We've got a soft spot for music-streaming service Rdio, it's got a nice app and the web interface is slick and easy-to-use. Now, it has launched Vdio, which - somewhat predictably - is a streaming video service. At the moment, you must be a Rdio subscriber to get access.
The idea is similar to any such service. Rather than a flat fee like Netflix though, you pay per download. You can either rent titles or buy them. Once you've done so, they will show in your "purchases" menu and are easily accessible. One thing we noticed in our look around though, is that when you select a purchase through the menu it takes you to the relevant show or movie page, which for TV shows means you have to hunt down the episodes you've bought again to watch them. This is a bit weird, honestly.
Pricing seems to be pretty much what you'd expect for a streaming pay-service, although it's arguably quite expensive, as most are. A new movie, like Argo, will cost £10 and season 1 of 24 costs £20. Those prices are identical to the iTunes SD versions of shows, and we assume - though we haven't been able to test - that Vdio's are SD, rather than HD.
In our test, we noted that the video uses protected Flash. We had some problems even getting trailers to stream to us though, which is a bit worrying. We'll have a tinker around and try to work out if that's our computer, or something weird at Rdio's end. It's worth pointing out that we don't have any problem with Netflix, which uses Silverlight. We've tried the tips in the help section, but we'll ask the Vdio people if they have any idea what's going wrong.
The selection seems quite good. There's some good stuff on here but, TV-wise, you'll find much the same on Netflix, and at a monthly price that's quite a bit cheaper than Vdio charges for even one season. It really depends how much you're going to be watching as to which service will be best for you.
Rdio premium subscribers will get a £20 credit to try out the service - which isn't bad, considering that equates to two movies or a whole TV season. You have to use your credit by the end of May though, so don't faff about making the decision about what to get. We'll spend a bit more time with the service, and let you know what we think.
UPDATE After we posted this, the Rdio technical team got in touch and spent a decent chunk of time trying to work out what was wrong. As it turns out, Windows 8 needs to be fully updated and rebooted. Do this, and you'll stream with no problems. Also, the quality appears to be very good, once you get over the first few seconds and the stream adapts to your bandwidth.