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
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."