Many of the music and television services being offered in the United States will still not be made available here Apple Computer will take the wraps off its much ballyhooed video iPod in Hong Kong today, amid lingering doubts over the immediate impact of portable video downloads in the market. The local announcement comes six days after Apple chief executive Steve Jobs announced the new and improved MP3 player in California, kick-starting an experiment on a distribution system for music videos, video podcasts, television shows and even home movies. Last week, Mr Jobs proclaimed: 'Because millions of people around the world will buy this new iPod to play music, it will quickly become the most popular portable video player in history.' The latest iPod features a 2.5-inch colour screen and 30 per cent thinner body than its previous hard disk-drive versions. The highest capacity model available holds up to 15,000 songs, 25,000 photos or more than 150 hours of video. The 30-gigabyte model, which costs US$299, and the 60GB model, which costs US$399, are available in white or black. The 30GB model features up to 14 hours of battery life for music playback, while the 60GB model features up to 20 hours of battery life. Featuring seamless integration with the iTunes Music Store and the iTunes digital music jukebox, the latest iPod uses Apple's patent pending Auto-Sync technology that automatically downloads digital music, podcasts, photos, audiobooks, home movies, music videos and popular television shows onto the iPod and keeps them up-to-date whenever the player is plugged into a Macintosh or Windows computer using Universal Serial Bus 2.0 data connection. More than 2,000 music videos, episodes from current and past seasons of United States TV shows from the Disney Channel and Disney's subsidiary ABC, including Lost and Desperate Housewives, and select Pixar Studios short movies will be available from the iTunes online music store for US$1.99 each. But foreign distribution and licensing requirements mean those TV shows will be available only to iTunes customers in the US. Research firm Gartner said it remained cautious about the immediate impact of portable video and about any high expectations that may result from Apple's rapid ascent to the top of the online music sector. In a report last week, Gartner said: 'TV content and the TV business are very different from music and the music industry.' Still, it acknowledged that Apple 'has set up an impressive platform that shows the potential to radically alter notions of TV content and how it is delivered'. A report from analyst firm Forrester Research expected independent film producers, individuals with video podcasts, and content owners seeking a legal download channel to jump into Apple's video marketplace. 'While Apple is not the first company offering a portable video player or a legal download service - Microsoft got there first with partners CinemaNow, TiVo, Creative, Samsung, and ZVUE - Apple does it better,' Forrester said. It noted that Apple's success with podcasts demonstrated the rise of personal media. Apple vice-president of applications Eddy Cue said more than 1,000 podcasts were added to Apple's directory each week. Research firm International Data Corp (IDC) said video support for music video players was expected to further drive demand for portable flash players and hard drive-based portable jukeboxes. IDC estimated the portable compressed audio player market to grow to nearly 124 million units in 2009 from 26.4 million units shipped worldwide last year. It is also a market that Apple has continued to dominate, despite competition from various low-cost offerings.