Bentonville, Ark. - Walmart has begun offering its Vudu video-on-demand streaming service to users of the Apple iPad in a way that makes it unnecessary to share streaming revenues with Apple.
Vudu said it developed an "optimized" iPad experience that enables consumers to use the device's Safari web browser to purchase or rent movies and TV episodes in standard definition via Wi-Fi or 3G cellular.
Using the iPad's Safari browser, iPad owners go to
to run a special app, which users don't download, analyst Peter King of Strategy Analytics explained. Browser-based streaming of Vudu content gets around Apple's requirement that content providers, including book publishers, share revenues from in-app purchases made through apps downloaded from Apple's online store.
"Whether Apple users will in fact use it remains to be seen," he added, referring to the convenience of in-app purchases.
At least one other content provider, e-book seller Kobo, is developing a similar strategy to allow e-book purchases from on Apple's iOS-based mobile devices. Kobo, which also lamented other in-app purchasing restrictions, hopes to have its app available this year.
Although navigation of the Vudu site has not been optimized for the iPhone, iPhone 4 users will also be able to log into a Vudu account to stream content through any iPhone browser via Wi-Fi or 3G, Vudu said. Consumers using the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G or original iPhone, however, will not be able to access or stream Vudu content.
To date, Vudu hasn't provided access to its service through other tablets or smartphones.
Vudu content purchased or rented through the iPad can be viewed on
or on any of the more than 300 Vudu-enabled consumer electronics devices, which include Internet-capable HDTVs, Blu-ray Disc players, HTiBs, set-top boxes and the PlayStation3, the company said.
Vudu is "committed to offering the Vudu experience on as many devices as possible so customers can shop for and access their favorite movies and TV shows however they want, whenever they want," said Edward Lichty, GM of Walmart's Vudu subsidiary.