VUDU Offers HD Movies for Purchase On Demand

The beleaguered set-top box movie service VUDU announced today that it will now make HD movies available for purchase, and it claims it is the first such on-demand service to do so.

Right now, the pickin’s are quite slim for those interested — only 50 HD movies will be available for purchase, and you won’t be able to buy any blockbusters. Participating studios are FirstLook, Kino and Magnolia, offering titles including War, Inc., Transsiberian and the Oscar-winning Man on Wire. As films are added from these studios, they will be available for purchase day and date with the DVD release. Movies will cost between $13.99 and $23.99. Purchased films can be stored on a consumer’s box or in the VUDU Vault, a free online storage option for customers.

VUDU recently slashed the price of its set-top box down to $150, citing strong holiday sales and lower component costs. But cost reductions and the ability to purchase indie movies aren’t going to move the needle for VUDU. The industry is either adding services to existing devices (Netflix (s NFLX) on Blu-Ray and Xbox), providing a lower cost option (Amazon (s AMZN) and Netflix on the $99 Roku) or dumping the notion of a set-top box altogether (net-connected TVs).