November 28, 2006 8:40 AM PST

Latest toe in the movie download pond? Wal-Mart

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.

Wal-Mart Stores has entered the fledgling but growing market of movie downloads with a new service that bundles a digital copy of a film with the purchase of a hard copy of the DVD.

The movie download program, announced Tuesday, begins with sales of the DVD of the Warner Bros. flick Superman Returns. Starting Tuesday, when customers purchase the disc from Wal-Mart, they will be able to choose from one of three options for a digital copy: $1.97 for a download formatted for portable devices, $2.97 for one that's compatible with computers, and $3.97 for one that works on both portable devices and PCs. Then, upon returning to their computers, buyers of the Superman Returns bundled DVD can enter a redemption code on Wal-Mart's beta video download site and obtain the digital version.

Wal-Mart hopes to eventually expand this service to more DVD-digital download packages, as well as to standalone downloads of movies and TV shows in the coming months.

As for compatibility, there is some fine print. The Wal-Mart downloads that are compatible with portable devices will be in Windows Media Player format, which means that they'll play on all devices that accept that format--including Microsoft's new Zune--but not Apple's iPods. And the PC-compatible downloads will require the Windows XP operating system and Windows Media Player 10. Mac and Linux users, at least for now, need not apply.

The market for digital video downloads is tempting but often volatile for even the sturdiest of retailers. For many of the new services, like AOL Video, it's really too early to gauge success, or lack thereof.

But some movie download services have already received distinctly negative reviews. The blogosphere didn't take kindly to Amazon's "Unbox" software. And less than a week ago, Microsoft's highly anticipated Video Marketplace feature of its Xbox Live service experienced a noticeably rocky launch.

 
Correction: Due to incorrect information in a press release, this story included the wrong date for when Wal-Mart movie downloads would be available. They are available beginning Tuesday.

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc., portable device, digital video, download, movie

8 comments

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Does Wal-Mart still sell guns?
or do they have to buy them elsewhere when they get the desire
to shoot themselves in the foot?

Another Windows only download site? Who was it that said,
"Those that fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to
repeat them" ?
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What lessons?
Since when has targetting Window, which by the way, even Apple supports, been a shot in the foot?
Posted by maceyblack (6 comments )
Link Flag
or as...
Einstein said it: "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Posted by dondarko (261 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Zunes won't PlayForSure
Walmart will be providing their video content in a PlaysForSure format. Even though Microsoft developed PlaysForSure, their new Zune player does not support PlaysForSure. Which is a slap in the face to all of their partners that adopted that standard.
Posted by mikedelic01 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
There's a difference
Well, nobody seems to realize that Wal-Mart's strategy has a different tweak. The price they charge is low enough to be considered as a service fee. Personally, I am willing to pay the 2 bucks Wal-Mart to do their transcoding for me. PlayForSure? Not a problem to me, I have a Clix. I resist the iPod. I don't like things that many people like :-D Everybody hate Windows, fine, I use it. Everybody loves iPod, I am not buying it.
Posted by Pixelslave (101 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hunh?
Well, everyone likes chocolate, too. Do you eat chocolate? Well,
STOP!
Posted by jean.luc.picard (68 comments )
Link Flag
Dude, you're a windows user
You can't be more of a conformist than that. The only thing you
are missing IS an iPod.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Link Flag
Zune as Hindenburg
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/Home/37A4A383-9B55-4692-8A96-B1A44DAC0941_files/zuned.png" target="_newWindow">http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/Home/37A4A383-9B55-4692-8A96-B1A44DAC0941_files/zuned.png</a>

Hilarious. Check it out.
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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