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Mobile TV Goes Gangbusters

This has been a big week for pocketsized TV devices, with the launch of the new Apple video iPod and the PocketDish by EchoStar's Dish Network.

After months of speculation that overwhelmed Internet chat rooms, Apple finally unveiled its video iPod, which features a 2.5-inch LCD monitor that displays everything from photos, to music videos, Podcasts and TV shows. The new thinner model can store up to 15,000 songs, 150 hours of video and comes in a 30GB model for $299 or 60GB model for $399.

Initial content will consist mainly of music videos, video podcasts and animation shorts from Pixar Animation Studios, but the most significant aspect of the launch was Apple's deal with Disney in which commercial-free episodes of ABC shows including "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" will be available for download through iTunes for $1.99 each the day after the shows are broadcast. At the press conference unveiling the new gadget, Apple President Steve Jobs hinted that further network deals could be announced in the near future.

The iPod starts shipping the week of Oct. 17.

Dish Network also rolled out a new line of portable media devices this week. The handheld PocketDish downloads and plays MP3s, stores and displays photos and plays videos. The silver media player comes in three models--two portable media records and a portable media player. Consumers can choose from the 2.2-, 4- or 7-inch LCD screen with 20, 30 or 40 GB of hard drive space, respectively. Each comes with up for four hours of video and 12 hours of music playback. MP3, WMA and WAV files are all playable on the devices.

Compatible with many TVs and consumer electronic devices on the market, the units can download or record content from a PC, Mac, digital cameras, mass storage devices, as well as other video or audio sources such as DVD players, camcorders and VCRs. With a USB 2.0 connection, an hour of Dish Network programming can be transferred to PocketDish in approximately five minutes, according to EchoStar.