Americans can now watch TV news bulletins on their iPod after ABC News stations began podcasting some of their shows via Apple's iTunes Music Store.

ABC's New York affiliate WABC-TV and WLS-TV of Chicago are producing programmes designed for the new video-capable iPod, for which the computer company has also signed music and other TV distribution deals.

Variously described as "video casting", "vidcasting" or "vodcasting", WLS-TV first began offering audio podcasts enhanced with still images and links back in July. The station is now pushing out its weekly NewsViews analysis programme, with the new productions taking advantage of new features in iTunes.

"It can currently be viewed in iTunes 4.9 and above, with quality suitable for full screen computer playback," WLS-TV's online operations manager Kevin Carpenter told Lost Remote. "In iTunes 6.0, the WLS-TV video podcast also shows up in the new "Videos" section, the same place as ABC videos purchased from the iTunes music store.

"The file size for a three-minute, 36-second piece is less than 8Mb, roughly the size of two music MP3s. The download time over broadband internet connection - roughly 10 to 15 seconds - is only a few seconds longer than the audio-only version. Users interested in taking the audio version of the video podcast with them on their iPod can easily convert it to MP3 with one click of the mouse."

WABC-TV is vidcasting its weekly Eyewitness News Up Close show, hosted by Diana Williams. Unlike TV downloads offered by Apple like Lost and Desperate Housewives, which retail at $1.99, the news downloads are free.

America's PR Week magazine recently named vidcasting as the top media trend to watch, with news organisations and amateur broadcasters alike primed to produce programming using the new technology.

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