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VUDU Goes HDX

VUDU Inc., has unveiled HDX, a high definition video format that delivers full HD 1080p material using the company's existing set-top box. Content is delivered over the Internet and optimized for 40 inch and larger HDTVs. According to VUDU, the HDX content is the highest quality available from any Internet, broadcast, cable, or satellite on-demand service. HDX movies are available to all VUDU customers and will be rented for the same price as standard HD titles.

HDX content is displayed in 1080p at 24 frames per second. While this sounds like it could be Blu-ray quality, the company never explicitly states it is the same as Blu-ray. They do say that HDX delivers twice the resolution of other Internet HD formats, offering an ultra-detailed and virtually artifact free picture on any size screen.

The image above shows a side by side comparison of standard definition and HDX. Image detail, especially in the cloud formations, is immediately apparent. It would have been more revealing to see a side by side of HDX versus VUDU's current HD quality.

HDX also provides surround sound with a 40 percent higher bit-rate than standard DVDs. The actual audio resolution, however, is not specified.

At the core of the HDX picture quality is VUDU's TruFilm™ technology, which is designed to optimize the encoding, transmission, and display of HDX movie using what they call Psychovisual Processing. This supposedly improves picture quality by enhancing details in dark areas of the picture, virtually eliminating dark area artifacts typical of Internet movies.

Their exclusive TruFilm technology also includes Film Grain Preservation, which ensures that the displayed picture remains true to the fine optical texture of the original film. Statistical Variable Bitrate allocates a higher encoding budget to high detail and high motion segments of the film, while preserving the ability to stream it over the Internet. And finally, Color Gradient Processing fine tunes the picture for optimal display on modern LCD and Plasma televisions.

Currently, VUDU has compiled a library of 65 films in the new HDX format and all newly released HD titles will be in the new format. VUDU plans to quickly deliver many recent releases and timeless classics in HDX, too. Consumers can order HDX movies directly on their VUDU set-top box or online at www.vudu.com/movies with delivery times expected to take a few hours, depending on the length of the movie ordered. VUDU will continue to offer HD titles in both HDX and instant HD formats, affording consumers the choice of ordering ahead for the higher quality HDX movie or renting HD movies that are delivered instantly to their TV.

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