VUDU Adds 3-D Streaming to Your Increasingly Dimensional Life

Only about 20% of TVs sold this year will support the feature, but Walmart, the company behind this video-streaming service, thinks that is going to change--and fast.


There aren’t that many movies in 3-D yet. And there are even fewer available for streaming. Plus only a handful of devices support the technology. But video-streaming service VUDU figures it has the ability to support 3-D movies, so why not flip the switch now?

At the Consumer Entertainment Show in Las Vegas, the Walmart-owned service announced that, starting today, customers who have the right devices (and glasses) will be able to view movies in 3-D. “Part of our strategy is to have as broad a footprint as possible and deliver the best streaming experience as possible,” CEO Edward Lichty told Fast Company.

Most PlayStations have 3-D capabilities, and about 20% of televisions sold this year will also support the feature. But Lichty expects that consumers will increasingly choose devices with the capability--“just as in 1999 and 2000, people were buying plasma TVs, even though there was not a ton of HD content at that point,” he said. “People want to future-proof as much as possible.”

Lichty believes VUDU will have a jump on the competition because his service, which launched in 2007, was built in such a way as to make adding 3-D capabilities a fairly simple proposition. Engineers only started implementing the change in the fall, Lichty said, following conversations with studio executives last summer about the role 3-D was playing in their roadmaps.

When it comes to home-viewing, movies are only part of the 3-D equation. While your run-of-the-mill sitcom will likely remain in old-school two dimensions, expect to see more sports and games dabbling in immersive experiences. ESPN already has a 3-D channel. And more and more gaming companies are releasing 3-D titles.

In the meantime, among other 3-D products to see pop up at CES this year: No-glasses 3-D TV, from Toshiba, and mobile 3-D, from LG.

E.B. Boyd's coordinates: Twitter, email.

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