Is Wal-Mart a Netflix alternative?

Wal-Mart is trying very hard to compete with Netflix, the up-start online movie rental service. In the U.S., Netflix recently raised their prices on some of their services. As you would expect, people are unhappy about this. Wal-Mart is looking to take advantage of this situation and began offering movie streaming of new releases, for a fee. They started offering movies for streaming on the same day they are released for sale on DVD. This comes after they bought Vudu.com about a year and a half ago, which is an online video streaming website.

Netflix outside the U.S. only offers online streaming of movies and TV shows. The prices for this service have not increased. This is really the future of their business and the industry of movie rentals. The price increase appears to be trying to nudge customers away from renting DVDs. However, they are drawing a lot of criticism because the price hike is quite high. It even made news on business news channels because their growth slowed down dramatically due to the uproar over the price increase.

Wal-Mart is hoping that they can fill the void and be a viable alternative for angry Netflix customers. I don’t think they will be very successful in this venture however, because their pricing structure is per movie and not unlimited like Netflix offers. In fact, Wal-Mart is more directly competing with Apple’s iTunes in their pricing structure.

For the time being, I’m not a fan of any of these services. I would like a steaming service that offers an unlimited option at an affordable price. Netflix does fit these criteria, but they fail in their offering. If I’m going to pay a monthly subscription fee, it better have everything Blockbuster used to have in their inventory (only online), especially the new releases. It should also have a very good selection of TV shows including HBO and all the most viewed shows. It should also have the most up to date episodes available. When this happens, I will be a happily paying customer.