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SyncTV Launches Beta of 'Unlimited Download' Service for TV Shows

SyncTV announced the private beta launch of its TV download service, which will provide home-theater quality TV shows on an unlimited download basis.

Completely based on open-standards, the SyncTV service works on Windows PCs, Macs and Linux PCs, and in the future it will also work on TVs and portable players.

SyncTV's program library is organized by channels, some of which, like Showtime, will already be familiar to viewers. Once subscribed to a particular channel, viewers can download any show made available on that channel, which in many cases will include every episode of every season of a particular show. There is a small monthly fee for each subscribed channel, though a minority of channels will make their content available on a pay-per-download basis, rather than through subscriptions.

Those interested in signing up to the private beta can request participation through the SyncTV homepage (opens in new tab). Qualifying beta-testers can then download the media player free of charge to their PC or Mac to gain access to a rich library of TV content that is available. As the SyncTV beta continues, there will be even more content available from major channels and networks, creating one of the deepest libraries of TV shows available anywhere.

The video and audio quality of SyncTV programming will be the highest available through Internet download. The minimum video quality of all the content is comparable to the same content on DVD, and where possible, HD content will be available across the different channels.

SyncTV will also have programming available in discreet 5.1 Dolby(r) Digital Plus surround sound, which is being used at the highest available settings.

SyncTV allows you a great deal of flexibility in how you play back the TV shows you download. You can play back shows on up to five 'home' devices, which means PCs/Macs now and other home entertainment devices in the future. Upon availability of compatible portable devices, SyncTV will allow you to specify an additional ten portable devices for playback.

SyncTV has developed an open platform, which makes it easy for manufacturers and application developers to create products to support it. To facilitate development, SyncTV will make its protocols and data formats available to developers and is using Marlin, an open-standards Digital Rights Management (DRM) system. More information about new partners and products will be announced in the coming months.

John Gildred, President of SyncTV, commented: "We are absolutely passionate about giving consumers the highest-quality, best-value and most flexible TV download service available anywhere. We really hope that our users will agree that we have achieved that."

Gildred continued: "This beta period will allow us to fine-tune the system and get feedback on how we can improve the user experience. We are going to be listening carefully to what our users are saying so we can give them the service they want and need."

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.