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The number of portable media player (PMP) SKUs compatible with the Starz-owned Vongo video-download service has grown to 16 now that Vongo has certified models from Creative Labs and Archos compatible with its 2.0 service.
The new SKUs include the 4GB, 8GB and 16GB versions of Creative's Zen series; the 30GB and 60GB versions of the Zen Vision: M series; and the 30GB and 60GB versions of the Zen Vision W series. The compatible Archos SKUs are the 2GB Archos 405 and the Archos 605 Wi-Fi in 4GB, 30GB, 80GB and 160GB versions. They join the 30GB and 60GB versions of the Toshiba Gigabeat S and the 30GB Gigabeat V, none of which Toshiba is actively marketing.
The 16 SKUs are the only ones that consumers can register with Vongo to play back rights-protected Vongo subscription downloads transferred from a PC, said Vongo technology VP Richard Brownrigg. All are Microsoft PlaysForSure-compatible and play protected WMV downloads at rates up to 800kbps. None are capable of playing Vongo's PPV downloads because of movie-studio restrictions.
Older PMPs available through limited channels might also be compatible with Vongo, but Vongo didn't test them in order to focus on models "that consumers will want this Christmas," he said. "No other products are sitting in the queue right now, but we will look at others," he said. The company "hopes other suppliers will come to us [for certification]," he added. "The certification process is short."
Vongo's videos are encoded at a 1.3Mbps data rate for PC and laptop playback [and TVs through Media Extenders] and at a 800kbps data rate for playback on small-screen PMPs.
With its Vongo 2.0 software, Starz said it also enabling downloaded videos on a PC to be watched more easily on a TV through new compatibility with several recently announced media extenders for Windows Media Center PCs.
Vongo content watched in one room from a Windows PC can be streamed to any room that has a device incorporating Extenders for Windows Media Center. One such device is the Xbox 360. New products featuring the Extenders for Windows Media Center will be available soon from Linksys, D-Link and Niveus Media.
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