Walmart Launches Ho-Hum Video Download Service
Another video download store has launched, and this one's from Walmart. Walmart Video Downloads stocks content from both the big and small screens, offering movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and Talladega Nights, as well as popular TV shows such as 24 and Prison Break.
The offered videos are unfortunately of medium quality and are only available in two formats: standard 640x480 for your PC/Laptop screen, and 320x240 for your portable media player. I wouldn't have expected HD quality, but if you're trying to convince me to buy files intead of DVDs, at least give me widescreen. Additionally, Walmart's video downloads are Windows-only.
As can be expected, all downloads come with a heaping spoonful of DRM. You may back up your video files to CD or DVD, but that's where it ends. You cannot burn and play back a DVD of the videos that you download, nor can you play them on a different PC.
Pricing in the Walmart Video Downloads is on par with iTunes. Pirates of the Caribbean is going for $14.88, 10 cents below its price in the iTunes Music Store.
Walmart's video download store fails to impress me. Why would I spend $14.88 on an online release when I can get the same movie for $17.99 at J&R? For roughly $3 more, I've got a DVD in my hand that can be watched on any PC, Mac or DVD player in widescreen, as well as backed up to my computer. In order to make me a customer, such a service would need to offer more than what I can get from a physical media, not less.
Oh, and more DRM doesn't count!