Akimbo started life as a set-top box, bringing on-demand IPTV content to TV viewers. Even with a good selection of mainstream and narrowcast content, such as the Discovery Channel, the BBC, and foreign language programming, it's sometimes hard to justify another set-top box living next to the cable box, DVD player, and so on.
Earlier this year, the company started a version of its $9.99/month subscription service for Windows Media Center Edition users, sharing about 90 percent of the same content as the set-top version.
Starting in 2006, the set-top and Media Center versions of Akimbo will have a little more differentiation, with a new line of set-top boxes manufactured and cobranded by RCA and offering full movie downloads from Movielink.
The Media Center edition of the Akimbo service won't offer Movielink titles, as you can already get them through MCE's Online Spotlight feature. Instead, Media Center users will be able to download and watch HD programming from select content partners. The HD shows should be available early in 2006, and since Akimbo and its content are all Microsoft compliant, you can even stream the HD content to your television via the Media Center extender in the Xbox 360.