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Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Wal-Mart Launches Video Download Service


Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Tuesday introduced a test version of its new video download service, making it the first major retailer to offer such a service with the backing of all of Hollywood's big studios.

The service, which is powered by technology from Hewlett-Packard Co. , features more than 3,000 movies and television shows from 20th Century Fox , Disney , Lions Gate , MGM, MTV Networks , Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. , Wal-Mart said.

The downloads are priced from $1.96 for episodes of television shows to up to $19.88 for new movies.

The business of delivering video content on-demand over the Internet is a small but growing one, and becoming increasingly competitive and complicated, with such players as Netflix, CinemaNow and Movielink offering titles with differing rules attached, some for rent and some for sale.

The business got even more competitive Tuesday when Amazon.com said its service, Unbox, has teamed with TiVo Inc. so that downloaded movies can be viewed on TV screens.

While Amazon.com launched Unbox without movies from the Walt Disney Co., and iTunes offers only movies from Disney and Paramount, Wal-Mart boasts Disney and Pixar, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Sony, Universal, Warner Bros. Pictures, Lionsgate and MGM, as well as TV shows from Fox, Fox Reality, 20th Century Fox Television Classics, Comedy Central, VH1, MTV, Nickelodeon, the CW, Warner Bros. and more. Wal-Mart initially will not offer shows from ABC, CBS or NBC.

Wal-Mart also said it will bundle some titles, allowing consumers to buy the "Superman Returns" DVD and the digital download for a "small additional price."


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