Akimbo to Sell NHL Playoff Downloads

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Akimbo Systems struck a deal with the National Hockey League to make complete games from the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs available through its Internet-download service within 48 hours of broadcast.

Games from the NHL playoffs -- set to begin April 11 -- will be available for 99 cents each to users of the RCA Akimbo Player, a device that plugs into an Internet connection and a TV, as well as through AT&T’s Homezone service and computers with Microsoft’s Windows Media Center Edition.

Akimbo’s Internet video-on-demand service uses Microsoft’s Windows Media format, with video typically encoded at 2 megabits per second.

“It’s full TV resolution, not a tiny Internet-streaming window,” Akimbo vice president of marketing Jim Funk said. “On a TV, the video scales to standard-definition.”

Separately, the NHL offers live Internet streaming video of out-of-market games through its NHL Center Ice Online package.

Funk declined to disclose the terms of the agreement with the NHL except to say that it’s a revenue-sharing deal. He added that the company expects to offer most of the league’s 2007-08 regular-season games and will eventually add “classic” NHL games for $2 each.

On April 16, Akimbo will release an expanded PC version of the service based on software from Sonic Solutions. The software will let Windows XP and Vista users order programming from Akimbo, which provides more than 100 channels from partners including the British Broadcasting Corp., National Geographic, A&E Television Networks and Major League Baseball.

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