Canadian MSO Vidéotron has launched "iLLICO" — an iTV product powered by Scientific-Atlanta Inc.'s digital platform and PowerTV Inc. software — to about 100,000 digital customers in Quebec.

That figure could rise, as Vidéotron serves about 1.5 million cable subscribers there.

As part of the "walled garden" iTV package, Vidéotron is offering PowerTV-based e-mail, Web browsing and chat applications, as well as local content supplied and operated by the MSO. The platform also scales the video window, allowing customers to chat with others or compose an e-mail while they watch a television show.

In this sense, Vidéotron is essentially its own application service provider, noted PowerTV VP of Marketing Chuck Kaplan, who added that the MSO is managing iLLICO's client-server infrastructure.

The service is available to Vidéotron's digital customers who have S-A-built "Explorer" boxes, including the 2000, 2100, 3000 and 3100, said Paul Richards, VP of marketing and business development in North America for S-A's subscriber unit.

For customers who opt for the iTV package, the software in their set-top boxes would be updated via a direct download from the cable operator. Because iLLICO taps into S-A's broadcast file server platform, multiple iTV applications can be loaded onto the set-top in a matter of seconds, Richards said.

Vidéotron's iLLICO offering "is revolutionizing television by turning TV sets into powerful communications tools," said MSO VP of New Product Integration Michele Giroux, in a statement.