Wal-Mart video downloads are Windows-only, iPod-incompatible

“Wal-Mart’s announcement it will offer downloads of ‘Superman Returns’ over the Internet applies only to Windows users. PCs and portable devices using Windows Media Player will be able to play the copy protected programming, but the retailer explained in an FAQ on the Wal-Mart Web site, ‘These videos are not compatible with Apple iPods,'” Frank Barnako blogs for MarketWatch.

“After you buy the DVD at list-minus-the discount, the price to download the movie file to your PC or ‘Plays for Sure’ and Zune player is less than full retail,” Barnako reports. “An extra $3.97 gets files for both your portable players and the PC, less if you want to watch the movie on just your player or laptop/PC.”

Full article here.

From Wal-Mart’s press release:
With the purchase of the Superman Returns physical DVD, customers can choose from three video download format options — $1.97 for portable devices, $2.97 for PCs/laptops, and $3.97 for both portable players and PC/laptops… Using the video download “feature sticker” on the cover of the Superman Returns physical DVD, customers access http://www.walmart.com/superman , enter the promotional code, and select their desired download format… In the coming months, Wal-Mart will test additional DVD bundles.

From Wal-Mart’s FAQ:
We currently support Microsoft Windows XP (no Macintosh or Linux). We only support Microsoft Windows Media Player version 10 or higher. The Portable format is optimized for on-the-go viewing using “PlayForSure” portable video players. If played on a PC, the image quality will not be as good as the higher resolution Standard format. These videos are not compatible with Apple iPods. Portable format videos are encoded at a 320 x 240 resolution with an average bit rate of 500 kbps. Standard format videos are encoded at a 640 x 480 resolution with an average bit rate of 1,500 kbps.
How many extra $3.97 downloads does Wal-Mart expect to sell by offering content limited to only ‘Plays for Sure’ also-ran players? According to Wal-Mart’s FAQ, Barnako is wrong, Zune is not supported as it does not support “PlayForSure.”

Related articles:
Report: Apple and Wal-Mart in discussions over iTunes Store alliance – September 29, 2006
Wal-Mart: we’re not fighting iTunes Store movie downloads – September 23, 2006
Wal-Mart threatens retaliation against Hollywood studios if they sell movies via Apple’s iTunes – September 22, 2006
Wal-Mart loses ‘philosophical argument’ with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, gains top-selling iPod – November 29, 2005


  1. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”LOL” style=”border:0;” /> It won’t work with the Zune as Microshaft has said already that it is not compatible with the Zune. They don’t even have video downloads yet ready for the Zune from it’s own Zune store. So Walmart you wasted a lot of money and time as no one will buy this crap unless they are very stupid.

  2. If you’re buying the DVD, why would you need another version for your PC/laptop? Couldn’t you just watch the DVD on your computer if you wanted to? People don’t want two copies of the same thing, one on disc and one on their hard drives. The advantage of downloads is eliminating the in-store experience and the physical medium altogether. The DVD plus a version formatted for a portable video player are all you need.

  3. Wal-Martians…

    I went to a Wal-Mart last year in search of a particular product. The parking lot was strewn with shopping carts just abandoned anywhere they ceased being useful, making driving through the lot difficult at best. The place smelled bad, with soul sucking lighting, and
    preternaturally smiling octogenarians greeting people while wearing 20 pounds of swag.
    It’s literally sickening that this is what free enterprise and capitalism run amok has come to mean in America. Even their TV spots suck ass.

  4. From John: ” … So Walmart you wasted a lot of money and time as no one will buy this crap unless they are very stupid.”

    You are correct – but there are a bunch of “stupid” people out there. That’s why MicroShaft and Wally World are so wealthy!

  5. Ripping the DVD works MUCH better for me. I can rip it at 720 AND at a higher bitrate, for the big cost of $0. This ofcourse would only be for portable devises… like the iPod. As someone else pointed out, if you already have the DVD, why would your download another, much lesser quality to watch on your PC? Just watch the freakin’ DVD.

    Good job Wal-mart. Sounds like your learning a few things about ‘innovation’ from good ol’ Microsoft.

  6. “With the purchase of the Superman Returns physical DVD, customers can choose from three video download format options — $1.97 for portable devices, $2.97 for PCs/laptops, and $3.97 for both portable players and PC/laptops…”

    Why would anyone with a smidgen of intelligence purchase a download after having the original film on DVD? That’s like paying twice for the same product, except that the downloaded version sold by Wal-Mart is of inferior quality! Seems that Wal-Mart made a similar deal with the film studios as Microsoft did with the music industry. This is what happens when you have no leverage in the market, you acquiesce.

    It’s no wonder that Wal-Mart only offer this service to Windows and non-iPod users. Mac and iPod users are far too savvy to fall for this crap.

    And, please, let’s not forget that the Wal-Mart downloading experience is likely to be as frustrating as a visit to the DMV.

  7. Well, it looks like we have a consensus. Wal-Mart’s strategy is a perfect tool to identify the mentally deficient members of society. I would expect that the Wal-Mart buyers database would be strikingly similar to Microsoft’s Zune owners database. What a shame to find your name on both lists.

  8. It just goes to show the average intelligence of a Walmart executive – too pig ignorant to recognise that this strategy deliberately excludes 75% of the market.

    Way to go. If you have Walmart shares then go to the next AGM and challenge the commercial validity of this decision. Then buy your movies from iTunes.


Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.