Rdio made a name for itself by offering social recommendations to its streaming music subscribers. Now the company wants to do the same thing for movies and TV with Vdio, a new video rental, buying, and sharing site.
Rdio has been developing Vdio for years, but the service had been in beta until Wednesday. Only U.S. and UK Rdio users with Unlimited accounts will have access to the Web- and iPad-based Vdio; accountholders will receive a $25 credit for renting movies at $4 a pop or buying them for $15. Those prices are in line with other online movie renting/buying services, including ones from Apple and Amazon.
But with mainstream prices and plenty of other options, why pick Vdio? Because few rival services use your friends' tastes to recommend new films to you. iTunes doesn't, and neither does Amazon. Vdio lets you create Sets, or playlists of favorite movies and TV shows that you can share with your Facebook friends.
Netflix also now offers Facebook-sharing integration, but its focus is on subscription-based video streaming as opposed to renting and selling movies. Rdio is counting on that difference to entice its music subscribers to use Vdio.
So will Vdio strike fear in the hearts of Apple and Amazon? Probably not. Will social recommendations persuade users of other services to make the switch? Not likely, at least not while the service is linked to Rdio. Other sites let you rent or buy movies without tying those purchases to a streaming music subscription.
But for Rdio subscribers who want to discover new or underground movies that their friends like, Vdio seems like a promising option. According to GigaOM, Rdio plans to open the pay-per-view service to non-subscribers in the coming months.