Philips sticks it to iTunes with Real deal

Philips has teamed up with Real Networks to offer an alternative to Apple's

iPod and iTunes

hegemony. The deal, announced at

CES 2008

, sees Real's


music subscription service embraced by a range of Philips products from GoGear portables to the Streamium home hi-fi.

"Following the dramatic growth of the global MP3 digital music player market, we have identified an opportunity to deliver high quality music content to consumers both at home and on the go," Wiebo Vaartjes, general manager for audio and multimedia applications at Philips, said in a press statement.

"Rhapsody has proven itself to be the ideal ally to achieve this, by helping us launch Rhapsody-enabled GoGear and Streamium products to the market. This content-led direction underlines Philips' commitment to offering consumers a market leading, robust music subscription model, aimed at delivering music enjoyment, whether at home or on the go."

Philips says this gives its latest Streamium hi-fi products access to 4.5 million songs from the Rhapsody service. The Streamium NP-1100 and eight GoGear models will come bundled a 30-day trial subscription to Rhapsody, after which US users will have to pay $13 (£7 per month) for Rhapsody Unlimited for 'throughout-the-home' access, or $15 (£8) per month for Rhapsody to Go which enables you to play music on Philips' range of GoGear portables.

Current Rhapsody subscribers can use their existing subscriptions with the new Philips models.