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Lions Gate inks pact with Pocket PC

Deal will enable pics to be viewed on hand-held devices

Lions Gate Entertainment has become the first studio to strike a licensing deal with 3-month-old Pocket PC Films to make movies available for viewing on a Palm Pilot or similar hand-held device.

Pocket PC Films is a subsidiary of Marina Del Rey-based TuneIn Entertainment, which uses an old digital format — the CD-ROM — to deliver movies to the hand-held devices.

Lions Gate and Pocket PC will work as partners, with both participating in revenue. Pocket PC will digitize and prepare the product, and work with Lions Gate on the package design.

They will sell jointly into retail using Pocket PC’s complementary stronghold in computer and electronics stores.

The technology allows the storing and playback of full-length movies on a Palm Pilot.

Users can buy a Pocket PC movie on CD-ROM at a retail outlet — mostly electronics and computer software stores right now — for about $15. The movie on the CD-ROM disc is played on a computer, which is attached to a Palm Pilot, to which a 100-minute movie can be downloaded in about 10 minutes. Depending on the memory capacity of the Palm Pilot, 10 or more movies can be stored at a time.

Pics can then be played back with VCR-like stop/start/pause/rewind/fast forward functionality. Programs are encoded at rates of 15 frames-per-second to a full 24-frames-per-second.

Although Pocket PC already has licensing deals for about 25,000 low-budget films and TV shows, the deal with Lions Gate will give the company is most high-profile product.