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gir

Yeah! Another download service with prices comparable to DVDs!

Does anybody use these services, and if so, why?

Edward R Murrow

There's two things that make this announcement interesting:
1) Walmart has agreements in place with all the studios that I care about
2) They went with download rather than s-s-s-t-t-ream-i-i-ng

Yes, that's a stutter just like watching streaming content on the internet. Start, freeze, buffer, start, freeze, buffer - streaming is not a very good customer experience.

Actually, before you toss out more uninformed comments, try the Netflix serice first. It does't work like regular streaming of old, as all of the reports here and elsewhere have mentioned, and does not suffer from the buffer problems you'd like people to belive.

hawk5391

"I wonder if they will be renting this movie: Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price."

This movie should be federally mandated viewing for anyone who shops at Wal-Mart, along with the excellent Frontline: Is Wal-Mart Good For America? Unfortunately, our government has chosen to turn a blind eye towards Wal-Mart's joint venture with China to flood the American economy with low-quality consumer goods. Thank God Dubya can't run again....

Barrett

Yeah, the Netflix streaming service works perfect.

machinegunn

As someone that has actually tried Netflix's WatchNow, I have experienced no stuttering at all.

Rusty Ramrod

Like they say, pick two:

- High-quality video
- Low initial buffer time
- Smooth, stutter-free operation

.
.

On the WalMart new service, I ask the same question as gir, why would anyone *want* to use a service like that?

Certainly if one could burn a DVD straight up then it might be marginally useful, but I would still prefer to have a real DVD in hand.

gir

Streaming is the future. All cable digital TV service is effectively streaming. I believe the ComCast VOD service is too.

Why would you want to download videos to a device that will eventually break, destroying all the videos you've purchased? The video should be kept on the providers hardware and streamed to you on demand, regardless if it's rented or purchased.

Hunter McDaniel

Like gir and others, I really can't see much use for services like this. If I'm going to buy content I want something tangible to hold on to; if I'm going to rent it needs to be cheaper than Netflix. So this offering fails both tests.

Wal-mart seems to be the favorite punching bag for those on the left, but I haven't seen any evidence that they treat either employees or customers worse than their competitors like Target. No one works or shops there at gunpoint.

And if you think we're trading too much with China, that's a national issue and not the responsibility one company. But protectionism always backfires in the end.

Firstlawofnature

WMT can sit on top of this market and make sure no one makes much if any margin by selling downloads. Agree...+2 days w/ DVD in hand from amazon much better than all other buying options.

smgpugfaw

>>>Why would you want to download videos to a device that will eventually break, destroying all the videos you've purchased?<<<

Why would you want video on a medium that can break and will be obsolete in the future?

Admittedly, your idea of the content being stored on the provider's hardware makes the most sense as it would always be available with little chance of loss and as technology changes and it could be quickly adapted.

But given the alternative choices, I actually feel more confortable downloading movies and storing them on a dedicated hard drive to be streamed throughout the house rather than dealing with the space needed and the same potential for loss with DVD.

With more home media solutions on the PC than ever before and multiple products available already for getting that content effortlessly to any TV in your home - this IS the future of buying/renting/watching movies. All that needs to happen from here is fleshing out all the little details and creating something along the lines of a standard.

Edward R Murrow

"As someone that has actually tried Netflix's WatchNow, I have experienced no stuttering at all"

If you're on T3, then yes of course it will work fine. Please test this on a laptop using a wireless connection of 56k to an average DSL access point and get back to me.

Let's take a step back and ask a question - why would someone watch a movie on a computer in the first place?

At least for me, the only reason is when I'm traveling. When I'm at home, I'm going to watch the physical DVD on my big screen using my surround sound system.

When I'm on the road, I will need to have the physical media in my possession. Whether it's the DVD or a file stored on my laptop's hard drive doesn't really matter. I am not going to stream a movie using a 56K wireless connection sitting in Starbucks.

gir

T3? 56K?

I feel sorry for anybody who doesn't know how ludicrous those numbers are.

CJ

WalMart download service - Ho Hum, several other services have conclusively proved the market demand isn't there yet. Maybe WalMart knows something we don't, however, I have zero interest.

Watch Now service - Don't believe NF is aiming for the "Edward R Murrow" type market. I'm enjoying the service at home, when I watch movies solo, using my cable modem connected computer with a DVI connected 24" WS monitor. On the road, I use my ultra-portable (12.1" display) as a DVD player instead of trying to use NF Watch Now.

Ricklogic

The poll is complete. Four people at Hacking Netflix have no interest. We better rush the report to Wal-Mart and HP before they make a big mistake.

But seriously, here's an additional point that I haven't seen in most reports (these multi-dimensional companies are so crazy, they are going to leverage multiple things together):

Red Herring
The Business of Technology
Wal-Mart Intros Movie Downloads
…Wal-Mart will use the foray into digital movies as a way to build a full-service online store aimed at home entertainment.

“We view this as the first step to move toward a multi-format and multi-channel strategy,” said Cameron Janes, director of digital media for Wal-Mart. “We are looking at leveraging the digital platform to support manufacturing on demand and offer a range of movie titles.” Those include independent films, foreign films, as well as hard-to-find titles.

Willem de Zoete, head of HP’s digital entertainment services business, said the company is building a business based on custom DVD distribution. About 60,000 DVD titles will also become available through a mail-order service in which consumers have an option to go online and order the discs. The service will launch mid-year.
© 1993-2006 Red Herring, Inc. All rights reserved.
http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=21142&hed=Wal-Mart+Intros+Movie+Downloads#

hawk5391

"And if you think we're trading too much with China, that's a national issue and not the responsibility one company."

Watch the Frontline special on Wal-Mart, and tell me if you still think so.

"But protectionism always backfires in the end."

Not really true. There are inequalities built into the trading system with China that don't allow a level playing field. Capital Market Theory requires a level playing field for businesses to compete fairly.

Aron

"There are inequalities built into the trading system with China that don't allow a level playing field."

This is circular logic.

It may not be 'fair' for a particular American company who builds a certain cheap trinket that China can pay it's employees a tenth the wage, however it's 'fair' to American consumers that get to buy it for half the price, and 'fair' to the Chinese who get a living wage.

Protectionism just favors one group of people over another. Generally, whomever has the lobbying dollars or whomever can stir up blind rage in the uneducated public.

type-cast

"This movie should be federally mandated viewing for anyone who shops at Wal-Mart, along with the excellent Frontline: Is Wal-Mart Good For America?"

It's a crappy movie, and I am sympathetic to its argument. They both preach to the choir, as usual. Nobody will EVER be changed by any such boring, shoddy pseudo-documentaries. If you watch those, you should at least see the other side: "Why Wal-Mart Works and Why That Makes Some People C-r-a-z-y." If Wal-Mart is bad for America, aren't Amazon and Best Buy?

"Unfortunately, our government has chosen to turn a blind eye towards Wal-Mart's joint venture with China to flood the American economy with low-quality consumer goods."

Wal-Mart has good and bad products, like any store. Often their prices are better than an online retailer. Check the prices for Maxell CD-R Pro 25-pks. $9.97 from Wal-Mart, $13.47 from Amazon. I also buy some food items from Wal-Mart, because the prices are lower or it tastes better than others I have tried. I do avoid their sweat-shop clothes, but I am not going to boycott them completely.

type-cast

"It may not be 'fair' for a particular American company who builds a certain cheap trinket that China can pay it's employees a tenth the wage, however it's 'fair' to American consumers that get to buy it for half the price, and 'fair' to the Chinese who get a living wage."

It may not be environmentally sound to ship billions of tons across the ocean each year, instead of producing goods locally, for the local economy. It goes beyond cheap trinkets and that whole line of reasoning just shows how biased you are. You have to look deeper than American company or worker vs. Chinese. Is it good for the Earth? Is it sustainable long-term? Do sweat-shop workers really make a "living wage", according to the most basic humanistic standards? Or do they just starve slower than before?

"Protectionism just favors one group of people over another. Generally, whomever has the lobbying dollars or whomever can stir up blind rage in the uneducated public."

Deregulation and Globalization favor a small group of people over another. Generally, the ones with the most lobbying dollars can stir up blind obedience in the uneducated public, e.g. the people listening to Jabba the Rush, watching Faux News, and voting Republican.

[BLADE]

View the page in Firefox,and press CTRL+F5. Then it will render the website semi-properly.

Aron

"Is it good for the Earth?"

China's pollution is part of its process of industrialization as most of the west went through a 100 years ago. On the other end of the tunnel is wealth and the power for higher regard of the environment. We could do the Earth the least harm by killing all humans.

"Is it sustainable long-term?"

What is 'it'? Eventually many of the gaps that make China a popular manufacturing center will fill in, wages will increase, etc. Business should be as liquid as possible.

'Do sweat-shop workers really make a "living wage", according to the most basic humanistic standards? Or do they just starve slower than before?'

Unless workers are deliberately defrauded or forced to work in these places, than they have made a choice to improve their way of life within their means and the foreign company gave them that choice. Most Americans argue from ignorance of the starting condition of third world poverty prior to foreign business interests. A millionare businessman can become a billionare and buy lamborghinis instead of bmw's, but a poor person can go from likely starvation to getting a happy meal on occasion. I'd say the poor got the more significant boost in quality of life.

"Deregulation and Globalization favor a small group of people over another.... "

This was either childish or you were trying to make a point that I missed. I suspect the former. And the presumed implication that I'm republican is dead wrong. Should I be calling you a communist?

hueristix

Walmart is an absolute disgrace, putting cost ahead of every other consideration, especially their employees, who often have little choice in where to work as WMT disrupted the landscape. It doesnt have to be a gunpoint to be an unfortunate and necessary circumstance does it? If every company were run like this, America would be a sad place. Workers have been locked in stores and denied their lunch, and that is (well was) policy. Americans should expect better.

I have no major problem with China- sure they have secret govt torture centers, but then again we have MORE. They are moving towards freedom slowly, they can't control all the information in society. And sure they are polluting at an alarming rate, but hey, I don't have kids and I know I'm mortal. It's just a mere 'process of industrialization,' right? Burn and dump away.

All tongue in cheek aside...

The point I have about the downloading is that Walmart's technical savvy isn't too grand, and by the looks of their pricing they obviously would rather have people just buy a dvd.

Just remember the IPTV revolution will be televised!

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