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Subject: UKNM: DTV Industry: Is There One?
From: Sajid Mohammed
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 17:04:07 +0000 (GMT)

Interactive Digital TV is a fairly unknown quantity - only one
operator (Sky Digital) has brought their offering to market, with four
others (ON Digital, C&W, NTL/Virgin.Net & BIB) yet to do so. There are
a few companies out there who set out to provide content for these new
channels - Futurescape & Online Magic are two that leap to mind - but
this nascent industry does not enjoy an especially high profile. Add
in to this the fact that there are competing platforms (WebTV, Open
TV, blah blah blah), incompatabilities (eg apparently ON Digital
doesn't support Sky's EPG etc.) and general Brit-style cynicism.

Very few people in the 'new media' seem to be taking DTV seriously at
all. We've all been here before ("The Internet? Isn't that just for
programmers and video game fans?") but I would have thought that the
impact of emerging technologies over the last few years would have got
people wise to the fact that at least they deserve some intelligent

Meanwhile, the Americans seem to be going barmy about Digital.
Companies such as Broadcom and Philips are offering single-chip
solutions for enabling TV's to go digital. There is earnest discourse
about the potential for ad revenue and so on. Redmond is on the case,
so no doubt Larry Ellison is even now dreaming about taking out Bill
Gates' TV aerial with a stinger missile.

There must be market opportunities opening up right now in the UK to
service the needs of this emerging technology. Certainly, C&W and NTL
seem to be taking a good approach - both will be offering Internet
access via their set-tops as I understand it. And DTV feeds into a
whole host of other pertinent issues: e-commerce and Masthead TV being
just two. Have I been looking in the wrong places for signs of life?

Sajid Mohammed
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