VUDU announced today that you can browse, purchase and watch videos via the iPad. Deciding not to go the traditional route of creating an “app”, VUDU instead built out an iPad-optimized HTML version of their website located at http://www.vudu.com/movies. Going this route does not subject VUDU to Apple’s rules around purchases within the App Store. In another words, VUDU gets to keep all of the revenue and doesn’t have to share with Apple.
On the down side, it appears that only standard definition (SD) content will be available for viewing on the iPad. VUDU stated that their current agreements with content providers prevent them from streaming HD. Also, Disney content is not available on the iPad.
It’s interesting to note that the AirPlay control appears while watching VUDU video on the iPad. If you try to redirect the video to an AirPlay enabled device such as the Apple TV (and now the Boxee too!), it only redirects the audio not the video. HBO Go behaves the same way. It’s unclear to us if VUDU is going to change this down the road or not. Since we’re not interested in redirecting SD quality content to our HDTV, AirPlay support isn’t too important. However, if VUDU does re-negotiate its agreements with content providers to stream HD to the iPad, it would be important to anyone without a VUDU enabled device (i.e. Apple TV).