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Wal-Mart Jumps Into Video Streaming

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the timing-is-everything dept.

Media 150

Endoflow2010 writes "Today Wal-Mart has added streaming video to their website. What better time to compete with Netflix, now that they have raised their prices? On Wal-Mart's website, the movies will be available the same day the DVDs go on sale in stores. Walmart.com general manager Steve Nave said the retailer is following its customers as they increasingly embrace digital movie rentals and purchases. 'We know customers are starting to shift their behavior, in terms of how they consume their media,' Nave said, adding, 'As as customers make that change, we don't want to lose that customer as they shift to digital.' Wal-Mart, long the nation's leading seller of DVDs, signaled its intent to double down on digital movie distribution in February 2010, when it spent a reported $100 million to acquire Vudu, a Silicon Valley start-up that was gradually being added to home entertainment devices."

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150 comments

Voddler (1)

m2vq (2417438) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889088)

For Europeans there's Voddler [voddler.com] , which is basically Spotify but for movies and tv shows. Both are much better than their US counterparts, too.

Re:Voddler (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889096)

Yes, but nobody cares about the Europeans.

Re:Voddler (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889386)

Europeans are fags.

Re:Voddler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889396)

Voddler is trash... Can't imagine anyone seriously trying to use it.

Re:Voddler (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889708)

What a troll.

2 minutes looking at their site shows:

1) Voddler has about 2500 movie titles, most of which aren't even new releases - lots of crappy direct to video. Vudu/Walmart and Netflix have 5-10x that, and Vudu has new releases.
2) They are not even remotely like Spotify, they charge per title VOD for their movies, somewhere around US $3-4 per 24 hour rental. Same as everyone else.
3) They aren't watchable on any TV or BD players like other services, which are available on almost every consumer device and game console these days
4) As far as I can tell, they don'y even have HD. Netflix does, and Vudu has 1080p.

Doesn't even compare.

Re:Voddler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889818)

I am curious as to why you say that it is better than what the US has. In what way?

Re:Voddler (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889884)

Its not. It costs $6 just to rent a single movie and their free movies are lame. So, for what it costs for netflix streaming, for 1 month, voddler will allow you 1.5 movies. And for netflix streaming and 1 DVD/Blue-ray, it is like 3 movies from voddler. I will stick with Netflix.

Useless (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889114)

Streaming is useless when ISPs keep adding more caps.

Many ISPs are also cable-television providers and they're doing their best to smother this baby while it's still in the crib.

--
BMO

Re:Useless (2)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889348)

Bandwidth caps should be taken away during those times when usage is low, similar to cell phone plans with free unlimited nights and weekends. Then you could schedule your movie downloads for the wee hours and watch them the next day.

Re:Useless (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889388)

Who said download.. this is streaming, meaning evenings and weekends would be higher use.. not necessarily overnight (11pm-5am) though...

Re:Useless (2)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889736)

They should invent something like... prestreaming. So like say I want to watch Harry Potter tonight. But I know he internet will be like busy. So I tell my TV to prestream it this morning so that when I go back to watch it tonight. It's like already there.

You could load it with down pipe. I think I just discovered my first patent!

Re:Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889882)

Caching?

Re:Useless (1)

ManTaboo (2027174) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890148)

He must work for Microsoft.

Re:Useless (3, Funny)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890680)

Excellent! I think they should add another layer. Say like when I know what I want to watch 2-14 Buisiness days (M-F) from now, I could tell them and they'd send it to me on some type of disc and I could watch it whenever I got it and send it back when I was done. ;)

Re:Useless (1)

milkmage (795746) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890722)

probably because the MPAA said NO... even if the file is held in memory, there's a chance someone could save it permanently (for archival purposes, of course)

Re:Useless (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889688)

Bandwidth caps are fine. Data transfer caps are not. If it's 3am and nobody is online, it shouldn't matter if you're maxing your speed out. If it's during the busiest point of the day and too many people are doing too much, then throttling bandwidth a little bit to fairly serve everyone is fine, too. Either way, how much actual data you consume in a month is fucking irrelevant. At least, that's the way it would be if the industry were rational and honest and not trying to scaremonger people into believing that "oh noes, it is a finite and rare resource!".

Great Idea (4, Funny)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889700)

Bandwidth caps should be taken away during those times when usage is low, similar to cell phone plans with free unlimited nights and weekends. Then you could schedule your movie downloads for the wee hours and watch them the next day.

That is just too fucking awesome: people want to time-shift streaming to make it cheaper, more efficient, and less painfully laggy. Don't get me wrong: it is a good idea. I sincerely like it. Who wants to stream when the network is at its busiest?

Then, next, all you need to do is have multiple recipients for each stream (no problem getting people to synchronous their receipt, since they're time-shifting anyway; this is a job for a computer!), so that you can reap the advantages of broadcast or multicast. For a popular TV show with n viewers, this would lead an an up-to-n-fold increase in efficiency on some segments of the network. For large values of n that is truly a no-brainer.

And then you will have invented something new and patent worthy. Call it "cable television combined with DVR." It would be awesome tech, similar to what people will be using in the year 2000.

Re:Great Idea (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889822)

It would be awesome tech, similar to what people will be using in the year 2000.

Conan, is that you?

Re:Useless (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889804)

We had those here in Portugal, before we moved to unlimited. We had 20GB/month to use (for a 512Kbps package), but then between 1am and 9am it was "happy hours," where it didn't count.

Of course, P2P clients with scheduling to connect/disconnect at designed times where very popular.

Re:Useless (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890412)

at designed times

Oi, eu falo Portugese fluente (mais, de Brasil, nao de ai). I wanted to constructively say that the correct word is "designated". And also, that the root appears to be the same in both cases: "design"; it is something planned by a human, whether designing something (creating, drawing, etc); or designating something (classifying, demarcating, stating a time at which it will happen, etc).

Cheers!

Re:Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889584)

It's only useless if you're a couch potato (someone who watches 8 hours of TV per day) or if you have kids and you pay for only 1 Internet plan. I'm normally lucky if I see 2 movies in a week, so my monthly bandwidth is around 10 and 20 GB. During one month I went overboard, and I streamed a shitload of Netflix TV episodes: 80 to be precise, all of them downloaded at 3600Kbps. IIRC my usage for that period was 140 GB. Which makes sense, as the avg episode size was 1.5GB.

So unless all the streaming platforms move exclusively to 1080p H.264 5ch high-bitrate support (aka true HD), then I'll never have to worry about going over.

Re:Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36890056)

Walmart is one of the few companies who could create and market their own nationwide ISP service with petty cash. If Walmart goes to AT&T or Verizon and tells them exactly that, we'll have caps on everything except Walmart streaming video. Or, being Walmart, drop a subtle hint that this might adversely affect shelf space for AT&T or Verizon phones and tablets.

Re:Useless (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890312)

I have a wife, 4 kids, and a netflix-enabled TV that we all use to watch streaming video. And my son in particular watches way too much youtube. We have never come even close to hitting the Comcast limit of 250 GB / mo.

Re:Useless (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890520)

>We have never come even close to hitting the Comcast limit of 250 GB / mo.

That's because what you're streaming isn't HDTV.

HDTV streaming will wipe that out by the 15'th of the month.

1080i HDTV (30 full frames/sec) is 25Mb/second, roughly.
BluRay (60 frames/second 1080p) is 40, roughly.

So let's just use 1080i for now and ignore BluRay.

25Mb/sec is roughly 2.5MB/sec. This is roughly 9GB/hr. 9 guzinta 250 27.7 times, or 27hours 40 minutes of video.

You can wipe that out in a week normal viewing. As it stands now, the only way you can watch streamed video and not hit your cap is if it's upscaled DVD quality.

--
BMO

Re:Useless (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890670)

Some of the netflix is HD, but it's true even that bitrate is much less than broadcast TV. Still it looks better than DVD. Sure, I hope they will raise or eliminate the cap as more HD content becomes available for streaming. But calling it "useless" today is hyperbole.

Re:Useless (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890744)

You don't seem to understand...

ISPs that are also cable companies (comcast, cox, twc, etc) will guarantee that streaming is "shit tier" third-class/steerage class video and the only way you can get actual HDTV (why else did you buy a flat panel tv?) is to buy into one of the cable "bundles." HDTV streaming will simply run into a cap by the end of the week and you'll be SOL for the rest of the month.

Because of this, the cable companies will retain their monopoly over HD content. This is by design. It is bullshit and anti-competitive. They are deliberately having you over a barrel as a customer.

This is why Netflix is fighting caps in the US and Canada.

--
BMO

Re:Useless (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890316)

So walmart will team with Google and become an ISP. Then offer tiered network access where if you stream from them, it doesn't apply to your monthly cap.

Canada anyone? (1)

101010_or_0x2A (1001372) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889122)

Any idea if a similar service will be offered by Walmart Canada? While Netflix in Canada is currently priced at about half of the US price ($7.99 pm), the spectrum of movies and shows is pretty pathetic. I'd happily shell out $16 pm for what you guys in the U.S get. Of course I still subscribe in-spite of the crappy selection, since the documentaries are alright, and $8 pm = a few coffees!

Re:Canada anyone? (2)

m2vq (2417438) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889202)

Canada should join Europe instead, we have Spotify and Voddler here.

Re:Canada anyone? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889844)

Voddler is missing so many classics it's not even funny. From what I can tell, its collection is basically popular trash with a couple of exceptions. It doesn't even have The Godfather.

Re:Canada anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889964)

Spotify is more or less dead and Voddler sucks major ass. I use a VPN to get Netflix, wouldn't be caught dead using Voddler ever again.

Re:Canada anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889236)

Canada's Netflix is streaming-only, so please compare to the streaming-only US price, thank you.

Also I am not interested in the Pay-Per-View model that Wal-Mart offers. I can get that from my cable operator and it won't cost internet bandwidth. It's also unclear what kind of DRM is used on the digital movie purchases.

Re:Canada anyone? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889930)

Go to Voddler and you will see that it is 37SEK for a 24 hour movie rental. That is $6 to rent a movie vs. $9 to rent unlimited monthly streaming on netflix. m2vq is spamming.

Re:Canada anyone? (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889504)

Canada always gets left out of (or ripped off by) these buffet style streaming services (be it music, movies, or whatever) because no one wants to go through the hassle of negotiating licensing fees for such a small market.

And until that stops happening, just keep riding the bit torrent wave.

Re:Canada anyone? (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889870)

Canada always gets left out of (or ripped off by) these buffet style streaming services (be it music, movies, or whatever) because no one wants to go through the hassle of negotiating licensing fees for such a small market.

I thought you guys were already the clear by paying a small tax on your CD-R disks?

Re:Canada anyone? (1)

RobinH (124750) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890602)

Canada always gets left out of (or ripped off by) these buffet style streaming services (be it music, movies, or whatever) because no one wants to go through the hassle of negotiating licensing fees for such a small market.

I thought you guys were already the clear by paying a small tax on your CD-R disks?

That's only for music, not video/movies/TV shows.

Re:Canada anyone? (1)

TheABomb (180342) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889990)

Netflix in the States is also $7.99, but in Contintentals. In Loonies, that's $7.54.

So it's 1.06x the US price, not 0.5x.

Re:Canada anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36890170)

Netflix in the States is also $7.99, but in Contintentals. In Loonies, that's $7.54.

So it's 1.06x the US price, not 0.5x.

I believe you mean ~0.94x the price (the Loonie is worth more than the Continental).

Obligatory (3, Insightful)

ekimd (968058) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889162)

But will it support Linux?

Re:Obligatory (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889380)

Only in proprietary Linux-based devices, with DRM'd software on top... duh.

Re:Obligatory (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889482)

While that's a fair prediction, they might easily support Linux simply by choosing Flash over, say, Silverlight, or by using HTML5 video -- that'd get them iDevices without having to pay Apple a 30% cut. They certainly wouldn't do so out of a desire to support Linux, but there are other reasons to prefer these.

So, if you actually know what's going on, do you have technical details? Do they use Flash, Silverlight, HTML5, ActiveX? Did they completely roll their own?

Re:Obligatory (4, Informative)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889732)

It's Flash-based, so it does support Linux if you install the latest Flash plugin.

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36890584)

I bet someone will add it to the FlashVideoReplacer Firefox extension, if it really becomes relevant. Then, just like YouTube, Vimeo and others, you can use your normal (embedded, or maybe even non-embedded) video player.

Not unlimited = no competition for Netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889164)

On Wal-Mart's website, the movies will be available the same day the DVDs go on sale in stores. Rental prices range from 99 cents to $5.99. Digital purchases are priced from $4.99 to $24.99.

Right. This is just the standard Pay Per View and Digital Store, not a competitor for Netflix since there's no unlimited streaming. I signed up for Netflix for the unlimited streaming. I do not want to pay per-movie ($7.99/mo will just allow you to watch 8 $0.99 movies for the month and you're at the same price level).

Re:Not unlimited = no competition for Netflix (2)

Tenareth (17013) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889368)

But it is competition for Amazon Unbox.

Re:Not unlimited = no competition for Netflix (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889564)

But are the content cartels really going to allow unlimited streaming for their most prized movies at any point in the near future?

Personally I don't mind "renting" a really good movie to stream it, as long as the price is in the $0-$2 range.

Re:Not unlimited = no competition for Netflix (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890470)

In general, probably not(certainly not on theatre or even DVD release day...) Selectively, in the attempt to assert power over a player they consider dangerous, quite possibly.

Consider the music case: once the labels realized that they had fucked up and let Apple get the upper hand, rather than the other way round, they cut some fairly sweetheart deals on pricing for Amazon in order to try to limit the power of the single middleman.

In the case of video, the pre-existing cable based VOD services mean that Netflix isn't quite as terrifying; but it is definitely conceivable that, in order to assist a competitor, and increase the competitive squeeze among video streaming middlemen, one or more members of Team Content might throw a few exclusive streaming selections to some of the weaker players.

Problem.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889168)

They are the same price as Apple is. At least my $99.00 appleTV will play all the videos on my iTunes. Granted they are partnering with Roku, but they need to be cheaper to compete.

Re:Problem.... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889758)

You can play the iTunes videos on your AppleTV. And Netflix & Vudu can be played on just about any networked TV or Blu Ray player sold in the last couple years, and a bunch of game consoles and set-top boxes...

I bet they (2)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889188)

sell more DVDs than anyone else for a bunch of reasons other than that they have the best DVDs available. The concept that content is king will be more important online than it is for stacking DVDs high and selling them cheap.

Re:I bet they (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889568)

but Walmart is just that... the golden goose for Publishers selling DVDs. The Studios used Walmart to leverage out everybody else from the DVD business... Walmart can pretty much do what it wants... Studio piss Walmart off, they have a significant portion of the market hostage that simply WON'T physically buy DVDs anywhere else.

Re:I bet they (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889770)

Exactly. If Walmart says "I want streaming new movies" you can bet your ass they WILL get new movies to stream, as Walmart can crush the sale of DVDs for any company they wish just by product placement. You walk into any Supercenter they have the new releases right by the checkout in kiosks for $10-$20 each so they can snatch the impulse buyers and in the electronics dept they have HUGE bins of movies for $3 and $5 for the frugal.

All Walmart will have to do to those that won't play ball is say "Fine, while your competitors get the kiosks at the checkout YOUR new releases will be stuffed against the back wall of the electronics dept and priced above MSRP." and then the studio will watch their sales nosedive while the competitors will take one look at the figures and do what Walmart says. Hell look at Walmart has done with the "Walmart phone" which frankly stomps the plans in many areas. you get unlimited minutes AND texts for $45, no contract. For those that just want to talk and text (a VERY large market) it is practically a no brainer.

So I wouldn't be so quick to write them off. Walmart usually tests the waters before jumping in but if Walmart wants in on a market just by their sheer size and buying power they WILL get a shot at that market. Whether they decide it is worth the effort or drop it like their music service? Who knows but I bet they are looking at the $$$ Netflix is rolling in and thinking how much they'd like that for themselves.

Netflix (1, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889230)

Today Wal-Mart has added streaming video to their website. What better time to compete with Netflix, now that they have raised their prices?

Netflix actually lowered the price customers pay to get the most comparable service to the Wal-Mart offering (streaming-only), as well as for disc-only service; the only people who saw price increases were those people who want both streaming and DVD delivery, which

Re:Netflix (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889298)

No, they raised the price. Used to be you got discs for $8 and streaming was free. Then the two of them were $11, meaning streaming went up to $3. Now to get the same thing it costs you $16. They raised the price on streaming. If you were only streaming while you had the ability to get discs, too, then you were choosing to pay $11 for a streaming-only account. That's not what its price was, it was just what you decided to pay for it. Since their streaming has a limited selection and degraded quality (no 1080p, bad throughput issues, etc.) it isn't worth as much as getting the same movie on a disc. Its only advantage is the fast turnaround, which isn't worth what the quality and limitation cost it.

Re:Netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889652)

If you can't buy it unbundled, and all you want is streaming, and the bundle is 11$, then streaming costs 11$ and you happen to get something you don't want along with it but that's not relevant since you don't want it. The games they play with prices like this are there to confuse you, don't be confused by it.

Re:Netflix (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890178)

So if you want snow tires and the only way to get them is by buying a Bronco, snow tires are the price of a Bronco.

Only to you.

Re:Netflix (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890376)

No, they raised the price. Used to be you got discs for $8 and streaming was free. Then the two of them were $11, meaning streaming went up to $3. Now to get the same thing it costs you $16. They raised the price on streaming.

No, streaming is still $8 (because there never was a way to get "just the streaming" without the DVDs). You just don't get the DVDs as of August if you change your plan to streaming-only.

Since their streaming has a limited selection and degraded quality (no 1080p, bad throughput issues, etc.)

The quality of recent streams has improved substantially. On my 52" HDTV, "Weeds" and "Dexter" look great, as do most other streams (mostly Korean movies). I've *never* had a stream suffer due to throughput issues. I would suggest if you've had throughput issues, you should talk to your Internet provider, and not blame Netflix.

it isn't worth as much as getting the same movie on a disc

Not if time means nothing to you. Streaming is instant; having a DVD sent to you is on average two days.

Re:Netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889322)

Wrong. The streaming-only plan stayed the same at $7.99 a month.

Re:Netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889506)

Netflix actually lowered the price customers pay to get the most comparable service to the Wal-Mart offering (streaming-only), as well as for disc-only service; the only people who saw price increases were those people who want both streaming and DVD delivery..

Wrong. That's like saying AT&T lowered their wireless data package price from $30 (unlimited) to $15 (250mb). Unless you actually believe aT&T Did the Right Thing®, too?

Re:Netflix (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889588)

Which is most folks because the streaming library is a joke. Right now the discs only option is comparably priced to Blockbuster if you get the Bluray upgrade to Netflix. Plus Blockbuster includes PS3, Wii and Xbox360 game rentals in that price.

Folks that were streaming only had an option for that already.

Re:Netflix (1)

ManTaboo (2027174) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890240)

I had no idea you could get games with a Blockbuster subscription. I have been paying for both Netflix and Gamefly for two years now, WTF!?

vudu (0)

FliesLikeABrick (943848) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889244)

Doesn't wal-mart already own VUDU.com and has for some time now?

Re:vudu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889312)

Doesn't wal-mart already own VUDU.com and has for some time now?

Dude, I know it is /. so you did not read an article but from the summary: "in February 2010, when it spent a reported $100 million to acquire Vudu,"

Even if it was the best and the cheapest... (2)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889250)

... I wouldn't touch it. I just don't do business with Wal-Mart for a number of reasons. Of course, I'm just one person among hundreds of millions who just don't care where they spend their money.

Re:Even if it was the best and the cheapest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889336)

... I wouldn't touch it. I just don't do business with Wal-Mart for a number of reasons. Of course, I'm just one person among hundreds of millions who just don't care where they spend their money.

Haha, the hundreds of millions who shop there do so precisely because they care where their money goes.

Re:Even if it was the best and the cheapest... (4, Insightful)

WillDraven (760005) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889428)

... I wouldn't touch it. I just don't do business with Wal-Mart for a number of reasons. Of course, I'm just one person among hundreds of millions who just don't care where they spend their money.

Haha, the hundreds of millions who shop there do so precisely because they care where their money goes.

Not exactly. They don't care where it goes, they just care how much of it is going.

Re:Even if it was the best and the cheapest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889470)

As a Walmart employee, I'm glad some goes to my pocket.

Re:Even if it was the best and the cheapest... (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889576)

So you think that the hundreds of millions of people who shop there WANT to contribute to employees and manufacturers being treated poorly? I doubt that. I think that most people just don't care about anything other than how much money is in their wallet. I think it's greed, pure and simple.

Censored? (3, Interesting)

c_jonescc (528041) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889256)

I know Wal-Mart sells censored versions of CDs. Will they be doing the same with the movies, or is there a reasonable expectation that the streaming movie will be the same as I would see in the theater or on Netflix?

Unclear convo:
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=85664

Re:Censored? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889306)

Do they sell only the censored versions? That'd be lame, but not out of character.

I don't buy stuff from Wal-mart, except in emergencies. Nor will I buy this from them. But if it forces Netflix to retract some of their egregious price-hike, then more power to Wal-mart.

Re:Censored? (0)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889566)

I have purchased DVDs in the past that were censored. I knew this because I had seen the originals and the dub didn't match the lip movements, and a couple of scenes were missing. Upon inspection, it mentioned it on the box in very small print.

I don't buy CDs or DVDs from WalMart anymore for that very reason. It's just wrong to get a movie with all the bad language dubbed over, it takes a lot of the edge of out some movies. There are too many other places that only sell the originals at the same price for me to bother.

NetFlix is cheap enough for me. At $17/month for streaming and one DVD, I have plenty of choices. There are tons of old movies I haven't seen or TV shows that I want to watch again that keep my instant queue filled up. And in Phoenix, I get three day turnaround on movies, if I get a movie today, watch it tonight, and put it in the mail tomorrow, I'll get my next one three days after I got the first one (excluding Sundays and holidays of course). So without too much effort, that's 5 or 6 DVDs a month. It may not be the cheapest deal, but it's good enough for me and I am pretty far from running out of things to watch.

Re:Censored? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889618)

Only is somewhat subjective, they made Nirvana relabel "Rape Me" to "Waif Me" for the CD release they carried and they refuse to carry and discs which have a content warning label on them. So, groups don't have to do it, but they're pretty much the biggest retailer of music these days so refusing to issue an acceptably edited disc is throwing a huge portion of the potential market away.

Re:Censored? (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890460)

I now understand much better Celo Green's "Forget You"... (I consider it a work of art, even before knowing the Wal-Mart connection, simply because hearing the censored version on the radio, I sing the non-censored version to it, so it's somewhat viral.)

Re:Censored? (1)

theycallmeB (606963) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890636)

They sell censored CDs (or at least used to), slap black plastic covers over some of the magazines ... and sell the raunchiest 'unrated' DVDs in the eye level racks facing the main aisles.

Sam Walton, the source of the old 'family friendly' policies, is dead and the money men running Walmart now are not going to add restrictions that reduce the in-flow of money unless they have to.

are they edited movies? (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889264)

Walmart had a habit (still do?) of editing songs on CDs it thought weren't family appropriate material. Are they doing the same with movies? Are Walmart movies like the airline version where cursing is badly overdubbed and the nude scenes are cut?

Step 3: Divide & Conquer (3, Insightful)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889266)

The MAFIAA standard plan to releasing content on the internet while maintaining control of the distribution chain:

  • 1) Let a company license it for cheap. It's either an end-of-life service that lets them make a few more pennies on content that's long since been monetized, or should it for some reason take off, this will help build up demand.
  • 2) Should it catch on, jack up the contract prices so that it doesn't undercut other media sales.
  • 3) License the same content to a financially sound natural competitor of the company in #1, so that they can bleed company #1 of customers.
  • 4) After company #1 has been sufficiently weakened, jack up the contract prices on company #2 and all further companies.
  • 5) Profit. Internet distribution is handled through a number of smaller providers engaged in bitter competition, so they won't work together and they don't have the individual clout to dictate any of the terms of future contacts.

The MAFIAA learned their mistake from iTunes, where they waited until it was too late to try to stop Apple. And while they eventually got variable pricing, they still had to give Apple more control than they're comfortable with - it still makes them rage to this day. They aren't going to make the same mistake with films and TV shows: no single competitor will be allowed to get big enough to dictate contract terms. It will be the studios who make a profit and the studios who anyone has to go through to publish content; the role of the distributors is to distribute content as cheap as possible for the studios.

And thus we're on Step 3. WalMart is the competitor the studios are setting up to combat Netflix. When Netflix is sufficiently bled, WalMart will then have their contract prices increased just as Netflix had.

Re:Step 3: Divide & Conquer (4, Insightful)

Tenareth (17013) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889424)

Small problem with that plan is that for #4, Walmart would have to cave... if there is one thing that Walmart has shown to be outrageously good at, it is controlling their suppliers' pricing.

Re:Step 3: Divide & Conquer (3, Insightful)

WillDraven (760005) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889484)

I would be leery of trying this tactic if I were the studios. At least with WalMart. WalMart has enough leverage in the retail business to destroy anyone who messes with them. WalMart could simply threaten to no longer carry the studios DVDs if they don't play ball and the studio would have to buckle, unless they wanted to lose 30-40% of their DVD sales.

Re:Step 3: Divide & Conquer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36890562)

Or any related licensed product. Think about the hit they could give to Disney if they tried to charge too much for Toy Story 3 streaming license. Walmart could stop selling all Disney related products for a while.

The beginning of the end for Netflix? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889288)

This comment was posted on another site and annoyed the hell out of me.

Walmart is competing with iTunes and Amazon which are all pay per view streaming $0.99 - $5.99 a pop. Netflix's only real competition is Blockbuster and Hulu who all offer flat fees. When Walmart offers unlimited digital streaming for $7.99 including current releases then it will be the beginning of the end for Netflix.

Here's my Concern (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889292)

I recently bought a Samsung TV. I really like it; one of the cool things about it is that I can play AVI and various other types of video\music files on the TV from a USB stick or external hard drive. As far as I can tell, there are no "protection" measures at all; it'll play whatever is on the drive (even some MKVs!). With Walmart getting into the content streaming game, what are the odds that media companies might start to lean on Walmart to push "protection" of digital content? Walmart's known for pushing vendors around; what are the chances that Wally World starts to act as content police and begins telling vendors to remove features like the one I described above? I'm only concerned because when content creators and content providers get chummy, things tend to get more restricted.

Re:Here's my Concern (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889610)

I bought a Samsung TV recently too. Our first HDTV. (One of our non-HDTVs died and needed to be replaced.) I tried out the USB port last night using a spare USB thumb drive with some photos, MP3s and MPEG video files. It worked beautifully. That feature alone would make me more likely to buy a Samsung TV in the future when our non-HD, CRT television in the living room fails.

Re:Here's my Concern (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889866)

On the other hand, Walmart could just as easily put their pressure on the movie studios to drop the prices of rentals so we don't have to pay $4-$6 for a current movie...

Not competition for Netflix... (2)

Treskin (555947) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889402)

From the article, this is not an unlimited streaming service like Netflix or Hulu. This is a video-on-demand service like iTunes (and plethora other similar stores) where you have to pay for every item you download, either as a rental or a purchase. Yes, you can get titles the same day the are released on DVD -- for a $25 download price.

Re:Not competition for Netflix... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889474)

Thank you! Why is everyone ignoring this? It drives me crazy! Until I can get an all-you-can-eat netflix style pricing, I'm not making the jump to watch two movies and pay as much as unlimited movies with Netflix. Yes, I'll sacrifice the movie/tv selection.

Walmart Censors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889414)

Walmart has a history of selling music that was edited for content. I don't see that being a good thing for video.

So? (1)

jkmartin (816458) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889422)

Late to the party and offering nothing new. Walmart briefly offered a Netflix competitor (DVD rentals by mail) not long ago...they sold it to Netflix. This is another dead end.

You're both banned. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889492)

Tell 'em, Steve Nave!

Are they getting rid of Redbox? (1)

mj1856 (589031) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889526)

Several of the Wal-Mart's near me have RedBox machine's in their entrance lobby. I wonder if they are going to remove them to not compete with their online offering? I realize RedBox isn't streaming, but if I'm Wal-Mart, I will probably want to direct customers to purchase online from me, instead of giving up valuable revenue when those customers come to my store to purchase from my new competitor.

Re:Are they getting rid of Redbox? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889624)

I would think that Redbox would be more in competition with Wal-Mart's in-store DVD sales than with their online streaming service.

Re:Are they getting rid of Redbox? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889636)

I doubt it. The reason being that in order to use those machines you'd have to visit those stores. At any rate, I doubt this detracts from their rentals anymore than the Redbox option detracts from their DVD sales in store.

Enough with the "digital" crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889562)

Newsflash: DVDs are digital, have been since they came out.

Please stop calling each new wave of technology "switching to digital" -- practically everything is digital already; I know it's hard, but you'll just have to bite the bullet and get half a clue what you're talking about so you can describe it. In this particular case, "internet", "on-line", "streaming", and/or "not a big truck" may be useful.

Re:Enough with the "digital" crap. (3, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889714)

Newsflash: DVDs are digital, have been since they came out.

Please stop calling each new wave of technology "switching to digital" -- practically everything is digital already; I know it's hard, but you'll just have to bite the bullet and get half a clue what you're talking about so you can describe it. In this particular case, "internet", "on-line", "streaming", and/or "not a big truck" may be useful.

Over the past few weeks I'd grown concerned that some horrific accident had decimated the ranks of overly-pedantic Slashdot users - I'm glad to find out you're okay!

Re:Enough with the "digital" crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36889772)

Argh, my mod points just expired. Mod parent +6 Informative!

Hopefully Wal-Mart will bend over content producer (1)

Bloodwine77 (913355) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889622)

It would be nice to see Wal-Mart push their weight around and lower streaming licensing costs. Netflix is reportedly going from around $180 million in licensing fees to $1.98 billion in licensing fees in 2012. If Wal-Mart could shatter the greedy content producers then not only Wal-Mart, but also other streaming providers like Netflix could possibly expand their streaming libraries and not have to hike subscrption plans in the process.

Yea, when I think 'quality' (1)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 2 years ago | (#36889754)

... I think "walmart'

Why is Walmart going into video streaming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36890054)

Walmart's skill is its physical distribution network, and numerous bricks and mortar stores. Which of these benefit Walmart in operating data streaming over the internet?

Re:Why is Walmart going into video streaming? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890644)

Walmart actually has a pretty substantial datacenter back-end for doing logistics, supply chain, and stocking decisions stuff. They are a touch cagey about just how substantial.

More importantly, though, Walmart's vast physical distribution network makes it one of the major sellers of DVDs, which puts it in a helpful position when negotiating with studios over the price of streaming a given video a given number of times. With their clout in that area, they just have to not be worse than other CDNs(or, if they are, hire one or more CDNs to do it for them) in order to offer a competitive price.

Wake me when... (1)

falken0905 (624713) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890360)

Wake me when streaming video looks as good as Blu-Ray (or even DVD), has 5.1 DTS sound, lets me select chapters, has special features, etc. I didn't buy an expensive 62" high-def display, Oppo BD player, component surround sound system, and nice speakers so I can watch the crap quality of what Netflix and everyone else today calls HD. Even with 15 mbps cable internet it still looks and sounds like crap compared to BD and DVD. I've been a faithful Netflix customer for quite a long time and gladly pay the extra fee for BD and the new rates. But, it's becoming obvious that Netflix and all the other providers want to completely eliminate disks and go solely with streaming to cut costs and increase profit. I'm an old guy so let me just say - BAH!

Re:Wake me when... (2)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#36890786)

I didn't buy an expensive 62" high-def display, Oppo BD player, component surround sound system, and nice speakers so I can watch the crap quality of what Netflix and everyone else today calls HD.

Simple, sell them and get a 32". You can now watch Neflix and what everyone calls HD today, will really be HD, and be equivalent to even bluray.

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