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Will cable companies hex Vudu?

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A former boss of mine is currently working for Vudu, the settop box maker that offers access to 13,000 high definition movies and TV shows. The company has slashed the price of the hardware, from $299 to $99. Ok, you got my attention.

But, the movies are downloaded via a broadband connection, and a high def movie is a few gigs in size. As a Comcast customer, I had only one make or break question: will my downloads count against the 250GB monthly limit?

"Yep."

Sorry, no sale for now.

I consume a fair amount of bandwidth even without theft of intellectual property (let's be real, what do you think people were doing when they downloaded 500GB or more per month?). I have no idea where I stand each month, although Comcast has said it has a meter in the works so we will know how much bandwidth we're using.

"We are in the process of creating a usage meter that will measure
consumption for the Comcast account which will be available in the
coming months. In the meantime, we offer a meter for free with our
McAfee security suite available at http://security.comcast.net/

When the amount of bandwidth consumed is tiny, like downloads from iTunes, usage caps are irrelevant. But now we're looking at a problem for Vudu's business model. My friend informed me that they estimate customers can download 50 movies per month, but that's assuming they don't use bandwidth for anything else.

And let's be honest, it is not in Comcast's best interests to help Vudu since it has its own on-demand offering with high def video.

Comcast's 250GB limit is generous. Word has it that Time-Warner cable is looking at limits as low as 40GB per month.

I have long considered moving to AT&T's high-speed service, or maybe Verizon's FIOS service. But I'm someone tech-savvy. An average user would just live with Comcast for cable and Internet, secure in not coming anywhere near 250GB of use per month, and use Comcast's on-demand service, which falls well short of the Vudu service. Let's face it, few people want to take the hard way out when it comes to technology.

Good luck to Vudu but they are in a tough position.

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