ONE-WAY SPEEDUP ON THE INFO HIGHWAY
INTERACTIVE TV REMAINS AN elusive goal, partly because it remains technically difficult and economically unrewarding to supply two-way, high-speed communications to consumers. Wave Interactive Network Inc. (WIN) thinks it can deliver high-speed data now--but just in one direction. The idea is that ``content providers'' will continually ``broadcast'' digital data --multimedia game software and financial news, for example. Subscribers with special cards in their PCs will see a menu listing the information the network will carry for the day and program their PCs to grab the data at the appropriate time. Patented metering technology from Wave Systems Corp., the company from which WIN was spun out, allows the service to charge users only for the content they use.
The service has ``interactive'' capabilities in that subscribers can request specific content by calling into the network's computer using an ordinary modem and phone line. The setup will then broadcast the requested information over the cable channel. The files can be downloaded at speeds up to 80 times faster than the speediest PC modem.
The system will begin a pilot test in 100 homes in the Palo Alto (Calif.) area this summer over the Palo Alto Cable Co-op system. Pricing will be left up to the content providers, which include Simon & Schuster Interactive and Time Warner Electronic Publishing, according to WIN.
EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG By Paul Judge
Updated June 14, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1996, Bloomberg L.P.