Introducing Vdio: the new TV and movie streaming service from Rdio

Simple interface prioritises curated ‘top’ and ‘popular’ videos

Popular music streaming service Rdio has quietly launched a complementary video streaming service for TV shows and movies, challenging established players iTunes, Netflix and Hulu. A sneak preview of the Vdio service is currently only available to existing Rdio US and UK customers, but is expected to roll out more widely in the coming months.

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Australian availability is not a sure thing, but given Rdio’s Australian presence, it is looking more likely that Vdio will beat the US heavyweights to local shores.

Any customer that is currently subscribed to the all-you-can-hear Rdio Unlimited service in the US or UK — at a cost of US$10 or UK£5 per month — is able to access Vdio now, with a free $25 credit to trial the service.

The service is a direct rival to Apple’s iTunes Store for TV and movies, as well as established video streaming competitors Netflix and Hulu. Vdio is a pay-as-you-go service, unlike the monthly-subscription Rdio, with varying prices for movies and TV shows depending on the title’s age and distributor. Some titles, like the first episode of the Psycho-inspired Bates Motel, are available for free, and many TV shows include free previews.

The Vdio interface is visually similar to Rdio’s, with a sidebar of sub-menus dominated by a picture-heavy grid. The main menu shows a curated Spotlight section of popular or new releases, must-see movies and heavily-watched TV series.

Vdio revolves around ‘Sets’, user-generated playlists that can include both TV episodes, series and movies. A Rdio blog post introducing Vdio explains the concept:

“We’re introducing the notion of Sets ­— playlists for TV shows and movies — so anyone can make and share lists of their favorites, making it easier than ever to discover new stuff. Or, you can just check out what your friends are watching in the moment and jump in.”

For a tour of the new Vdio service, scroll down:

The main screen of Vdio.
The main screen of Vdio.

The TV Shows screen.
The TV Shows screen.

The Movies screen.
The Movies screen.

A screen for each TV series shows a series description, actors, and a list of episodes available.
A screen for each TV series shows a series description, actors, and a list of episodes available.

When you select a TV show and episode to watch, you're prompted to buy each one -- unless you buy an entire series.
When you select a TV show and episode to watch, you're prompted to buy each one -- unless you buy an entire series.

The screen for any particular movie is similar to that of a TV series, with a description, other info and a preview function that shows around two minutes of content.
The screen for any particular movie is similar to that of a TV series, with a description, other info and a preview function that shows around two minutes of content.

Choose a movie, and you can either rent or buy it. Renting lets you watch a movie as many times as you want in a single 24-hour window within a 30-day period after buying.
Choose a movie, and you can either rent or buy it. Renting lets you watch a movie as many times as you want in a single 24-hour window within a 30-day period after buying.

Like Rdio, you can choose Favourites using the heart symbol over any TV or movies on the grid.
Like Rdio, you can choose Favourites using the heart symbol over any TV or movies on the grid.

We made a set of 2013 Academy Awards nominees and winners -- most are available on Vdio.
We made a set of 2013 Academy Awards nominees and winners -- most are available on Vdio.

Once you buy a title, you're able to watch it straight away or continue browsing. Purchases are persistent, but rentals only last 30 days maximum.
Once you buy a title, you're able to watch it straight away or continue browsing. Purchases are persistent, but rentals only last 30 days maximum.

The in-browser video stream for <i>Skyfall</i>. Vdio's interface is clean and simple and doesn't have any superfluous sharing features.
The in-browser video stream for Skyfall. Vdio's interface is clean and simple and doesn't have any superfluous sharing features.

More <i>Skyfall</i>.
More Skyfall.

The Vdio full-screen mode takes up your entire PC's screen, adjusting the stream to suit. This is a 1920x1080 image, but since <i>Skyfall</i> has a cinematic aspect ratio there are black bars on top and bottom.
The Vdio full-screen mode takes up your entire PC's screen, adjusting the stream to suit. This is a 1920x1080 image, but since Skyfall has a cinematic aspect ratio there are black bars on top and bottom.

A capture from the preview of the <i>Defiance</i> TV series.
A capture from the preview of the Defiance TV series.

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Campbell Simpson

Campbell Simpson

PC World

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