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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 August 2007, 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
Apple launches TV service in UK
Cast of Desperate Housewives receiving awards
Fans can catch up with shows such as Desperate Housewives
Fans of US TV will be able to download episodes of Lost, Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty as Apple launches its video downloads service in the UK.

Initially 28 series will be available with Apple promising more content soon.

There is currently little UK-produced content, although ITV, Channel 4 and the BBC all offer their own download catch-up TV services.

Unlike the BBC, Apple will charge iTunes customers 1.89 per episode for their favourite shows.

Music core

The BBC and Channel 4's offerings are essentially catch-up services, whereas any content bought via iTunes can be kept.

The content - available from Apple's iTunes store - can be viewed on TV, iPods or a widescreen TV via its add-on peripheral Apple TV.

Apple launched its video download service in the US two years ago with mixed results.

"Video content in the US has clearly not been as strong as music in terms of both the breadth and depth of what is available and in terms of how much is being sold," said JupiterMedia analyst Mark Mulligan.

While a video catalogue is an important addition to the UK iTunes store, music will remain its core service, he said.

Down the line partnerships with the BBC and Channel 4 could be on the cards, he thinks.

"It is a natural partnership and UK companies have shown a willingness to experiment with online video distribution but a lot of questions remain over things such as usage rights and how to differentiate content," he said.

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