Everyone knows you can find just about everything and anything you need at a Wal-Mart. This statement couldn't be more true with the announcement of a Wal-Mart video download service.
Starting this next week, Wal-Mart's "beta" download service will be offering up bundles in conjunction with new DVD releases. The first to get the bundled treatment is Superman Returns. With the purchase of the DVD, you have the option to purchase an additional license that allows you to download the movie on to a portable device, a PC or a dual license, which lets you download it to both your portable and PC.
Right about now you might be scratching your head...as I did upon reading the press release.
Why would you want to pay for an additional license of a movie you just purchased on DVD, right? Well, Wal-Mart is hoping that unlike iTunes, Amazon's Unbox and Xbox Live, the DVD allows you to take the movie with you with no restrictions and the licensed portable or PC versions allows you to take it on the road without having to drag the DVD along with you.
I know this sounds kind of whacked, but here's a look at the competition: iTunes is legally limited to your iPod and Mac/PC, that is until the iTV set-top box arrives. Plus it only has Disney/Buena Vista movies and you can get most of the TV shows for free on the networks own websites; Amazon's Unbox is legally limited to your PC; and Xbox Live is legally limited to your Xbox 360 until the Zune and Zune Marketplace start to make movies and TV shows available....and it means you have to purchase a Zune...any buyers out there...yeah I thought so.
Oh, please note that all of the above only ring true with the "legal" uses of the downloaded material. Yes, I know that there are many ways around this, but this is Wal-Mart for goodness sakes!
Keeping in mind that Wal-Mart also likes to take down the competing market, they are offering the bundle at $1.97 for a portable license, $2.97 for the PC license and $3.97 for both portable and PC licenses. This being a bundled pricing plan, the pricing has not been released for the more traditional download service.
If Wal-Mart didn't piss off the competition before, they are sure doing their best to do it now.