RealTime IT News

Time Warner Bets on Internet Bidding

Plunking down a bid on your favorite tchotchke is about to get a whole lot easier, or at least more comfortable, as Time Warner Cable moves the bidding from the PC to the TV.

Time Warner Cable struck a deal with BIAP, a privately owned company based in Plano, Texas, to let customers make Internet bids through their televisions.

Beginning today, Time Warner Cable digital subscribers in Austin, Texas, are eligible to take part in a one-year test of new technology designed to make cable television more Internet-like, according to a published report.

"We think it's the next step for our customers to have an enhanced television experience with digital service," Tom Kinney, the Austin division president of Time Warner Cable, told Reuters.

Viewers participating in the test will be able to view the status of eBay bids they made on their computers from their televisions. Software can also be set to alert them on their televisions if they are outbid and can then use their remotes to raise their bids, according to the report.

The software used in Time Warner Cable boxes, designed by BIAP, also allows viewers to search for Internet programming on the television.

Time Warner Cable and BIAP have already begun testing similar applications that let viewers tailor interactive menus to access local weather, news, stock prices and sports from television sets in four markets, including Portland, Maine, and San Antonio, Texas, according to the report.

"We're also working on game applications and digital phone uses," Kinney said.