Microsoft Corp. announced a series of agreements during the Internation Consumer Electronics Show 2005 (CES) that will increase the quantity of digital video available to Windows Mobile device users. Windows Mobile is a platform brand that includes Portable Media Centers, Smartphones and Pocket PCs.
Users will be required to have Microsoft Windows Media Player 10 installed to transfer content to Windows Mobile devices. Although not all Pocket PC and Smartphone models currently available support it, more models will be coming out. Current models with Windows Media Player 10 Mobile include the Dell Axim X50 and HP iPAQ RX3715 Pocket PC models, and the Audiovox SMT5600 (also know as i-mate Smartphone3i in other markets). The i-mate JAM Pocket PC Phone Edition also supports the Windows Media Player 10. Portable Media Center devices supporting the initiative include the Creative Zen Portable Media Center (read our review), iRiver PMC-120, and Samsung YH-999.
On 3 Jan. TiVo began rolling out its TiVoToGo feature, allowing subscribers using a TiVo Series2 stand-alone digital video recorder (DVR) to transfer their recorded programs to a Windows XP-based PC. By connecting a TiVo Series2 DVR to a home network, subscribers can transfer their favorite programs to a Windows XP-based PC, then use Windows Media Player 10 to transfer the shows to a Portable Media Center, Windows Mobile-based Smartphone or Pocket PC to take with them wherever they like.
An update coming soon to TiVoToGo will enable transfer and playback on Windows Mobile-based devices, including Portable Media Centers, Pocket PCs and Smartphones. TiVo expects TiVo Series2 subscribers to have access to the TiVoToGo software and be able to transfer to portable devices within the next 60 days.
Microsoft also announced the MSN Video Downloads. The service, with content such as sports highlights, news headlines, children's programming, music videos, independent films and comedy shows, is one of the first online video download service dedicated to portable entertainment.
MSN Video Downloads will offer free, trial and paid memberships. Digital videos are downloaded daily to a Windows Media Player 10 library, ready to be synchronized with Portable Media Centers. The video content is compliant with PlaysForSure devices, optimized for Portable Media Centers, and compatible with Smartphones and Pocket PCs that support video. A one-year premium membership to the MSN Video Downloads service with access to all available videos costs US$19.95.
Programs from CNBC, MSNBC, FOX Sports, COOKIE JAR Entertainment, Home and Garden Television, DIY Network, Food Network, IFILM Corp and more will be available on MSN Video Downloads:
Also announced was the deal between MTN Networks and Microsoft. The agreement includes bringing MTV entertainment programming and brands such as MTV, VH1, CMT and Comedy Central to Portable Media Centers. As part of the alliance, MTVN will develop programming and entertainment offerings to be made available through multiple new distribution points, including microprogramming for Portable Media Centers that will include news features, musical performances and other entertainment content.
With the support of Microsoft, MTVN will roll out these new digital entertainment offerings over the course of the coming year. MTVN will utilize Microsoft technologies, including Windows Media Audio and Video and Windows Media Digital Rights Management 10, with the intent to deliver new services including a PlaysForSure-compliant MTVN digital music service with portable subscription capabilities available in Windows Media Player 10's Digital Media Mall and regular MTVN content for download to Portable Media Centers.