Saturday, December 29, 2007

Wal-Mart shuts online video shop

The world's biggest retailer, Wal-Mart, has closed its video downloading service less than a year after it started selling films online.
It stopped the service on 21 December, according to a message on the discount chain's video download website.

Wal-Mart said the decision had been forced by Hewlett-Packard withdrawing the software running the site.

The move ends a challenge to Apple's iTunes store, Amazon and Netflix to win customers who rent films over the web.

Hewlett-Packard spokeswoman Anna Ichel Buxbaum said the company had dropped the service because it "has not performed as expected" and would be looking at other digital entertainment ventures to invest in.

"The broader internet video space continues to remain highly dynamic and uncertain," Buxbaum said in a statement.


The service had launched in February offering 3,000 films and episodes of popular television shows to US customers to watch on a PC or a portable device compatible with Microsoft Windows Media Player.

The Wal-Mart downloads do not work on standard DVD players or on Apple computers or iPods.

The market for online video downloads has become very competitive with video rental chain Blockbuster buying Movielink over the summer to expand into this area.

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