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Tuesday, December 11, 2007, 06:00 am PT (09:00 am ET)

Apple to launch TV downloads on iTunes Store Canada

Though smarting for the recent loss of content partner NBC, iPod maker Apple Inc. will nonetheless continue its charge towards dominance in the digital video market this week by launching its first array of TV programming on the Canadian iTunes Store.

People familiar with the matter tell ArsTechnica that programming from a handful of Canadian television networks will start cropping up on the localized version of the Apple digital download service as early as Tuesday afternoon, with a hard launch slated for Wednesday.

"As 2007 winds to a close, Apple plans to give an early Christmas gift to our Canadian friends in the form of (a few) TV shows being added to the iTunes Store," wrote Ars' Jacqui Cheng. "Of course, with all things iTunes (and Apple), these exact days can easily get pushed, but the shows are expected to make their debut at most within the next couple of weeks."

Among the programs expected to be part of the first wave of Canadian TV content are shows from local networks CBC and CTV, in addition to an assortment of programming from some select US networks.

The move by Apple comes just one week after failed contract renewal negotiations with NBC forced the removal of nearly all of the network's shows for the US version of the iTunes store. Some NBC-aired shows, which are produced by third parties, remain available.

iTunes Canada will be just the third version of the iTunes Store to serve up individual television shows (or full season bundles), joining those located in the US and the UK.