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New Starz Vongo video download service gives portables a big boost

New Starz Vongo video download service gives portables a big boost

Finally! A video download/subscription service for portables that actually feature A-grade movies. After tolerating CinemaNow as one of the only services to offer legally available movies (and the only to offer movies--albeit C grade--for portable devices), Starz Entertainment Group has launched Vongo (short for video on the go) to an enthusiastic CES contingent desperate for more video content choices. Compatible only with Microsoft-powered Portable Media Center devices for now, the service offers a broad library of subscription and on-demand titles, including recent Hollywood movies such as The Incredibles and Hitch. Users pay $3.99 per movie in the à la carte plan, and built-in DRM allows it to be played for a 24-hour period from the moment playback is started. More intriguingly, users can pay a $9.99-per-month subscription fee and download, transfer, and play back an unlimited number of movies on the PC or a PMC device such as the Creative Zen PMC, the iRiver PMC-120, or the next-generation of PMC devices announced here at CES, including the Toshiba Gigabeat S. However, the subscription library will be more limited than the à la carte service, which will feature older titles. Downloads are of VHS quality, with DVD quality coming soon. There are also rumors that Vongo will be available to Mac users in the near future, though the current download format is WMV. Will a FairPlay version of Vongo show up in the next version of iTunes?