Mitsubishi announced today that the VUDU on-demand movie service--normally delivered through a set-top box--will come baked into the circuitry of a couple of its new connected TV sets.
Mitsubishi says two of its new 1080p flat panel TVs--the 46-inch and 52-inch Diamond Unisen models (MSRP $2,599 and $3,099, respectively)--will come with the VUDU service inside. Both sets have an Ethernet port in back for direct internet access.
The TVs have just begun shipping to retailers, the companies say.
To warm new TV buyers up to the VUDU experience, Mitsubishi is even throwing in a couple of months of free VUDU movie rentals (up to $50 worth). VUDU says it now has more than 2,200 HD titles and 16,000 titles overall in its library. Later this month, the Mitsubishi TVs will begin streaming internet services from YouTube, Flickr, Picasa and Pandora as well.
VUDU and Mitsubishi have previously had a working relationship, wherein Mitsubishi shipped VUDU set-top boxes with some of its new TVs.
VUDU said earlier this summer that its service would be baked into LG's LH50 LCDs and PS80 plasma sets. A VUDU spokesperson says the VUDU service has just become live on the LG sets in the last few days. Vizio has also announced that its new sets will come with the VUDU service, but no word yet on when those sets will show up in stores.
VUDU's recent alliances are just the latest incremental developments in the movement of internet video into the living room TV. A group of major content players including YouTube, Netflix, Amazon VOD have moved quickly this year to supply the content. Virtually all major HDTV players have now announced content deals to feed video and other content to their "connected" TVs.
These direct-to-TV content agreements remove the need for a set-top box. When you think about it, the set-top box was always a bad idea, an awkward interim step. I'm surprised the things have lasted as long as they have.
This story, "VUDU Movie Service Baked Into New Mitsubishi HDTVs" was originally published by PCWorld.