The Fairmont San Jose San Antonio, TX January 8 - 10, 2002 Show Daily Topics: Customer premise equipment | Deals & orders | Fiber optics | Headend equipment | High speed data equipment | ITV | Network management/ monitoring | Outside plant | People | Powering equipment | Services | Software/customer care products | Telephony | Testing Equipment | Tools | Training | Transmission/ distribution equipment I T V Chiddix: Think beyond movies-on-demand If Jim Chiddix has his druthers, cable subscribers eventually will be able to access any television show, college courses and even hobby videos, all on-demand. Beyond that, even advertisements would be targeted to a viewer's particular tastes. Chiddix, the recently-installed president of AOL Time Warner's new Interactive Video Group, said during his keynote speech Wednesday that such a band of services is already within cable's grasp. Cable's typical VOD offering involves movies, and serves as a nice differentiator to battle its satellite competitors, but it only marks the start of a much wider array of content that can be offered to customers on-demand, Chiddix said. Time Warner Cable has more than a dozen VOD markets up and running or slated for future deployment. Further down the road, network-based distance learning, television time-shifted programming and targeted advertising can eventually be part of the universal television experience, Chiddix said. Instead of using bandwidth for channels that might have limited viewing, Chiddix said he envisions a day when a targeted, personalized MPEG stream is delivered to every customer, enabling them to watch a channel like HGTV on demand. Offering MOD, at upwards of $600 per stream, using first-generation technology, remains a relatively expensive proposition, Chiddix said, noting that cable operators today already have the technological capabilities to "go way beyond" movies-on-demand. Still, Chiddix expects those costs to drop precipitously, with $250 per stream in large volumes not outside the realm of possibilities. Chiddix predicted that an everything-on-demand environment could drive "significant" new revenues for cable operators, especially in the targeted advertising domain. On that point, he drew on the history of local cable advertising, which started off slowly, but eventually became a huge money-maker for the industry. EchoStar ramping up interactivity Satellite giant EchoStar Communications announced a few new interactive initiatives at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas yesterday. The new interactive services will accompany EchoStar's current platform of offering hundreds of digital satellite TV channels. The first announcement was the introduction of the interactive "dish home" portal, an interactive gateway that will offer customers four new interactive services via satellite download. Through the new "dish home" entry point, customers will be able to access services like movie reviews from Zap2it Entertainment, games from Playin'TV, horoscopes, DISH Instant Weather, as well as DISH Network customer support. Each of the services will be available via satellite download to customers with OpenTV enabled hardware including the new DishPVR 501 or 508. The new DishPVR 508 satellite TV integrated receiver and personal video recorder now offers up to 80 hours of total video storage in addition to the standard time shifting capabilities enabled through the receiver's PVR capabilities. DirecTV adds interactive NBC The suite of interactive channels available to DirecTV satellite TV subscribers on the DirectTV Interactive platform is growing, with the addition of an interactive NBC channel to the lineup, called the NBC Virtual Channel. DirecTV, NBC, and interactive services provider Wink announced the new addition at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Wink's interactive platform powers all of the services in the DirecTV Interactive channel lineup. The new NBC Virtual Channel offers viewers headlines, business news and interactive commerce from MSNBC, CNBC and ShopNBC. Viewers can access financial news and market data provided by CNBC, as well as minute-by-minute headlines and on-screen links to news from MSNBC. There are also direct links to the viewer's local NBC broadcast station (where it's available) and the MSNBC, CNBC and ShopNBC networks. On the eCommerce side, viewers can use their remote control to click on the channel's commerce link to browse and purchase ShopNBC's line of business electronic products such as computers, scanners and printers. Customers make purchases and complete transactions using a four-digit PIN, which charges to a registered credit card. The new NBC channel joins Barnes & Noble.com, Instant Weather by The Weather Channel, ESPN Today, and the DirecTV Interactive Center as interactive virtual channels available to customers with the DirecTV Interactive service. Users receive the interactive programming on select Wink-enabled DirecTV receivers manufactured by Thomson, Samsung, Philips, HNS and Sony. Microsoft upgrades UltimateTV Microsoft Corporation, using the Consumer Electronics Show spotlight, is showcasing trial versions of service enhancements for its UltimateTV service on DirecTV receivers. The receiver features one-touch digital video recording, live TV controls, dual satellite tuners and MSN TV service. Enhancements being previewed include satellite remote record, which allows subscribers to set their receiver to record programming when they're away from home; UltimateTV Movies, which simplifies the process of finding and recording favorite movies; and auto record, which enables automatic recording of programs that match subscriber preferences.