Vongo, the subscription-based video-download service, will boost its visibility among PC owners as a result of a deal with Microsoft to preload Vongo's application on all PCs and laptops shipped with the new Vista OS.
The Vista-based application will also boost Vongo's home-network capabilities, enabling Vongo subscribers to browse Vongo's video library from a TV set through a networked PC when the TV is connected to a Windows Media Center Extender such as the Xbox 360. Without leaving their living room, subscribers will be able to select a movie or other program from Vongo's servers, download it to the networked PC in another room, then stream the content from the PC over their home network to the TV, said Robert Greene, executive VP of advanced services for Vongo parent Starz Entertainment.
Currently, Vongo subscribers can't use a networked TV to browse Vongo's library or download a title, but subscribers can use a networked TV to select and stream content that was previously downloaded to their XP PC.
The Vista OS will also deliver additional benefits to Vongo subscribers, including a visually enhanced, easier-to-navigate on-TV user interface. Vista will also enable TV-screen viewing of Vongo features previously viewable only on a PC. The features include streaming previews of titles in Vongo's library as well as viewing of the Vongo-supplied Starz East Coast feed.
Vongo subscribers can use one of many digital media players to network their TV to a PC, but Vongo recommends the use of Microsoft's Xbox 360 because it requires no configuration by the consumer to make the network connection, Greene said. "When the Xbox 360 is on the network, it finds every XP and Vista machine on the network and asks you if you want to connect to it,'' Greene explained. Consumers access their Vongo function by using an Xbox controller or a remote supplied with Vista PCs.
Greene expects about 10 million of the game consoles to be shipped in 2007.
Vongo, launched a year ago, currently boasts a library of about 2,300 movies, extreme sporting events, long-form concerts and older TV episodes available, all available on an all-you-can-eat basis for $9.99/month. Vongo has exclusive subscription-service rights to rights to content from three major studios and seven independents. The majors are Disney, Sony Columbia and Sony Revolution. Miramax and TriStar are among the independents.
The subscription downloads can reside on up to three devices, including laptops and portable media players based on Microsoft's Portable Media Center Ver. 2 platform.