In North America, the PlayStation 3 currently plays host to Netflix, Hulu and Sony's own Video Marketplace. Now, Sony has decided to offer another video delivery service, bringing VUDU to American PS3s.
VUDU is a video marketplace that lets PS3 owners rent or purchase movies by streaming them. And while it may seem farcical to have a fourth video store on the one console, it does make some sense, as VUDU does something none of the existing stores do.
See, Netflix lets you stream movies, but you need a subscription. Hulu only does TV shows. The PlayStation Video Marketplace lets you make individual purchases, but they have to be downloaded to your console first. So VUDU fills that gap between the existing stores, letting users stream movies (that can be in HD and 5.1 surround sound) but not tying them to a subscription fee.
Rentals start at $2, but a recent HD movie looks like it'll set you back $4-6. As an incentive, those signing up for a VUDU account will get a $6 credit. Even if you never use the service again, a free movie is a pretty good deal.
Before you even ask, yes, this is a US-only deal. Sorry Canada, Europe, Australia and anyone else reading this from anywhere else!