San Francisco
– Retail giant Wal-Mart (NYSE:  WMT) has agreed to acquire online movie service Vudu, The
New York Times reported, citing two people briefed on the deal. Founded in
2004, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Vudu offers a
Web-based movie and TV episode distribution service, which can connect directly
with televisions via set-tops and other devices.

The company has raised a total
of $21 million in funding to date, from backers including Benchmark Capital and
Greylock Partners.

The Times reports that Wal-Mart and Vudu "began
informing Hollywood studios and television
manufacturers of the deal on Monday."

Vudu has already secured deals to
embed its service in devices made by Samsung, Sanyo, Sharp, Toshiba, LG, Vizio
and Mitsubishi.

Wal-Mart’s previous foray into online movie downloads, a
partnership with HP, was shuttered a year after its launch in 2007.


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(DMW previous coverage)