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VUDU's HDX titles compare to Blu-ray's picture quality

Ben Drawbaugh

There's nothing more annoying when you're enjoying HD than when the background starts moving when it's not supposed to. We know all to well what compression artifacts look like, and the lack of artifacts is one of many reasons why we just love to watch Blu-ray movies. So if you were disappointed to read about the less-than-stellar quality of VUDU's HD titles, you're probably wondering if the recently announced HDX titles live up to their name. We're happy to say that they do, and although we aren't anywhere near the biggest videophiles around, we're hard pressed to see a difference between the picture quality of VUDU's HDX movies and Blu-ray.

Unfortunately for VUDU, when it comes to home entertainment, picture quality isn't everything. Among the remaining barriers to acceptance over Blu-ray is the fact that although the movies are encoded with Dolby Digital Plus, the box is only capable of letting you enjoy old fashioned Dolby Digital -- either way, a far cry from TrueHD or DTS-HD. Oh, and you still can't own HD movies. And HDMI is required for any HD viewing. The download speed is limited to 4Mbps, so even if you have a 20Mbps connection, you'll still have to wait four hours for an HDX title to download. On top of all that, the box costs $300 and is a one trick pony -- even Blu-ray players sell for less now and can upconvert DVDs.

Even with all of these caveats, we could still see this being the perfect solution for an HD movie junkie, but there's the relatively limited selection of HD and HDX titles to contend with. So while we're very happy to see Vudu make an important step in the right direction, we're still not ready to jump on in.

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