Television addicts rejoice: Now you can take more shows on the road. Microsoft yesterday launched a paid service that lets people download...

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Television addicts rejoice: Now you can take more shows on the road.

Microsoft yesterday launched a paid service that lets people download certain TV shows to portable devices such as media players and advanced cellphones.

The Redmond-based software company already has let customers watch free short clips of some TV shows on Windows-based portable devices.

With the new paid service, MSN Video Downloads, customers will have access to more content. The offerings include sports highlights and some shows from Fox Sports, news and business headlines from MSNBC.com and children’s programming from Cookie Jar Entertainment.

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Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

To get the content, users log on to a Web site using a traditional laptop or desktop computer. Then they can download the shows to the portable device.

The service, which costs $19.95 a year, marks Microsoft’s latest effort to get people interested in Portable Media Centers and other devices that use its Windows Media Player technology for watching movies and listening to music. The company’s competition includes Apple Computer’s popular iPod music player.

Security update due for Windows Server

Microsoft plans this week to release a major security update for Windows Server 2003.

The update, due out today or tomorrow, aims to add more security tools for Microsoft’s server software, which businesses use to provide services for multiple users on a network.

Mike Nash, a corporate vice president in charge of Microsoft’s security efforts, said many of the changes make it easier for companies to manage their systems’ security options.

The updates include a tool that blocks all incoming traffic to the server until the latest patches have been applied or the system’s administrator has decided to allow such contact to resume.

Microsoft also introduced a “security configuration wizard” that makes it easier to set up a server for a specific function, such as e-mail or Web use, in the safest possible manner.

The Associated Press