Keep an eye on the retail colossus as the online streaming business takes shape. Walmart wants to be a player, and VUDU — the service it bought in March 2010 — provides a strong foundation. VUDU has more than 20,000 movie titles that consumers can buy online or rent for $2 for two nights. The news this morning is that the company is integrating VUDU into the popular Walmart.com website. But you can be sure that Walmart has bigger plans. Here’s the release:

SANTA CLARA, Calif. and BRISBANE, Calif., July 26, 2011 Demonstrating its commitment to e-commerce and goal of offering customers “one continuous shopping” channel, Walmart today announced the integration of its popular movie streaming service, VUDU, on Walmart.com. Customers can now shop for thousands of digital VUDU titles, including the hottest new releases, and purchase and/or rent them directly on Walmart.com at www.walmart.com/vudu.

As customers shop for movies at Walmart.com, they now have the option to select the digital VUDU title and/or the physical title (DVD or Blu-ray Disc). Those who select the digital title complete their transaction through Walmart.com’s checkout, and then can easily stream the movie directly from Walmart.com, VUDU.com, or from one of more than 300 VUDU-enabled devices, including select HDTVs, Blu-ray Disc players and the PlayStation®3.

“At Walmart, one of our key priorities is to provide a continuous channel for our customers, from our stores to our powerful e-commerce and social media platforms,” said Steve Nave, SVP and general manager, Walmart.com. “With VUDU becoming increasingly popular among our customers, we’re providing them more access to enjoy this digital entertainment experience directly online at Walmart.com.”

“This integration allows us to introduce more Walmart.com customers to digital entertainment and give them access to thousands of new release and popular movie titles immediately through VUDU’s high-quality streaming service,” said Edward Lichty, general manager, VUDU. “By incorporating digital movie content into the Walmart.com entertainment shopping experience, we’re enabling customers to easily choose how they want to enjoy their entertainment content – whether that be through a physical DVD, digital streaming or both.”

To celebrate this launch on Walmart.com, VUDU is inviting fans on Walmart’s Facebook page to vote for a new release title that will be available to rent for only 99 cents. The titles to choose from include:

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules” (PG)
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1″ (PG-13)
“Gnomeo and Juliet” (PG)

Customers can vote now by “liking” their pick at www.facebook.com/walmart.  The new release title with the most votes by 5 p.m. EDT tomorrow will be available to rent for just 99 cents on Friday, July 29.

The integration on Walmart.com is one of many ways VUDU is introducing Walmart customers to digital entertainment. VUDU recently launched the first digital movie card, which allows customers to purchase a VUDU movie in Walmart stores and view the movie digitally through VUDU. The streaming service is also available on almost all of Walmart’s Internet-capable HDTVs and Blu-ray Disc players, with several models featuring a “one touch” VUDU button on remote controls.

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