Vudu has laid claim to being the first on-demand service operator to offer high-definition (HD) movies that can be downloaded to own, instead of just renting them.

Starting today, the movies are available for purchase by Vudu subscribers with the company’s 1080p Internet movie player.

Magnolia Picture's “Man on Wire,” the 2009 Academy Award-winning documentary, is among the first titles to be offered for purchase in HD from Vudu, along with independent movies “Transsiberian” and “War Inc.” from First Look Studios.

Vudu said today that it has more than 50 HD movies from top independent studios that are available for both rental and download to own. Movies offered in this collection will be available for purchase in both instant HD and Vudu's HDX format, at the same price.

"Consumers are clamoring for the ability to own digitally delivered titles in high-definition, especially in our HDX format, and we are excited to be the first in the industry to meet this consumer need," said Edward Lichty, Vudu’s executive vice president of strategy and content. "This is a watershed event for the industry, as well, signaling the studios' recognition of, and confidence in, digital delivery as an increasingly important part of their business. We expect to see a continuing expansion of digital rights in the coming months."

High-definition titles purchased from Vudu can be stored on the consumer's Vudu box or in the Vudu Vault, a free online storage option for movies and TV shows that enables consumers to free up disk space while still retaining access to all of their purchased titles. Vudu said the movies are priced between $13.99 and $23.99.

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