: A major cable movie channel said yesterday it will launch a new service to let consumers download and watch full-length movies on portable players. The service, run by Starz Entertainment Group, will provide content for a number of devices that will be introduced at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. Video delivered over the Internet will be a key theme at this year's show, officials said.
The Starz service, dubbed Vongo, will available for a monthly subscription of $9.99 and eventually will include more than 1,000 movies, short films and other programs. The films will be available at the same time they are offered on the Starz premium movie cable channel and playable only on Windows-based computers and portable devices running Microsoft's Media Center software. A smaller number of films will be available several months sooner for a pay-per-view fee of $3.99. Subscribers will also be able to watch a live, streaming video feed of the Starz TV channel.
"It's kind of iTunes for movies," said technology analyst Rob Enderle. But the service is designed to compete with Apple, not complement it.
Starz said its Vongo service also will be a key feature of the Sony Connect video service set to launch this year. A number of newer, smaller portable devices will be introduced this week and during the next few months to compete with Apple's video iPod, which can play select ABC and NBC TV shows.
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