Wal-Mart introduced today its online video download service, marking a head-on-head competition with strong rivals including iTunes, Amazon.com and CinemaNow, reports Associated Press.
The online store (not firefox compatible) sells 3,000 digital movies and television shows from all of the six major Hollywood studios -- Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Sony, 20th Century Fox and Universal -- and some TV networks like Fox Broadcasting.
"Customers have a growing interest in downloading video content," says Kevin Swint, divisional manager for digital media of Wal-Mart.
Sticking to its price-cutting tradition, download prices will range from $12.88 to $19.88 on the day of DVD release, and older productions start at $7.50 -- $2.49 less than iTunes -- and TV shows at $1.96 an episode, four cents less.
iTunes currently dominates the music and movie download business. CinemaNow provides a download-to-burn service. Amazon.com Inc. runs its "Unbox" video rental and download store.
"As much of an 800-pound gorilla as [Wal-Mart is] in retail sales, they are an 80-pound weakling when it comes to digital distribution," said Michael Goodman, digital entertainment program manager at the Yankee Group, to the New York Times.