Wal-Mart signs all six studios to new service, beating Jobs

Wal-Mart has officially entered the commercial download video business with more ammo than Apple's iTunes: all six major Hollywood studios. Apple has only Disney as a full partner, with Paramount only testing the waters but not committing to releasing new flicks on iTunes. Warner Brothers, Sony, 20th Century Fox and Universal have all said "no thanks" to Jobs while accepting Wal-Mart's invitation. Jobs lost out because Apple would not change its $9.99 price tag and only Disney ended up agreeing to the revised pricing scheme of $9.99 for catalog titles, $12.99 for launch releases, and $14.99 for new releases.

Wal-Mart, on the other hand, has met the studios' demands and will be pricing movies from $7.50 to $19.98 (Classics will not exceed $9.98 ). The company will have new downloads on the same day as their DVD release, and they will also host $1.96 TV shows from Fox, CW, MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Logo and VH1 (ABC, NBC, CBS nowhere to be found). The feature set does not, however, include burnable DVDs, easy sharing between devices or high-definition. The only differentiator is that by using Microsoft's DRM, the studios can puts tabs on sharing.

Wal-Mart's capitulation to the studios is no surprise: both sides do not want the price of physical DVDs to be affected by Apple's success. Ars Technica believes the studios will end up realizing that Apple is where the money is being made, simply because of the number of movies sold. I don't think Wal Mart will do as badly as some may think. The final showdown will be whether users will be happy with smaller prices and a smaller movie library or larger prices and a larger library.

News source: Ars Technica

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How unfortunate for Apple!


Luckily for me, I only use my iPod for music, photos and the occasional movie trailer.

I couldn't care that someone beat Apple to the punch, open competition should (in theory) be good. In practice, Wal-Mart is probably the 500-lb gorilla (actually more King Kong) that kills all its competitors.

They've gone into many home towns. Opened stores. Forced smaller retailers like K-Mart and similar out of business. Its starts with consumer goods. Then groceries. Then something else. They're talking about banking now. They pay their employees even lower wages. Taken out a bunch of manufacturing companies and/or forced them to move overseas. Almost bankrupt a number of suppliers.

I'm not buying anything from Wal-Mart. I've never set foot in any of their stores.

man i never really thought of it like that .... as we do get grocerys at wal-mart as there cheaper then pretty much everyone else..... which for most people thats all they care about (including me i guess) ... although i do have to agree with your comment though... cause if your a super small business etc like you said your pretty much screwed if your selling stuff wal-mart sells ... cause if there killing off alot of american jobs then obviously that aint good... but what are we gonna do about it ... we pretty much cant do s**t.... i mean if everyone stoped going to wal-mart that would help... but realistically thats not gonna happen.

It's still a waste of money at $10. You can pay a little more for most titles, maybe twice that for new releases on a physical format. And the benefits for actual DVDs seem better to me. Let's see...

Movie Download Service Pros
- Cheaper Generally
- Once downloaded, double click and play

Physical DVD Pros
- No waiting for downloads
- No hard drive space taken up
- Have an actual disc that can be played on portable players, in car dvd setups, on an Xbox 360, on a PS3, on a friends DVD player, in a computer DVD player
- Can loan to friends and family
- Can resell
- Interactive menus
- Disc extras and bonus content
- LOTS of good bargain dvds for $10 and less
- Can buy used DVDs
- In 20 years, you can still play DVDs, just like you can still play VHS tapes. Who knows what the state of online content will be then. If you reformat and need to re-authorize a file to obtain the license to play it, and that service doesn't exist, their system is down, whatever, you're screwed.
- Can watch from the comfort of a couch and easily pause with the remote that came with your player. While this is possible on computers, very few people have living room computer media center setups compared to normal tv/dvd player setups.

I don't know about everyone else, but I'd rather pay a little extra and actually be able to sit down on the couch with my girlfriend and watch a movie. If I decide I'm never going to watch it again, you just resell it. You can't resell a digital movie file.

It all depends on the quality of the Download, if I can pay $10 for a NEW DVD title, play it on my Media Centre and burn it to a DVD then I'm all for it !

If on the other hand the quality is terriable whats the point ?

Okay, I am an Apple fanboy, but it's because I hate Wal-Mart that I wouldn't buy them from Wal-Mart.

I just want an online rental model that's all I ask for. none of this $15 to own a digital copy junk. I can get the actual physical dvd for $15, I'm just wasting my money on digital. However if i could rent a copy of a movie, like on demand, for an acceptable rental fee that's something I would do as opposed to going to blockbuster or waiting for the next netflix to come in the mail.

you got a great point! ... cause who the hells gonna pay basically the same price for a downloaded copy when you can get the REAL DVD for basically the same price.... cause besides all the xvid stuff im talking about below.... i would say the MOST that a downloaded movie should cost from a online service would be HALF the price of the dvd TOPS otherwise you would be better off getting the real dvd since you get all the fancy covers etc etc.

me personally im already happy with the methods i use to get XviD movies ... so even if they came up with a way to let you download movies and keep em... odds are there gonna screw with it somehow like keeping quality fairly crappy with mediocre sound etc.

basically as usuall... the legit people get the shaft while most of us just download movies (XviD) and great quality/sound and be done with it and it's nice and simple.

cause for real... dvd's just aint worth what they want for them nowadays.... some movies might be worth 20 dollars but the average movie aint worth MAYBE 10 dollars-ish ... the MOST i would feel comfortable paying for a "quality" movie is 15 dollars.

either way though, since i already have a XBox running XBMC (XBox Media Center) i pretty much have all the entertainment i need... it's nice and convenient and plays pretty much any format a pc can play music/video wise.... cause overall i like XviD format better than dvd even though dvd's quality is better... cause i maximize my money that way as instead of burning 1 movie to 1dvd i can fit 3-6to a dvd and just play it on my xbox.


p.s. everyone in here (including me) pretty much says the same stuff over and over everytime we see these types of topics lol... nothing will ever change.... people that pirate are gonna pirate... and the RIAA will never change and im sure DRM aint gonna go away either.

Steve doesn't need tissues, reality is irrelevant in his mind, I'm sure he'll come up with some way to justify that a service selling just Disney movies beats a service selling all US movies hands down and that all the loyal Mac users still have the best everything.

I just want a one price fits all model.

Sort of like netflix but downloadable.

I'd pay $25 a month to be able to download and watch all the movies I want.

hell, netflix is basically already like that ... if you catch my drift.

convert dvd to xvid ... and bingo u can fit 3-6movies per dvd disc.... and they work great if you got a XBox running XBMC ;)

but i dont use netflix myself since you can just get the XviD from internet which saves the hours of the converting process using gordian knot.

and a MAJOR drawback to buying movies/music (primarily speaking music) is it has that DRM crap in it which limits it's use... so even if they gave that away i would still not use it since you could not burn it to a regular audio cd etc etc etc.... and they expect people to PAY for that crap? ... not gonna happen.

The $9.99 price tag from Apple seems completely fair to me, even $14.99 per the Disney agreement seems fair. Most new releases on DVD are like $20+ so it seems fair that without the media and packaging it would be a lot less. Personally Wal-mart's decision to allow up to $19.98 will not cause me to download rather than buy. At nearly the same price I might as well have the DVD in my hand.

Yeah, so true, whatever the price is, people will still d/l for free if they can.

Aside from that what's the price on a new DVD anyways? $20? $25? With special editions at $30? Also what quality of video are we talking here? If they're better then DVD but lower in price, it's not a bad deal imo.

I know it can't be like HD-DVD/Bluray, no way someone will be downloading 25+GB for one movie, but it could be a good encode using h264 at 720p.

markjensen said,
I have a feeling you would still justify downloading for free... :suspicious:

justify? Why pay when I can get it for free?

So-Unreal said,

justify? Why pay when I can get it for free?

Why paying for anything when you can just steal it ? Please explain

Everybody (or a high %) downloads stuff from the internet illegally, but the fact that you can get something for free, doesn't mean that you don't have to pay for it.

Lare2 said,

Why paying for anything when you can just steal it ? Please explain

Everybody (or a high %) downloads stuff from the internet illegally, but the fact that you can get something for free, doesn't mean that you don't have to pay for it.

your right... but no one cares (no offense to you personally) ... "most people" will get something for free if they can with minimal chance of getting caught... it's damn near human nature.

ill admit, i aint bought a cd in a while although if i where to buy the stuff i downloaded .... it would only be litterally a few cd's ... as there aint much "good" mainstream (mainstream = mtv/vh1) music out there.

p.s. the last time i bought cd's on a fairly regular basis.... it was the upper 1990's... i bought maybe a couple of cd's past the upper 1990's but i aint bought one for sure in a good 3-4 years or so.

only music i "really" like on mtv/vh1 channels... is "Evanescence" and "KT Tunstall" ... those are pretty much the only music i would actually go out of my way to listen to thats actually played on those tv channels ... everything else on there is just "ok" and aint worth buying/downloading.... there might be a few minor exceptions but this is basically it.

im pretty picky on what i actually "like like" ... vs just something thats "ok" ... the only music i HATE is that death metal type music (basically music where they scream there brains out and you cant understand what there saying etc)