Walmart is making a third go at joining the video rental game, with the launch of its Vudu-based streaming video on demand service. Unlike Netflix, Vudu is not a subscription-based service, but instead charges users for each movie they watch. Pricing depends on what movie you rent, with newer releases like The Lincoln Lawyer and Limitless costing $3.99 for a single 24-hour standard definition rental.
If you are looking for a 720p or 1080p versions, you'll have to shell out $4.99 and $5.99, respectively, for a single day. Other movies can be rented for upwards of 14 days. The service also offers a two days for $2 rental program for certain movies, as well as a $0.99 Movie of the Day. Customers can also purchase select videos through the service. Like Netflix, customers can access and watch movies on Vudu through their web browser. Walmart has also launched an app for the Playstation 3 console, however, there is no Xbox 360 app available at this time, something Netflix does offer.
Introducing the service now could spell trouble for Netflix, which, after announcing its new pricing plans earlier this month, is seeing some pushback from customers. In early trading on Tuesday, the company's stock was down nine percent to $256.31 a share, Bloomberg News reported. New customer subscriptions also plummeted following the pricing announcement, with only 401,000 new domestic customers expected to sign up this quarter, a signification reduction from the 1.8 million new subscribers the company brought on in the previous quarter.
Services like Amazon, which also rents new releases on-demand, iTunes, and Blockbuster are also squarely in Walmart's sights. But as the Chicago Tribune pointed out, the Vudu service is Walmart's third attempt at launching its own video rental service. In 2005 the company launched an online DVD rental service that eventually folded. A video download service, launched by the company in 2006 with the backing of several major Hollywood studios also petered out.