Walmart today launched a new service on its website that gives customers the option to purchase either a physical copy or a digital download for thousands of its video releases. The new service, offered in conjunction with Vudu, marks Walmart's entry into the streaming video industry.
Vudu is a digital video streaming service that offers thousands of movie titles at HD resolution for rental or purchase. The Vudu store offers 24 hour rentals from 99 cents and purchases from $4.99 that can then be played directly from the website. In addition to streaming the movies to your PC, Vudu is also supported by a list of over 300 devices that includes HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and most notably, the Playstation 3.
While Walmart has a long way to go before it rules the industry, the addition of Vudu to its online store comes as streaming video king Netflix faces criticism over its controversial new pricing plan.
Walmart purchased Vudu a year and a half ago, and today's move marks another step to integrate the video service into Walmart's general strategy for digital purchases. Walmart has offered "digital movie cards" in stores for a few months now that allowed customers to purchase Vudu movies at retail locations. In addition to the new streaming video options from Vudu Walmart also offers digital music downloads in its own online store.
To kick off the new service, customers can vote on Walmart's Facebook page to decide which movie the company will offer for rent for just 99 cents. While the selection includes real winners like Gnomeo and Juliet, I'd probably cast my vote for the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.