Web TV goes to air

Surfing the Net on your home TV has always seemed like a good idea. It offers true interactivity and convenience. For example, your could vote in an online poll as you watch a political debate. The service has been slow to arrive in most parts of Canada. Rogers Cable is now offering the service nationally.

Rogers held a successful customer trial in Toronto and is now launching Interactive Television throughout its cable systems. It’s based on the technologies and services of Microsoft WebTV Networks. It will let you surf the Web, receive e-mail, save favourite sites and conduct on-line banking and shopping.

You can do all this from the comfort of your couch or easy chair, using your existing television set. TV viewers will use a wireless keyboard to switch from video channels to the Internet in seconds. It’s a seamless Internet and TV experience.

“Our customer trial in Toronto earlier in the year clearly demonstrated that there is a specific market for this product,” said Rogers VP, Michael Lee. “Phase One of Rogers Interactive TV is an entry-level service geared specifically for people who do not have Internet access at home and who want to use the basic Iernet services of e-mail and web browsing.”

Costs for service
The package costs $19.95 a month. The Start-up Kit with wireless keyboard is $79.95 (one time charge) and can be picked up at any Rogers Video store that sells cable products. Rogers Interactive TV is the first product to be delivered as part of an agreement between Rogers and Microsoft Corporation. The deal covers delivery special TV services in Canada, using digital cable.

The service is the first step in what is known as convergence. This refers to various media delivered to your home through a single channel. Rogers says that it will use Microsoft TV Platform software to offer additional enhanced TV services over the next 12 to 18 months.