Walmart Launches DVD Download Service

Walmart is at it again. Setting the standards for video downloads they offer an exclusive deal you can’t get anywhere else. But you cant buy rabid flesh eating weasles either, so are they offering something unique, or something no one needs?

CNN says this about Walmart:

With the purchase of the “Superman Returns” physical DVD, Wal-Mart said customers can also choose from three video download format options — $1.97 for portable devices, $2.97 for PCs/laptops, and $3.97 for both portable players and PC/laptops.

The retailer said the physical/digital DVD bundle would offer customers the flexibility to watch the Warner Bros. movie on their TV, portable devices as well as their computers.

According to Wal-Mart, the Superman Returns physical DVD will come with a video download “feature sticker” on the cover. Customers will then have to log on to, enter the promotional code, and select their desired download format.

Am I the only one who sees this as kinda dumb?

I was impressed when Walmart announced the dvd burning kiosks in stores. I honestly think this is marketing genius. But to offer a download of a movie AFTER you just bought the actual DVD is kinda redundant. You have to offer one or the other. Or both, but make them an option instead of a package deal.

I see the benefit to downloading a movie for a fee. I don’t have to leave my home to get it, and I can burn it to a dvd and watch it in the same aforementioned home. But why would I want a downloaded version to bookend my store bought fancy cased dvd version? Everyone knows that cinematic masterpieces are best viewed on a 1.5 inch screen of your 30gig iPod Video.

It sounds like this downloadable version will not be able to be burned to dvd, which only serves Walmart’s desire to hold on to their 40% market share in dvd sales. They claim this bundle will make it possible for people to view the movie on TV as well as their portable devices and computers. But it sounds like this would only be possible since the bundle has the retail copy dvd that you can watch on your home theater.

If they offered it as a FREE download to tempt people into trying it then it may serve to illustrate how EASY it can be, so when they full out push their downloading service it will be welcomed. But they offer it at a fee. Any fee is going to be too high for people to really WANT to try downloading.

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8 thoughts on “Walmart Launches DVD Download Service

  1. I don’t think the idea is stupid at all. It makes total sense, considering you’re not supposed to copy a dvd, and most Wal-Mart shoppers (stereo-typing here) probably don’t have or know how to copy the film anyways. It’s genious!

    As for it being able to be burned to DVD, who says it can’t? There’s always a way around anything man-made, not that anyone here does it…

  2. The idea is interesting, particularly for portable devices like iPods and stuff but the extra cost is stupid. Why would anyone pay extra for that service when you can buy $19 software or probably download some for free online that will easily conver the movie into portable media compatible in the same amount of time or maybe even faster than it would take you to download?

    Seems like a bit of overkill though if the service were free, it would have a little appeal for people with those devices that want to watch the movies on a tiny, tiny screen…

  3. Why not just charge a flat fee for the legal right to own/view the movie, then give consumers the option of downloading, having a physical disc sent to them, etc.? License the flick to private individuals, let them choose the method of delivery.

  4. I would pay two bucks extra to be able to load a version on my ipod video. (though I’m guessing THAT will be the one device not supported) Sure there are grey market “free” alternatives but they all involve a bit of my time and a great deal of my computer’s time and it doesn’t always result in a workable solution the first time through. $2 seems almost too cheap in my opinion .

  5. This is bogus. Consumers should not have to pay to watch a product they have purchased on a new device within the same medium. Once I purchase the DVD of a film, I should be able to watch said film on a 40″ plasma, 3″ ipod, 27″ computer screen, PSP, pocket watch or whatever else I am physically able. This is heading into the “Divx-pay-as-you-play” scenario all over again. I hope this bombs.

  6. I was wondering what was up with that. My wife picked up a copy for me yesterday and I noticed the sticker. Seemed dumb to me too, but I haven’t had time to look into it.

    I mean, I just PAID for the movie. If I want to watch it on my laptop or iPod, I have the software on my iMac to make that possible.

    Oh wait, that’s illegal now, huh. *rolls eyes*

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