Roku Joins The People of Walmart

Dave Zatz —  June 10, 2011 — 19 Comments

Without any fanfare, Roku landed on Walmart’s virtual shelves last month. Specifically the Roku XD ($78) and Roku XDS ($98) models. Given the forum chatter, associated retail brick & mortar placement appears imminent. And, speaking of that forum, I share the same suspicious as TheEndless… that Netgear-branded Roku devices, and their associated retail exposure, are no more. If one were to generalize demographics, Walmart seems like it could be an attractive outlet to reach the Cord Cutters.

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19 responses to Roku Joins The People of Walmart

  1. Now that Roku has established a retail relationship with Walmart, I wonder if that improves the chances we will see a Vudu channel come to the Roku players. It would seem to be a nice fit. Walmart selling a device that supports its streaming service.

  2. Good catch! Man, I obviously needed more caffeine this AM considering I missed that connection.

  3. “If one were to generalize demographics, Walmart seems like it could be an attractive outlet to reach the Cord Cutters.”

    Yup.

    “Good catch! Man, I obviously needed more caffeine this AM considering I missed that connection.”

    And yup, again.

  4. The Walmart/Vudu – Roku relationship would seem to lend itself to some good cross promotion/advertisement opportunities.

  5. It’s weird. My knowledge of Vudu is incredibly sketchy, when one would think it’s something I’d be into.

    And that’s entirely because the Amazon VOD download to TiVo service is so compelling to me that I feel no need to look at the competition.

  6. Amazon VOD on TiVo has the benefit of being downloaded. Whereas, Amazon on Roku is streamed. Generally speaking, Vudu streaming is amongst the best. So it could be a better option on Roku.

  7. “It’s weird. My knowledge of Vudu is incredibly sketchy, when one would think it’s something I’d be into.

    And that’s entirely because the Amazon VOD download to TiVo service is so compelling to me that I feel no need to look at the competition.”

    For my money, it is easily the best quality streaming service available today. The HD and HDX streams, combined with the DD 5.1 audio, are very well done. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the streams are equal to a physical Blu-ray disc; however, I would say that the quality rivals cable/satellite TV HD feeds and if most people (perhaps not a videophile) walked into a room where an HDX movie was being played back, they would assume it was a Blu-ray disc. As a bonus, the Vudu UI on the PS3 is stellar and may be the best UI for a streaming service IMO. In addition to being well laid out and easily navigable, it includes features like a built in speed test, ratings from Rotten Tomatoes, and configurable overscan settings to properly size the picture to your display.

  8. Rotten Tomatoes aggregate reviews are the best. Been meaning to write an article about how worthless the Netflix community reviews are.

  9. I’m becoming more disenchanted with my Roku lately, mostly because the Netflix service no longer works consistently. What are the other options out there? Maybe Boxee?

  10. Janet -

    I guess it depends on what other services you are interested in and the money you are willing to spend. If your interest is in just Netflix – and you are in any way tied to the Apple ecosystem (i.e. use iTunes, own an iPxxx) – you might look at the $99 Apple TV. It’s Netflix app is very smooth and the UI is much more refined than on the Roku player. If you are looking for access to more content and don’t mind paying more, Boxee will probably work. I don’t own a Boxee box so I have no personal experience. I personally am a fan of both the PS3 (Playstation store for movie rentals and purchases, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Vudu and NHL) and the xBox (Zune music/movies, Netflix, Hulu Plus and ESPN3).

  11. “Rotten Tomatoes aggregate reviews are the best.”

    Meh. Instead, go to IMDB in your browser, go to the external reviews link, read the first and last paragraphs of the Ebert and the NYTimes reviews, and that’ll tell you all you need to know without spoilers…

  12. “For my money, it is easily the best quality streaming service available today.”

    Good to know, should I ever become disenchanted with the Amazon/TiVo service.

  13. And for the few local cachers in the crowd, woo-hoo! 3TB drives are finally starting to approach the price of non-new technology. I’ve been patiently waiting.

  14. Janet, yeah I’m with jcm – depends on your needs/wants. Lots of lower-end Blu-ray players also have Netflix clients.

    Chucky, that’s kinda what I do on Rotten Tomatoes. Click the ‘Top Critics’ tab for excerpts/ratings and will navigate away to the full coverage should it intrigue me. And yeah, I usually read the intro and conclusion to avoid getting too much detail. But I do like that aggregate score as a starting point.

  15. “But I do like that aggregate score as a starting point.”

    Meh, again. Doesn’t work for me.

    As is the usual rule with humans, 90% of movie critics are idiots. I’ve identified a few who usually think properly (Ebert, the NYTimes gang – especially Tony Scott, some of Village Voice gang, and Glenn Kenny over at MSN Movies), and rely exclusively on them.

    If I’d gone by Rotten Tomatoes, I’d have thought I should avoid No Strings Attatched. Instead, being intrigued by a director with a good track record, I found Karina Longworth Village Voice review, which told me I should go ahead and rent the thing. Which was the correct decision.

  16. @jcm & @Dave — Thanks for the input…I hadn’t really considered a game console for watching TV, since I’m not that much into games. I’ve added some other channels to my Roku (YouTube, BBC News, etc.), but I don’t stream videos from a PC to a TV at all. On the rare occasion where I have a video file I want on my TV vs my computer, I upload it to my Tivo.

  17. Another interesting question regarding Walmart potentially bringing a Vudu channel to Roku is will the Roku players support the full compliment of Vudu options, specifically DD 5.1 audio on the HD and HDX feeds.

  18. Netflix user reviews? Can’t be more useless than the Apple TV user reviews. Seems to be 3 and a half stars for everything. Odd when the same movie on my iPhone in iTunes gets a totally different score…

  19. This is interesting. Im consider getting one.

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