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Showtime Demos Downloads

New York — Showtime Networks and ExtendMedia will use next week’s International CES in Las Vegas to demonstrate a consumer video download-to-own service based on Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system.

The service will be demonstrated at the Microsoft Windows Vista booth during the show, the companies said. However, a formal announcement of that service isn’t expected “until the end of the month,” according to a Showtime spokesman.

Showtime and ExtendMedia will offer consumers the ability to download videos of Showtime’s current proprietary programming for playback on entertainment PCs, Media Centers and portable video players.

Probable content could include current Showtime original TV series including: “Weeds,” “The L Word” and “Sleeper Cell,” although the formal announcement of the exact titles will be announced later, Showtime said.

The forthcoming Windows Vista operating system will be packaged with Microsoft’s Media Center Edition capabilities, enabling Vista-powered PCs to be used as entertainment hubs in in-home networks. Videos are believed to be encoded in the WMV format and will use Microsoft’s DRM technology.

The Showtime spokesman could not say whether or not downloads would be made available in high definition.

ExtendMedia’s OpenCASE software, which is used to enable the download service, is said by Showtime to provide “flexibility and control in monetizing its direct-to-consumer business.”