Wal-mart moviesThanks for your movie purchase. Would you like to add a new TV to your shopping cart?

Don't be surprised if you get such a prompt the next time you're shopping on Wal-Mart's (WMT) website.

Today, the retail giant launched a streaming video rental service on its site in a move designed to beef up its online one-stop-shopping strategy. The availability of online movie rentals is another way to leverage the sale of its Internet-ready high-definition TVs, Blu-ray disc players and PlayStation 3 computer game consoles, which can stream VUDU's movies.

With the new service, Walmart.com has completed the integration of VUDU, a movie streaming rental service it acquired last year. The offering even one-ups Wal-Mart's treatment of video rentals in its bricks-and-mortar stores, where it relies on Coinstar's (CSTR) Redbox vending machine kiosks, rather than handle the rentals itself.

It also puts the retailing titan smack into Netflix's (NFLX) streaming business, especially when it comes to the casual movie-viewer.

The cost of Wal-Mart's streaming video rentals runs $3.99 per movie, so a casual viewer who sees two movies a month will pay the same for Netflix's unlimited one-month streaming video subscription of $7.99 a month.

Netflix recently took it on the chin with its investors, who are concerned it will lose momentum with its subscribers following a steep price hike of as much as 60% for those customers who want both DVD rentals mailed to their homes and access to streaming videos. The new rate kicks in on Sept. 1 for existing customers, while new customers already are charged at the higher rate.

Whether Wal-Mart takes its VUDU integration to the next level and begins to package sales of its hardware with a certain number of streaming video rentals has yet to be seen. It may be something investors look out for down the line, especially during the busy holiday selling season.

Motley Fool contributor Dawn Kawamoto does not own stock in the companies listed; however, she's been known to cruise the aisles of Wal-Mart and take the form of a couch potato when watching a Netflix movie. The Motley Fool owns shares of Wal-Mart Stores.

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VUDU was big competition for Netflix, so it wasn’t hard decision for Wal-Mart to buy out VUDU's streaming service. VUDU offers 20,000 titles and the ability to stream their movies to both XBOX 360 and Playstation 3 gaming consuls! VUDU can also stream their content to a number of mobile devices but not as much content as other streaming providers. If I was not a DISH customer VUDU would be right up my alley, but since I am I use Blockbuster@Home to stream and rent discs by mail! A DISH co-worker told me that I have over 100,000 titles to choose from by mail, which includes games, TV shows, movies and blu-rays. I can stream up to 3,000 Blockbuster hits to my TV and 4,000 to my PC. Blockbuster gets new releases 28 days before Netflix and Redbox and this is one of the main reasons why I choose to go with DISH's Blockbuster@Home service.

March 08 2012 at 12:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I see little advantage in streaming movies from Wal-Mart's website. Their rate is far too expensive. It's more than Block Buster's rate for new releases. Go figure. By the way you can stream movies from other websites for free although their releases are earlier movies. I understand why SAG had issues with the movie studio over internet media for movies couple of years ago.

July 27 2011 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Anyone who never shops at Walmart for whatever dumba$$ reason that conjure up in their tiny brain is a fool.

July 27 2011 at 11:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well, goodie for them! Until they start thinking of the CONSUMER and NOT the profits that they can make, I STILL will NEVER set foot into one of their stores again! Wehn they disbanded their layaway in 06 and told people to get their credit card is the time I stopped going there. In THIS economy, who even WANTS a credit card? Stupid thing to do then, and even more stupid to NOT bring it back!

July 27 2011 at 7:45 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply