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March 29, 2005

Microsoft launches online video service

Software giant Microsoft has launched its MSN Video Downloads to provide daily television programming for download to Windows Mobile-based devices.

By CBR Staff Writer

Since the launch of the Microsoft Windows Mobile-based Portable Media Center last year, media companies including CinemaNow, Napster and TiVo have inked agreements with the IT firm to make video available online specifically formatted for Windows Mobile-based multimedia devices.

The launch of Portable Media Centers in 2004 began a new era of portable entertainment, and today’s announcement solidifies the continued momentum we’ve seen for portable video, said John Pollard, director of Windows Mobile applications and services marketing at Microsoft. MSN Video Downloads helps bring this vision to life, allowing people to take their favorite television shows with them whether they are on the train, waiting for a doctor’s appointment, or keeping the kids occupied in the back seat of the car.

In the US, a one-year membership to the new service with access to all available videos is just under $20, but users can also access a limited amount of free content without a paid membership.

Subscribers to the service can select content from the web site, where digital videos are downloaded daily to a Windows Media Player 10 library, ready to be synchronized with Portable Media Centers and other devices.

Microsoft also says that users can also activate a new automatic deleting feature that specifies the length of time that video downloaded from the MSN Video Downloads directory will remain on their PC, helping to avoid a backlog of clips.

Programming on the service includes news channel MSNBC.com, children’s shows such as Paddington Bear, and sports, lifestyle and music videos.

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