It looks like mega-retailer Walmart might be looking to get into the growing streaming stick market with a device called the Vudu Spark that was reportedly leaked from the FCC Website.
The gadget, which would compete head-to-head with other popular devices in the category, like the Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV stick, and Roku Streaming Stick, appears as though it’s strictly tied to the Walmart-owned Vudu service, simply making it easier to access Vudu on the big screen over Wi-Fi. Essentially, it would be a solution for those who don’t yet own a smart TV but who use Vudu as a primary outlet for watching on-demand movies and TV shows.
It could make sense for Wal-Mart to push its streaming service, which offers a host of new movies and TV shows for purchase online, through a hardware device. It could be a great way to give Vudu more visibility through Walmart’s legion of superstores, perhaps bundling the stick for a low price with the purchase of groceries, or other items.
Still, it’s a bit odd that any entity, let alone Walmart, would get into the extremely competitive space of streaming hardware with only one service tied to its device. By contrast, other devices allow for access to a host of services, not just one. With Chromecast, for example, you can mirror virtually anything viewed on the Chrome browser, and seamlessly access content from an ever-expanding tide of services, including YouTube, Netflix and yes, Vudu.
Given that the Chromecast is already pretty cheap ($30-35), the Vudu Spark would have to be a heck of a lot cheaper to justify its purchase. Walmart, however, hasn’t spoken publicly about the device’s existence just yet. Stay tuned.
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