When Apple was negotiating with movie studios to get the rights to sell movie downloads through the iTunes Music Store, Wal-Mart got a little worked up and expressed its disdain for movie downloads to the studios, in an attempt to protect its position as the country's leading retailer of DVDs. Apparently it got over that, as it's now launched its own video download store, selling movies from the six big major Hollywood studios, and TV shows from a handful of networks. After Apple started selling movies, Wal-Mart was apparently lobbying for better wholesale pricing and marketing support from the studios for its download service. It's not clear if it was successful, but it would certainly appear that its strength in DVD sales, as well as its support for variable pricing, won it wider studio support than Apple's been able to gain. But that's probably irrelevant, since the Wal-Mart service sounds like it's just as bad as all the other ones to come before it: no DVD burning, limited PC compatibility, and restrictive DRM. While some older movies may be relatively cheap at $7.50, it doesn't sound like the prices it's talking about for new movies (about $13-$20) will offer much, if any, savings over the price of a DVD. So let's see here: a minimal amount of added convenience, in exchange for a movie most people won't be able to watch on their TV or put on a portable player, as opposed to a DVD for pretty much the same price. Yup, sounds like a typical movie-download service, so expect the typical level of success to follow.
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