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The latest innovation for the iPod make it much more than an MP3 player. The current version adds video to the capabilities, holding up to 15 hours. This is a paradigm shift. The 3-inch screen seems small at first, but actually is inviting as a personal video platform. Plus videos have been added to iTunes' virtual retail store. Now the store sells videos of popular TV shows, from "Lost" to "Saturday Night Live," in addition to its songs. TV fans can purchase their own copies of favorite shows without having to record them or wait for them to be released on video. This brings a whole new potential audience of millions to these portable devices.
Other hard drive-based players -- including the PlayStationPortable, and the Creative Zen -- also have video capabilities. But like everything else in this category, Apple has defined it first and then jumped to a an early lead.