The nation's largest retailer purchased Vudu a year and a half ago and today Vudu has become a legitimate player in the online video market, surpassing both Amazon and the Sony PlayStation Store in the latest rankings.
For the first half of 2011, Vudu had a 5.3% share of the "Online Movie Store" market, trailing only iTunes (65.8%) and Microsoft Zune Marketplace (16.2%). In the first half of 2010, Vudu only had a 1% share of the market.
Interestingly, Walmart has tried to launch video products in the past – both an online service and a DVD-by-mail service – but both were unsuccessful. Unlike prior services, however, Vudu does not advertise its affiliation to Walmart and even offers up suggestions for purchasing Vudu–equipped devices from Walmart competitors Best Buy and Amazon.
Over the past several months, Vudu has been added to an increasing number of connected TVs, Blu-ray players, and other online boxes, as well as the iPad. That's where I found it -- on my Samsung "Smart TV" menu.
And what made me choose Vudu when there were at least three or four other ways I had access to the same content? For $1.00 more, the movies were available in 1080p, marketed as "HDX" by Vudu, which allowed me to fully exploit the high def capability of my new TV. The picutres and sound were awesome, delivered flawlessly on my home Time Warner Cable Broadband connection.