Wal-Mart Launches Movie Download Service

Wal-Mart launched a beta version of their movie download store today.

The new service is available at http://www.walmart.com/videodownloads and is offering around 3,000 movies and television episodes from all the major movie studios and some TV networks.

The nation's largest retailer is using its buying power to beat the prices charged by other download services in many cases, offering films from $12.88 to $19.88 and individual TV episodes for $1.96 4 cents less than Apple Inc.'s iTunes store.

Wal-Mart's entry into this market is significant for a number of reasons. Early reports claimed that Wal-Mart felt their DVD sales would be hurt by online-download movie sales. As a result, Wal-Mart was said to be threatening movie studios against signing on with Apple's iTunes service.

Apple's iTunes initially launched with only Disney movies and later added Paramount films in January. The article suggests that Wal-Mart's entry "now frees studios to cut deals with other online services".

Wal-Mart's movie service is only available in Windows Media, so the movies are not playable on the Mac or iPod.

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