Video streaming sticks are going to be pretty huge this holiday season; Google, Amazon, and Roku will all be battling it out on store shelves. But there's more competition coming in the form of Walmart. Recent FCC filings spotted by GigaOm suggest that the massive retailer is preparing to launch its own video-on-demand HDMI dongle called the Vudu Spark. As the name implies, this device's sole purpose is to push Vudu — the Walmart-owned video service — into more living rooms. Vudu's not as popular as Netflix or Hulu, but it's still got its fair share of fans thanks to high-quality video streams and ties to UltraViolet.
The Spark's user manual is also sitting on FCC servers, so there's not much left to speculate about. It sounds like Walmart is going it alone with Vudu and won't offer support for other apps and services. That decision makes Spark far less capable than competing products. You can already watch Vudu with a Chromecast or Roku stick, and both of those offer a plethora of additional apps and content sources.
So with Walmart sticking to a single app strategy, it might need to make price the thing that separates Vudu Spark from the alternatives out there. Considering Chromecast is already at $35, there's not much room to play with. But remember that this is Walmart we're talking about: if the company is willing to make a major marketing push, that could be all that's necessary to ensure Spark finds its way into many stockings this holiday. Sadly, the FCC filings don't reveal a release date, but we doubt there's much longer to wait.