Akimbo’s Internet-to-TV VOD service will be available on Windows’ XP Media Center Edition 2005 later this month. It’s big news for the start-up because it means more exposure as Media Center users will be able to access its VOD content without having to pony up $200 for an Akimbo set-top. "Our business plan has always been to once or twice a year ship another platform that the Akimbo service is available on," says Steve Shannon, founder and evp sales/marketing. The Windows Media Center is Akimbo’s 1st alternative platform. Shannon has his sights set next on cable’s DVR-enabled set-top boxes and satellite receivers. Akimbo’ VOD download model is different from cable’s VOD streaming model, but Shannon says the company has done more engineering that’s geared toward cable, including understanding CableLabs and OCAP specs, digital rights management, and CableCARDs. "All of those cable-oriented issues are things that we’re spending a lot of time on just because we’re getting a lot of interest from the cable operators," Shannon says, although he notes getting an actual deal could take months or years. Akimbo makes it easier to add personalized on demand content that can be downloaded and stored on a DVR, eliminating the expense of storing that content in the headend to be streamed when requested. About 30 of Akimbo’s 150 content providers are ad-supported cable networks. Akimbo is testing HD; current HD titles are from Egami (a division of Imagine Entertainment) National Geographic, and K2 Communications. – CableWORLD’s Mavis Scanlon

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