As if we aren’t all tired of streaming TV rivalries between big companies affecting consumers negatively, here’s a new one for you. Walmart has told television manufacturer Vizio that they need to remove the Amazon Prime Video button from their remote if they want to continue to sell their TVs in Walmart stores, according to a report by The Information. Vizio has allegedly agreed to remove the Prime Video button, which is one of 6 streaming service buttons, alongside Vudu, Netflix, Xumo, Hulu, and Redbox, on their latest remotes.
Walmart has long been rumored to be working on a new streaming service of its own to rival Prime Video. Walmart acquired Vudu, notably in the #1 position on Vizio remotes, in 2010, but hadn’t done much with the streaming service since. Vudu is notably one of the largest streaming services that have never had an Amazon Fire TV app, likely due to Walmart and Amazon’s rivalry. Walmart sold Vudu to Fandango earlier this year, which finally resulted in some of Vudu’s content library becoming available on Fire TV devices through the FandangoNow app.
The usefulness of streaming service buttons on remotes is debatable. Some consumers see them as advertisement nuisances, while others find them genuinely helpful as the quickest way to launch a particular service. Regardless of whether you like them or not, one company shouldn’t use their leverage to suppress the button of a rival’s button. It’s expected that Vizio TVs, which run their own in-house SmartCast OS, will continue to have a Prime Video app, even with the button’s removal. It’s unknown if the button will be removed from all future Vizio remotes or only those bundled with Vizio TVs sold at Walmart.