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NEW YORK – Coming to late-model Sony LCD flat panels: YouTube videos.

Sony Corp. on Thursday said YouTube and Wired.com have been added to the video providers for a $300 module it sells for its LCD flat panel TVs.

The Internet Video Link module is a small box that fits into the back of some 2007 and 2008 LCD TVs. It connects to the home broadband router and is controlled by the TV remote. Video service comes free with the module.

Yahoo, AOL, Sports Illustrated and Style.com are among existing video providers for the device.

Similarly, Apple Inc.‘s Apple TV set-top box streams YouTube videos to a TV set, but it works with any high-definition set.

Also Thursday, Sony introduced two high-end LCD TV models with backlighting produced by light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. The models are 46 inches and 55 inches diagonally. Prices were not announced, but will be lower than the cost of the only previously available Sony model with LED backlighting, a 70-inch model for $33,000.

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By Scott Hillis

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) –

Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) unveiled a lightweight laptop about three-quarters of an inch thick on Tuesday and said it would start renting movies over the Internet, moving the iPhone and iPod maker into a very competitive market.

Shares of DVD rental rival Netflix Inc (NFLX.O: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 4.5 percent to $21.75 and Blockbuster Inc (BBI.N: Quote, Profile, Research), the largest video rental chain, dropped 16 percent to $2.70.

But Apple shares also fell, by more than 6 percent to $167.64 in afternoon trading, as investors had expected both developments after widespread speculation.

“Apple tends to be a buy on the rumor, sell on the story kind of stock,” said Cross Research analyst Shannon Cross, who confirmed the new products were not surprises.

Chief Executive Steve Jobs said the new notebook computer, called the Macbook Air, was the thinnest computer available, at a maximum of 0.76 inches.

Apple has had huge success with its iPod music players and more recently its iPhone communications device. Jobs said iPhone sales had hit 4 million since their release last year. But the Macintosh maker has failed to find a big audience for its Apple TV product, designed for watching Internet video on computers and TV and unveiled alongside the iPhone a year ago.

Apple TV was initially designed to be an iTunes computer accessory, Jobs said. “It’s not what people wanted. We learned what people wanted was … movies, movies movies.”

A new version of Apple TV will work with the iTunes movie rental service and support high-definition, he said.

With Web movie rentals, Apple takes on DVD-by-mail rental service Netflix, which also allows online viewing, as well as a host of others eager to make it possible to watch movies easily and instantly over the Web.

(For more tech news see the Reuters Mediafile blog at blogs.reuters.com/mediafile)

(Additional reporting by Duncan Martell in San Francisco, Sinead Carew and Kristina Cooke in New York; Editing by Toni Reinhold and Braden Reddall)

Photo

Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds Apple’s new Macbook Air notebook computer as he delivers his keynote address during the Macworld Convention and Expo in San Francisco January 15, 2008.

REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

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