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Toshiba Invests In Content For SD Cards

Tokyo — Toshiba said Thursday it is making another $20 million equity investment in MOD Systems, a U.S.-based provider of digital content delivery systems, as MOD prepares to launch a system to deliver digital high-speed content downloads to SD cards using kiosks in retail stores.

The investment follows a previous $4 million stake Toshiba made in MOD last year.

MOD Systems currently offers retailers a digital media delivery system that enables consumers to download digital content for burning to an optical format.

In spring 2009, the company will expand that music download system with a new system, bringing direct downloads, including movies and TV drama series, into retail stores, Toshiba said.

Consumers will be able to use SD cards, a leading solid-state media card format, to download the content in stores for personal use at home. MOD Systems is now in discussions with potential partner companies, including studios and other content providers, hardware manufacturers and retailers.

Alongside conventional packaged media, such as CDs and DVDs, people are turning to the Internet as a source of content.

Toshiba said it views downloading content to SD cards in retail stores as opening “the way to a new delivery service offering a wide range of high-quality titles with fast download speeds and security.”

Toshiba said high-speed downloads of large data sources such as movies require a high-speed connection able to handle high bandwidth. Therefore, it sees opportunity in a business model offering a fast direct download system in retail environments.

Toshiba said it will develop dedicated set-top boxes for the service that allows consumers to watch content on TVs, and also develop portable devices that will enable content to be viewed anywhere. Toshiba will also produce and market high-capacity SD cards for the system.

NCR, another MOD investor, will handle retail deployment of kiosks and other self-service devices that will enable downloads to SD cards.

Toshiba said MOD is lining up with major studios over 4,000 titles for distribution through the system, and more are expected by the time the service launches. Initial downloads will be in standard-definition content, but HD downloads are being considered for the future.