If you're going to release a new product in a competitive market, it's best to make sure it either beats all of the others on features, or price. Walmart has decided to take the latter route with its VUDU Spark TV stick, pricing it at a mere $24.95. That's ten bucks cheaper than the Google Chromecast, and about fourteen less than Amazon's Fire TV Stick.
It gets even more tempting: for the first five months, $5 will be credited to the account each month. That means that the device effectively pays for itself after five months, something that's bound to catch the attention of many a Walmart shopper.
That all seems tempting, until you realize that the VUDU stick should probably be free to begin with. Unlike its competitors, the VUDU stick is designed to work only with its own service. There's no Netflix, no YouTube, no Hulu. Nada.
I once thought Apple's TV was restrictive in what it could do, but VUDU Spark takes things to the next level. Or perhaps more accurately, removes all of those levels aside from one boring one.
Hopefully those who pick up a Spark know what they're buying into, because they're going to be very disappointed if they think that it's simply a less expensive Chromecast.
But at least it has a really cool name, right?