Streaming video is big. How big? Big enough that in the past couple months, a bunch of major companies have tripped all over one another to get control of the market, including Wal-Mart apparently scooping up Vudu. First, Netflix – which already runs a very successful streaming service here in the States – announced it would expand operations overseas. Next, HBO took the wraps off HBO GO (all caps please), which will be available to current subscribers to Verizon's ViOS TV. Meanwhile, the folks over at Hulu are really hoping they can rope owners of the Apple iPad into paying for a monthly membership.
Today comes news that Wal-Mart – yes, that Wal-Mart – has jumped into the fray. According to The New York Times, which quotes anonymous sources within the company, Wal-Mart has acquired Vudu, a video streaming service and manufacturer of the Vudu Box, a peripheral for television sets.
Details aren't exactly forthcoming – Wal-Mart and Vudu reps have declined comment – but if the Times is to be believed, the deal will likely be a major boost for Wal-Mart. Remember: In November of last year, BestBuy, a Wal-Mart competitor, said it would begin offering streaming movies through CinemaNow. With Vudu, Wal-Mart could be hoping to edge Best Buy out of the streaming business.
"This is an interesting move for a couple of reasons," Adam Ostrow writes on the tech blog Mashable. "For one, as we said last month, it puts Walmart head-to-head with the likes of Netflix and Amazon. But also, Walmart is a huge retailer of televisions –- it has the ability to drive sales of Internet-connected TVs with Vudu on board."