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.

VUVU

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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