Starz Pushes Toshiba Portable Video Player

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Starz Entertainment is expected to announce a deal Monday with consumer electronics manufacturer Toshiba that will help promote Starz's Vongo online video-on-demand service along with Toshiba's new "gigabeat" portable media players.

The Toshiba devices are the first Microsoft-compatiblePortableMediaCenter products certified for the Vongo subscription service and will allow Vongo users to watch store and watch movies on the go, or use the gigabeat's video output to connect to a TV set for display .

Starz estimates that some 20% of Vongo subscribers watch the service on a TV, and Vongo recently raised its encoding rate from 700 kbps to 1.3 Mbps to improve the picture quality with that big-screen usage in mind. The 60 GB gigabeat model, which Toshiba demonstrated at CES, should store about 50 movies. The gigabeat devices will sport a 2.4” color screen with 320 x 240 resolution and will also be able to connect to digital cameras to instantly display digital photos.

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