DEVICE COSTS $299, BUT CONTENT IS FREE

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A startup venture is planning to use the Internet as a way to deliver audio content offline.

Created by Audio Highway (http://www.audiohwy.com), the product allows consumers to download news, audio books or other content from a Web site. They can upload an hour of content from the computer to a portable digital recorder-a process that supposedly takes about 3 minutes. They then can listen on the go, either through headphones or by putting the device near a car radio for replaying over the FM band.

Audio Highway is one of an increasing number of companies using the Internet as a delivery service for ads and content.

Just how successful the Audio Highway concept could become is questionable. The company expects consumers to pay $299 for the pocket gizmo, an adaptation of an existing digital recorder. Cupertino, Calif.-based Audio Highway plans to sell the device through the mail at the end of November.

CREDITS FOR LISTENING TO ADS

Consumers will get content free-if they agree to put up with 3 minutes of ads per hour.

"You're getting credit for listening to the ads," said President-CEO Nathan Schulhof, who sold his last venture, TestDrive Corp., a software "try-before-you-buy" service, to R.R. Donnelley & Sons.

Mr. Schulhof said he has deals to buy content from The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time Warner Audio Books and CMP Media.

Audio Highway will charge advertisers $2 for each 30-second spot that is downloaded.

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