This is Vudu Spark, Walmart’s very own Chromecast competitor

12 Comments

Add Walmart to the list of companies that’s trying to sell you a Chromecast-like HDMI streaming stick: The retail giant’s Vudu streaming service is getting ready to unveil a HDMI stick dubbed Vudu Spark that is meant to — surprise — give users access to Vudu. The stick popped up in the FCC database this week, which tends to be a good sign that a release is imminent.

A Vudu spokesperson confirmed plans to release the device, sending me the following statement via email:

At VUDU, we’re always looking at new ways for our customers to experience the  movies and TV shows in their VUDU library. We’re developing a streaming stick and will share more information in the coming months, so stay tuned.

The filing, which was done on behalf of the device’s South Korean manufacturer Inktel Corporation, comes with a bunch of unredacted details, including photos of the device as well as a user manual that describes the pretty straightforward functionality of the Spark streaming stick: Upon starting it for the very first time, users have to set up their Wi-Fi network. After that, it automatically launches into the Vudu app.

vudu spark big

There is no mention of any other apps or features, so it looks like the Vudu Spark is very much a one-trick pony. The device does come with a remote control to navigate through the on-screen menus of the Vudu app, which uses Zigbee RF as opposed to Wi-Fi Direct, so you shouldn’t expect Miracast or any similar type of mirroring functionality either.

filed for a trademark for Vudu Spark

This post was updated at 1:10pm with a statement from Walmart / Vudu.

12 Comments

Gladys Santiago

Just brought one….. It takes forever to load. So far it’s been loading for the last 1 hr and 30 minutes. Roku is way better……. 25 bucks is the price and walmart will be getting it back in the morning.

Ears14U

So is this the beginning of a ton of sticks protruding from the back of your HDMI device? All of this needs to be implemented into only ONE device with everyone participating. Amazing how people want to make something so simple, complex.

Charbax

So basically you know nothing about the functionality yet you announce this as being a one trick pony? And then the whole of Techmeme copies your statement? Chromecast is a one trick pony too, it just streams and that’s it. Vudu may support the Google Cast protocol, as well perhaps as Miracast/AAir etc, who knows? And most importantly giants like Walmart may give those away for free at checkout, one per customer, depending if you have a loyalty card perhaps, perhaps it’s free for your first payment using the CurrentC powered Walmart app, so many things we don’t know, or do we?

brian kelly

Could this be an incentive for cash shoppers to use WMT’s “Savings Catcher”? This is used to capture shopper purchase info. Cash shoppers are anonymous. Scanning receipts and sending back to WMT solves that anonymity.

phertiker

The article links to the user manual which describes exactly what the stick does: boots up, opens Vudu. I believe they also lay out that exact process in the filing itself.
The article also mentions that the device uses Zigbee, which means that Miracast is not possible.

Dave

Reblogged this on The Right SOCS and commented:
Interesting a new competitor to the Chromecast is on the way. I have a VUDU account, you can stream digital copies of movies that you have purchased that come with an Ultraviolet copy (code). You can rent movies for around $3.99 for SD or $5.99 for HD. You can buy movies from VUDU for about the same price as the physical disc sells for in a store…but you can only watch the movies through the VUDU service.
-Dave

Vudu Helper

Your overview of VUDU is close, however VUDU links with Ultraviolet, so your movies are available on ANY competing service that links with Ultraviolet as is thiers on your VUDU account. You are not tied to the VUDU ecosystem.

tsahilevi

Not sure how that works. Somehow, having an HTMI stick with a single service attached, even if a big one doesn’t seem like the right way to go.

Would an HBO or Netflix HDMI stick work?

I like Google’s and Microsoft’s story around the HDMI stick a lot more: http://bloggeek.me/apple-chromecast/

molina033161

Excellent service, but too pricey!!! Movie lovers should see and compare other services. With Vudu, you pay for each movie you watch..

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