US cable television operator Comcast and four other cable companies are to begin trials of an Internet service via TV sets in January.
Called TV On-Line, the service will allow customers to access the Web and use email without a personal computer and could potentially be broadcast to the companies? combined total of nearly 10 million customers. The trial will use set-top boxes from General Instrument and Scientific Atlanta to convert data transferred over cable television lines into images on the TV screen. According to Comcast, the service will cost around $4.95 a month.
The other cable television companies are Cablevision Systems, Adelphia Communications, Charter Communications and Telewest Communications Scotland. TV On-Line is owned by World Gate Communications. David Dill, chief financial officer of World Gate, said the service is not expected to compete directly with other Internet access services being rolled out by cable companies.
Dill added that the service will target people who don?t own PCs and who don?t need the high transmission speeds offered by cable modems.
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