Microsoft began making television shows available for viewing on
its Zune MP3 players on Tuesday as it continues a campaign to wrest
market share from Apple's globally popular iPods.
Microsoft started releasing a software update that makes television
shows available for viewing on the devices for the first time and
enables users to more easily share their tastes in music.
Previously only music and music videos were available for the
Offerings at Microsoft's online Zune Marketplace will include
downloads of television shows from Comedy Central, MTV,
Nickelodeon, NBC Universal and other entertainment networks for
1.99 dollars per episode.
The NBC programs represent a coup for Microsoft since the major
studio pulled its shows from Apple's online iTunes store because
they wanted higher prices to be charged for downloads to iPods.
Microsoft is also introducing a "Zune Pass" subscription that lets
people access the online store's entire music catalogue for monthly
fees of 14.95 dollars.
Microsoft reports having sold more than two million Zunes since the
devices hit the market in November 2006.
Apple sells more iPods than that in a typical quarter and has sold
more than 150 million of the culture-altering devices since they
were launched in late 2001.
Apple's iTunes stores began selling television shows for download
to iPods two years ago and also sells and rents movies for viewing
on the devices.