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Apple shrinks the video

London, Oct. 13: Four years ago, Apple unveiled its first iPod and changed the way millions of people listened to music. On Wednesday night, it revealed a new package that could do the same for watching television and video.

The new video iPod , costing from $299 (around Rs 13,500), can store and play up to 150 hours of TV shows, pop videos and film clips downloaded from the Internet.

In a move that surprised the computer industry, Apple has done a deal with Disney to make episodes of popular serials Lost and Desperate Housewives available via its online iTunes store not only to new iPod owners but to anyone with a computer.

The music videos will cost $1.99 to download and buyers will be able to watch them but may not make copies. The TV shows will initially be downloadable only in America.

Although there is nothing revolutionary about a portable video player, Apple’s involvement in the market, and its deal with Disney, is regarded as a turning point.

Just as the music iPod introduced millions to downloading songs, a video-enabled iPod could introduce mainstream computer owners to Internet TV and video.

The new iPod is thinner than its predecessors and comes with a 2'-inch colour screen. It also has a socket to feed downloads to a TV set.

The device comes in two versions ' a 30GB model at $299 which can store 7,500 songs, or 25,000 photos or 75 hours of video, and a 60GB version at $399 which stores 15,000 songs, 50,000 photos or 150 hours of video.

TV shows will be available the day after they are broadcast in America.

At the launch in San Francisco, Steve Jobs, the Apple chief executive, said: “It has never before been done that you can buy hit shows the day after they are aired and watch them on your computer.”

(In India, the video iPod should become available around November third week.)

John Delaney, an analyst, said the market for video on the move may be limited.

“The thing about music is that you can listen to content in five minutes,” he said. “With movies you need an hour or two to kill. The need to consume movies on the move is much less compelling.”

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