SyncTV beta to offer more TV reruns, Showtime online

Pioneer-funded SyncTV claims an a la carte selection of DVD quality cable programming, but looks like another Vongo.

As the potential for a la carte cable programming is speculated upon, SyncTV has opened in private beta, adding more cable content to the online market.

Pioneer's SyncTV will charge $2 to $4 USD per month per channel, each of which is chosen by the subscriber. The fee is good toward unlimited downloads of programs featured on those channels.


Content quality is said to be "as good or better" than the same programs on DVD. HD programming and 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus audio will be offered where available.

Channels currently available are: Showtime, Nelvana, and Geneon Animation DMGI which consists of classic TV shows like "The Cosby Show," "My Favorite Martian," "I Spy," and others. The currently limited number of channels makes SyncTV appear more similar to Vongo - a service which also offers shows on a per-download or subscription basis - than an a la carte cable provider. Future additional channels have yet to be mentioned.

Downloads are viewable on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, but in its current state, there is no support for portable media devices. However, SyncTV has announced that its service uses Marlin digital rights management. Marlin is an open standard initially developed in 2005 by Sony, Phillips, Matsushita (Panasonic) and Samsung.

Marlin's specification includes built-in interchange with OMA DRM, a common DRM supported by cellular handset companies. This means that when the list of supported portable devices is revealed, it will most likely not include iPod or Zune.

The public beta is scheduled for January 2008.

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