to something else: price. To me, Netflix may not have the very latest content but provides real VFM with its a la carte approach. $6 for a HDX rental (or even $5 for HD) is a little steep IMO. I understand that these prices probably have more to do with the content owners than Vudu per se which makes me think they just don't get it.

I think I'll be using a combination of Netflix streaming with Blu-ray/DVDs for newer (or unavailable on streaming) content. As good as Vudu is from a technical standpoint, I just think it's a bit too expensive for anything other than very occasional use.
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post #1673 of 1941 Old 02-02-2012, 07:41 AM
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^ Pretty much nailed my thoughts. I love Vudu's quality, but it's a bit expensive for me to use more than occasionally.

But they do run a daily 99 cent deal (varying from new releases to older stuff), and usually they have a few "collections" that are cheaper (like in October they have a bunch of horror movies for 99 cents). So I do use it a couple times each month, but I rarely buy something full-priced.

For me, it's more of a supplement to Netflix, which is fine with me. I've said before there's not really an all-in-one service, so using a few different services is perfectly fine.
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post #1674 of 1941 Old 02-02-2012, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norliss View Post

I signed up recently and on Tuesday evening put my $5.99 introductory credit toward renting "Drive" in HDX.

Drive is a good example of what's wrong with content providers and VUDU. I wanted to see it last week when I spotted it on their menu but it wasn't available until the release day this past Tuesday. Last week was when I MIGHT have sprung for the $6 rental but then Tuesday I get a Redbox alert that the DVD ($1) and Blu-ray ($1.50) of this film are available so guess where I go for this? I know this doesn't apply to your location in Wales but it does point out that VUDU would likely rent more movies if their prices for HD and HDX were lower by half...and an advanced screening would be better yet. My 2 cents.

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post #1675 of 1941 Old 02-02-2012, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

Drive is a good example of what's wrong with content providers and VUDU. I wanted to see it last week when I spotted it on their menu but it wasn't available until the release day this past Tuesday. Last week was when I MIGHT have sprung for the $6 rental but then Tuesday I get a Redbox alert that the DVD ($1) and Blu-ray ($1.50) of this film are available so guess where I go for this? I know this doesn't apply to your location in Wales but it does point out that VUDU would likely rent more movies if their prices for HD and HDX were lower by half...and an advanced screening would be better yet. My 2 cents.

Well, that's the thing...Vudu doesn't require you to go to the kiosk (once to get it and once to return it) and also having to find it in stock. And of course being able to watch it in many cases a few weeks before you can get it at Redbox. You do pay for that convenience. Which may or may not be a big deal depending on your desire to watch new releases day-and-date and where your local Redbox is at and how well-stocked it is.

Also, $4-$6 has been the de-facto price for PPV or VOD for years. With rentals moving more towards that model, studios are trying to re-establish $4-$6 as the "normal" rental price while killing off or crippling Netflix and Redbox with delays and whatever other tactics they can come up with.

Problem is, Redbox and Netflix have already reset what a "normal" rental price is in the mindsets of most people. It's going to be hard/impossible to change that and get people back to thinking $4-$6 is a fair price for a rental, even if you can watch it a few weeks before it hits the cheaper services (the same reason they're not convincing me to go to the theater to pay a premium a couple of months before I can rent it).

I mean, I paid $4 for rentals from Blockbuster back-in-the-day, so it's not like that's really changed much....just moved from video stores to on-demand services at roughly the same price. But because of Netflix primarily, I now think that price is outrageous and for the most part, I refuse to pay it. I'll wait for it to hit Netflix, be it 28 days or 56 days or whenever it gets to their streaming offerings. I'm used to paying well less than a $1 now (average Netflix rental is around 60 cents per movie for me), so asking me to pay nearly 10x that much just isn't reasonable to me.

And Vudu does have some advanced screenings even before they hit the theater, but likewise, they're expensive (I've seen them from $12-$16). Of course, it's only expensive by rental standards, but cheap if you were planning on going to the theater to see it (even if my wife and I went to the theater, it would cost us more than that).
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post #1676 of 1941 Old 02-02-2012, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norliss View Post

Their range of films is very American mainstream-centric: great if you're only interested in the latest bangs & flashes that Hollywood musters up but what about all the other (usually better) films that are produced across the world?

I have done countless searches for a wide variety of titles and for the most part Vudu comes up blank. It should have a better range for a service that is promoting itself as the premium film viewer's experience.

This is going to be a problem with any streaming service. VUDU actually has a much larger selection of 720p ("HD") and 1080p ("HDX") content than any other streaming option, certainly far better than Netflix.

Yes, there are blind spots, and foreign films are a big one, but VUDU has a very wide selection of indie films from small distributors. They are not all big studio blockbusters by any means.

You may find it frustrating to look for a specific title and not find it there. That's understandable. Some day, when you have some time to kill, try browsing through the catalog (there is a "Quality" sort option, so you can limit your options to HD or HDX if you want). You might be amazed at some of the obscure stuff you find in there, especially indie productions and classics that are very unlikely to be released on Blu-ray anytime soon.

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post #1677 of 1941 Old 02-02-2012, 08:51 AM
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All sensible comments; I can't disagree with any of them.

Drive hit Blu here at the same time. However, the combination of being eager to see it sooner than later and being keen to try out Vudu meant rather than wait for LoveFilm to send me the disc (no Redbox here, just a handful of Blockbusters left standing!) I'd use the credit Vudu kindly gave me.

I do appreciate some of the advantages Vudu has but in concurring with comments above, in the main I would rather wait until I'm sent the disc than shell out (the usual) Vudu prices. The 99c movie of the day offer is a good idea even the selection of late hasn't been any use to me. The pre-theatrical concept is interesting although it is understandably more expensive. As much as I'm eager to check out Ti West's "The Innkeepers", for $12 I think I'd rather wait a little bit...

Edit:

In addition to some of the comments posted whilst I was writing this post I would like to add that $12 is about the price of 1 cinema ticket in this part of the world, so I certainly don't regard it as unreasonable!
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post #1678 of 1941 Old 02-02-2012, 09:12 AM
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My local dealer was out to my house yesterday, looking at some ways to improve my HT experience. One of his comments was that VUDU was the best way to stream movies. I've done some research and it looks to be true, although more expensive than some other options (for the movies themselves), it allows the most immediate access to newly released titles at the best quality.
My question has to do with the delivery devices. I know many here use their blu-ray player or other multifunction device, but I have a decent Blu-ray I can use.
It looks like the least expensive alternative would be the RCA Wi-fi streaming media player they sell at Wallmart for $39. Does that work as well as something like an Oppo-93? Is there something else worth looking at? I would like it to be wireless.
The processor I'm looking at (Anthem MRX300) only has 4 HDMI inputs, so it may make sense to use something that is multi-functional.
I understand some Vudu devices can download movies instead of streaming, what are those options?
Thanks
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post #1679 of 1941 Old 02-02-2012, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saeyedoc View Post

It looks like the least expensive alternative would be the RCA Wi-fi streaming media player they sell at Wallmart for $39. Does that work as well as something like an Oppo-93? Is there something else worth looking at? I would like it to be wireless.
The processor I'm looking at (Anthem MRX300) only has 4 HDMI inputs, so it may make sense to use something that is multi-functional.
I understand some Vudu devices can download movies instead of streaming, what are those options?
Thanks

I'd never heard of that RCA player; I may just buy one for the hell of it to play around with. At $39, no big deal.

Currently, VUDU players which can download and store include the PS3 and a couple of LG BD players with built-in 250 GB HDDs for local media storage (BD590 and BD690). Of course, the original VUDU STB, discontinued over a year ago, also stores downloads, if you can find one.

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post #1680 of 1941 Old 02-02-2012, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by michaeltscott View Post

I'd never heard of that RCA player; I may just buy one for the hell of it to play around with. At $39, no big deal.

Currently, VUDU players which can download and store include the PS3 and a couple of LG BD players with built-in 250 GB HDDs for local media storage (BD590 and BD690). Of course, the original VUDU STB, discontinued over a year ago, also stores downloads, if you can find one.

I saw that RCA player at Target in the $40 range as well.

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