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Bertelsmann Selects nCUBE For German Interactive TV Trial

Bertelsmann Broadband Group (BBG) Thursday selected nCUBE to supply technology for interactive television in Germany.

The service will be offered through regional cable networks and ADSL. The first installation will be in Cologne (NetCologne) in mid-December, with the service starting in spring 2000. Ten more installations are scheduled this year.

Via digital set-top boxes, the new interactive service will allow subscribers to select movies, music videos, interactive advertising, games, documentaries and travel programming. It will also be linked to Internet content provided by AOL Europe, jointly operated by Bertelsmann and American Online.

Subscribers will also get access to online shopping services, such as Bertelsmann's BOL Internet bookshop. The project will profit from several revenue sources, including basic fees, service-based fees, advertising and e-commerce.

"Because Bertelsmann intends to bring about true broadband convergence, we need partners such as nCUBE, who have the scalable technology and experience to make it happen," said Werner Lauff, head of BBG. "We're looking forward to working with nCUBE on what we believe is the final breakthrough of e-commerce and the beginning of real competition for pay-TV services in Europe and around the world."

BBG will employ nCUBE's recently released video server and hypercube computer platform, MediaCUBE 4, in its TV trials. nCUBE's most scalable server to date, the MediaCUBE 4 is able to scale from under 500 Megabits per second (Mbps) to 132 Gigabits per second (Gbps) of sustained video delivery.

Up to 256 MediaCUBE 4 units can be connected to operate as a single computer, capable of delivering 44,000 simultaneous, broadcast-quality video streams with no content replication. This allows nCUBE customers to deploy large content libraries using fewer hard disks.