Portable video expected to take center stage

Portable video expected to take center stage

The TV world hasn't been the same since Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced his landmark deal to put ABC reruns on iPods.

Portable video will be one of the hottest categories at the Consumer Electronics Show, opening Wednesday in Las Vegas. Dozens of devices and services that promise to take programming off the TV will be introduced.

In his Wednesday speech, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is expected to spotlight a new video download service offering 1,000 movies, including Hitch and The Incredibles.

Microsoft's first-generation video devices - sold as Portable Media Centers by companies including Creative Technology and iRiver - have been out for more than a year, but sales have been underwhelming, says computer industry analyst Roger Kay at Endpoint Technology.

Microsoft added more partners and reconfigured the second-generation units to make them more appealing.

Breaking down the video barrier is a big theme for 2006, Munster says: "The traditional way of viewing is over."