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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Get your TV show or movie on the go

By Kim Komando

With a cell phone or an iPod, you can watch movies and television wherever you go. Portable video is here, and it's exploding in popularity.

You might not think that people would want to use a phone to watch movies. But a friend of mine does just that. He gets about four hours of movie-watching per charge. His phone, an Audiovox, is really a hand-held computer, running Windows Mobile 2003 and Windows Media Player.

Motorola and i-mate are among manufacturers of phones with similar capabilities. Microsoft has a listing of smart phones at: www.microsoft.com /windowsmobile/devices/smart phone/americas.mspx.

There are several options for downloading content to phones.

If you own a TiVo Series 2 DVR, you can transfer shows and movies with TiVoToGo. But first you have to transfer the content onto your computer. There are no added costs to use TiVoToGo.

Microsoft Windows XP Media Center PCs also have the capability to record television. Recorded material then can be transferred to your smart phone.

ATI, Diamond and Hauppauge offer products that record television programs to your computer. These devices start at $100.

If that sounds like too much work, many cellular services provide news clips and access to live television channels.

Cingular offers streaming television through MobiTV for an additional $10 per month. More than two dozen channels, such as Discovery Channel, Fashion TV, C-SPAN, MSNBC, ESPN and a movie trailer channel, are accessible.

Sprint offers three different packages in its Power Vision Network. The cheapest ($15 per month) gives you access to movie trailers, ABC News Now (a live news channel), and a streaming radio channel. The most expensive ($25 per month) adds content from the Weather Channel, ESPN, Animal Planet and some other TV channels.

For $15 a month, Verizon's V Cast offers news programming from ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC. It also provides sports programming from ESPN and Fox Sports, and entertainment programming from E Networks, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and VH1.

TiVoToGo also can transfer programming to Windows Mobile-based portable media players. These little machines, similar to Apple's iPod, are made by Creative, Samsung and iriver.

Getting video onto your iPod or other media player is a bit trickier. TiVoToGo downloads can be converted to a format usable in the iPod if you know what you are doing. However, TiVo has announced that it plans to support the iPod in a future edition of TiVoToGo. That should happen this year.

In the meantime, your best bet for an iPod is to purchase television shows from the iTunes Music Store. There you will find episodes from contemporary shows such as "Desperate Housewives," "Commander in Chief" and "Lost" for about $2. You'll also find past TV hits. Entire seasons also are available. For example, the first season (22 episodes) of "Law & Order" costs $36.

You can watch other videos, such as home movies, but they must be in the correct format: QuickTime 7.0.3 or later. Your video-editing software may be capable of exporting to QuickTime.

Contact Kim Komando at gnstech@gns.gannett.com.