When the Vunow first became available for purchase, the cost difference between the Standard Definition and the High Definition versions was $50 ($99 / $149 respectively).
To many, this $50 did not sound like a lot; most major news outlets dribbled on about how it just didn't seem to make sense to buy the Standard Definition version. I argued against them, but hey, I don't own an HDTV and I didn't like the idea of a 50% cost hike just in case someday I might get one.
The 50% price increase was also to pay for the additional codecs, etc used in the Premium Content Package - this is the part of Vunow firmware that provides all of the following (according to Vunow's homepage march 23rd 2009):
- Video Search
- Popular Websites
- CinemaNow (coming soon)
- Live Global Internet TV Channels
- Bit Torrent
- Personal Media
- Basic Codec Package
- Premium Codec Package
Right then, so what would the Vunow do without this upgrade? Not much. From the launch date, the Vunow SD version has come with a limited-time free upgrade to include the Premium Content Package. This free-upgrade was clearly labelled with a price tag of $29, but the side-note proclaimed it would be free for a limited time.
To be honest, however, while Verismo was not directly billing for this Premium Content Package, they have altered it many times. What started as just the Premium codecs has grown to include pretty much the entire functionality of the device. The firmware, then, has been content-wise identical between the SD and HD versions.
And so here we are today: The Vunow (all versions) will now come default with the Premium Content Package, just as before - only now you'll be paying for it. The original base price of $99 has been increased by roughly the advertised price of $29 for the premium upgrade, bringing the base price up to $129.
Can we blame them? No, I don't think so - the limited-time free offer has expired and now they are charging for what was once given away for free. The price difference is now only $20, or less than 16% of the cost of the SD unit. From this point onward, I agree with the knee-jerk reaction we once saw in the press: The SD unit (which I own) is no longer inexpensive enough, relative to the HD unit, to justify not buying the HD instead.
Big news media was (in my opinion) wrong, but after some time reality has molded into something they described quite well in December and earlier. Even a stopped watch is right twice a day.