Vudu is an online video service operated by Walmart. It offers movie and TV show rentals and purchases with prices starting at 99 cents, and you can stream media to a PC, a mobile device, or to a TV using a Roku, Chromecast, game console, or a number of other devices.
Now there’s another option: Walmart is selling a $25 stick that you can plug right into the HDMI port on your TV to stream content from Vudu.
It’s called the Vudu Spark, and it’s now available in Walmart stores across the United States. It should be available online soon as well.
The Vudu Spark connects to the internet over 802.11b/g/n WiFi, streams 1080p video and 7.1 channel audio to your TV over an HDMI connection, and draws power through a micro USB cable.
Interestingly GigaOm reports that Walmart includes a wireless remote control and a USB cable in the box, but you’ll have to supply your own power adapter (although many modern TVs have USB ports, which means you can just plug the USB cable right into your TV).
Each of those devices supports a range of online video services including Netflix, YouTube, and more (including Vudu on the Chromecast and Roku).
Meanwhile the Vudu Spark runs just one app: Vudu.
If you happen to get all of your media from Vudu it might still be a good deal: for a limited time Walmart is offering $5 per Vudu credit for 5 months, which adds up to $25. In other words, you can buy a Vudu Spark for $25 today and it’ll pay for itself over the next 5 months.
We first learned of the Vudu Spark when it showed up at the FCC in late 2014. At the time there were no details about pricing or a launch date though.
Update: Blogger Dave Zatz picked one up from Walmart and has some first impressions. The Vudu Spark seems to do exactly what you’d expect it to, but it’s not clear why you’d want to buy a device that only streams content from Vudu when other options with support for more apps and services cost just a few dollars more.