Streaming cost: $3.99 per rental, purchase prices vary
Consider this the second-run theater in your living room.
You had to figure Wal-Mart (WMT - Get Report) wasn't going to take an HD streaming service lightly when it bought Vudu in 2010, and it's come up with a burly competitor for iTunes and Amazon Instant Video. By giving users 10 rentals free just for registering, Vudu joined Netflix, Redbox and other services in eliminating the gamble and going right to the movie watching.Its ability to pump out recent releases in 1080p HD gives it an enormous advantage over Netflix, while its HD pricing is competitive enough with Amazon to make it a viable option on on which where Amazon doesn't exist. With Vudu available on the Xbox 360, Sony's PlayStation 3, Roku boxes, iOS and android devices and several HDTVs and Blu-ray players and its stockpile of HD films outpacing that of the streaming competition, the Wal-Mart streaming package is doing its best to justify its relative expense. Just offering users the option to stay home is a good start. -- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: email@example.com.