RCA Akimbo Touts Movielink, Free Upgrade

Internet-delivered television is still a niche market, but IPTV set-top box maker Akimbo isn’t giving up, launching its co-branded RCA Akimbo Player which combines the ability to download television shows and video via the Internet for viewing on a television with the online movie download service Movielink to offer downloadable versions of recent Hollywood movie releases. And, the RCA Akimbo player will be available for a limited time to current Akimbo owners as a free upgrade from Akimbo’s first set-top boxes.

The Akimbo service is built on the idea that you download television shows and specialty video (currently more than 13,000 programs are on offer), along with MovieLink movies to the Akimbo player via your home broadband connection. The video is stored in Windows Media format, and once downloaded users can view selected programming at any time. The Akimbo subscription service lets users select shows and movies to be downloaded, and the unit’s interface enables users to build a library of favorite videos.

“Now anyone can have an unrivaled video entertainment experience using the RCA Akimbo Player to draw great movies and TV shows from the Internet to their televisions,” said Joshua Goldman, CEO of Akimbo, in a release. “The unsurpassed collections of Movielink and Akimbo provide a tremendous variety of high quality programming that can be watched at your convenience. To put it simply, this is a completely new way to be entertained in the comfort of the living room.”

The new RCA Akimbo Player is available for pre-order now, and is expected to hit retailers in mid-October. The unit offers over 100 hours of video storage, and integrates with your home network via Ethernet and/or 802.11g Wi-Fi. Video outputs include composite, component, and S-video; audio outputs include optical and coax digital output,along with RCA outs and S/PDIF. The unit comes with an 80 GB hard drive and easy-to-use remote control. What’s missing? HDMI and high-definition support.

As a pre-order special, the RCA Akimbo Player is available for $179.99 with two months of free Akimbo Service; once the players hit retail in mid-October the price jumps to $199.99, and Akimbo Service will be $9.99 a month. However, if you’re a current Akimbo owner, a limited-time promotion will let you upgrade to the RCA Akimbo Player for free for a limited time if you purchased an AP1200 Akimbo Player on or before September 27, 2006, and have an active Akimbo subscription as of October 1, 2006. The upgrade offer runs through December 15, 2006.

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