By Lisa Johnston
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Internet video service provider Akimbo has introduced Windows XP and Vista versions of its user-interface software enabling the download thousands of special interest programs for playback on PC screens.
Akimbo, which has previously offered its service through Media Centers, the AT&T HomeZone service and RCA-branded Akimbo TV set-top boxes, is offering the XP- and Vista-based versions of its software both as a download on its Web site and in partnership with Sonic Solutions.
Sonic is integrating Akimbo for XP and Vista into its forthcoming Roxio Venue software to assist in "a complete download and playback experience." Later this summer, the Roxio burning engine will expand the functionality of Akimbo's Windows software to allow burning video downloads to CSS-encrypted DVDs.
"I think there is a market for all kinds of video on the PC, but we've always been about getting it to the television set, so we are looking down the road at putting it on DVDs and portable devices that give consumers more choice about how, when or where they want to watch video," said Jim Funk, Akimbo co-founder and marketing VP.
The Akimbo service aggregates a wide range of video content and content services, from which Akimbo users find and select programs they want to watch. Much of the fare offers special interest and ethnic market features, but more traditional content is available as well, including sporting events through various partners and major movies through MovieLink.
However, MovieLink will not be available through the PC versions of Akimbo, Funk said.
"There are a ton of people doing movies on the PC, so we are trying to do something a little different within the library [for PC users]," he said
In that regard, Akimbo also announced a new content partnership with the National Hockey League, offering all of the 2007 playoff games in full length. Games will be made available to viewers online, 48 hours after they conclude. Games will be available indefinitely.
In addition to standard-definition content, Akimbo offers selections of high-definition programs through HDNet.
Funk said the most popular downloads on the service tend to be cable TV offerings, such as programs from the National Geographic channel, music and concert videos, as well as anime and gay-themed programming.
"With the Media Center version we had a $10 monthly fee, with this there will be no monthly fee and no charge for the installation and setup of the service," said Funk. "Videos will be available on a pay-per-rental basis, or some of our content partners will have a monthly subscription option allowing users to view all the content in their library for a single monthly fee."
Funk said Sonic Solutions will be looking to distribute it's the Venue software on a wide range of PCs, which will help bring Akimbo PC software into retail stores.
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