The news broke today that troubled movie streaming service Vudu is being acquired by Wal-Mart for a rumored $100 million. Amid interest from Comcast, Amazon, and Best Buy it seems that America’s largest retailer just had the deepest pockets and the apatite to get into the streaming game. The deal is likely to be finalized in a matter of weeks.
Wal-Mart is the largest seller of DVDs, but has never had a platform for delivery of video over the internet. With the purchase of Vudu, they have a mature service with many content deals already in place. The interesting thing about Vudu is that they stopped making a stand-alone hardware box last year, instead focusing on getting their software embedded in various devices like TVs and Blu-Ray players. Guess who sells a lot of TVs. Yep, Wal-Mart.
It would be reasonable to expect Wal-Mart to aggressively push Vudu enabled TV’s and other devices now that they own it. We may also see manufacturers become more receptive to adding the Vudu service to their products now that a behemoth like Wal-mart is involved. Wal-mart effectively drives down prices wherever they go, could that also hold true in the video streaming space? Could we be looking at a cheap streaming future? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Rumors are hit-and-miss, but this one from AndroidGuys has potential because of its underlying logic. Sprint plans to roll out a new Wi-Max handset. Neat, except you need a Wi-Max network, which Sprint, at present, doesn’t really have. To make it nationwide, which is a given in today’s mobile communication market, you have to start construction on towers, and soon. Location is easy, but accessibility and cost are different matters. And if you want it quick, you’re faced with another problem. The solution: make use of something that already exists.
For Sprint, so the rumor goes, the solution is Walmart. Walmart has better than 3,000 stores scattered across the United States, many within 30-50 miles of each other. And each provides an already developed site on which to build--just toss up a tower on the roof and call it good. Better yet, Sprint would only have one landlord to deal with. How simple is that?
Logically, it makes sense. Sprint would get a ready construction framework for building out its Wi-Max network--one that provides a lot of the national reach it will need. And Walmart is always looking to make yet another dollar, so is probably willing to do the deal, if the price is right. Better yet, you'll always know where to get the best reception for your WiMax phone--just park yourself at the nearest Walmart. (Whether you go in or not is of your own choosing.)
It looks like Walmart is gearing up for Black Friday a little early this year. How so? The mega-chain has begun advertising several one-day in-store specials slated for this Saturday November 7th at 8AM.
Among the sale items is an Xbox 360 Arcade console for $199, which will be accompanied by a $100 gift card. That essentially brings the price down to just $99, provided you can make use of the gift card.
Other sale items on tap for the one-day special include a 15.6-inch HP notebook with an Intel Celeron processor for a shade under $300, a Blu-ray player for $150, a 42-inch 1080p Sharp LCD TV for $498, and a few more items.
According to Fudzilla, this is just the first of ongoing Saturday specials that will continue until Black Friday.
Looking for a low-cost notebook that doesn't fall into the realm of netbooks? Both Best Buy and Walmart have you covered, with the latter beating out the former by a buck in the sub-$300 price tier.
"For the first time, a 3GB memory laptop from a well-known brand has ventured below $300," Walmart said in a statement on Thursday.
And as far as we know, Walmart's right. Best Buy's $299 Acer comes with 2GB of DDR2 memory and an AMD Athlon 64 processor in a 15-inch package, while Walmart's Compaq Presario (CQ60-419WM) packs 3GB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, Nvidia GeForce 8200M graphics, and a 2.10GHz AMD Sempron SI-42 processor. And for you penny pinchers, the 15-inch Compaq will sell for a dollar less than the aforementioned Acer starting July 26th.
If you're hoping to pick one up, you might want to set your alarm clock early on Sunday. Customers have been having a hard time tracking down the $299 Acer at Best Buy, and a Walmart blog warns that quantities of its $298 Presario "are limited" and "we expect this one will be quite popular."
It’s expected that Asus will begin selling their wildly popular netbooks in Walmart stores during the second half of this year. Given that they’re already being sold in Target and Best Buy, this doesn’t seem that outlandish.
The information (which comes courtesy of an “anonymous market source in Taiwan”) also noted that Asus is expected to market notebooks through Walmart as well. And while this doesn’t mean that they’ll be boasting the Eee line as their big seller, given the current economic perils, it’s very likely.
Asus is looking to increase their netbook shipments in the US from 650,000 in 2008 to over 1 million this year. If they add Walmart to their vendor list, this possibility becomes very likely.