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RealTime IT News

Broadwing to Stream DSL Set-Top E-tainment-on-Demand

ZoomTown.com, a subsidiary of next-generation communications provider Broadwing Inc. , together with Intertainer, uniView Technologies Corp. and Microsoft Corp. Tuesday announced that ZoomTown.com will market-test a service to provide asymmetrical digital subscriber line (ADSL) broadband entertainment directly to consumers' televisions. ZoomTown.com expects to deploy the service to its more than 35,000 subscribers next year upon successful completion of the trial.

This joint effort will use a DSL set-top box featuring streaming video, manufactured by uniView, to connect standard televisions to the Internet via ADSL technology. During the market trial, a select number of ZoomTown.com subscribers will have access to Intertainer's entertainment-on-demand broadband service, featuring Hollywood content, directly on their televisions. The service uses Microsoft Windows Media Technologies including Windows Media Player, video format and digital rights management (DRM) technology.

"What we're doing here -- converging state-of-the-art technologies to move an application from the PC to the consumer's TV -- gives the user a more robust, meaningful experience. We feel that this technology convergence is key to allowing users to fully realize the power of the Intertainer video-on-demand application," said Mike O'Brien, president of ZoomTown.com. "We have had great subscriber response with the PC-based Intertainer service, and we believe delivering the content with the uniView box to the TV will provide a great new venue for entertainment options."

Intertainer's broadband entertainment-on-demand service offers instant access to a wide variety of entertainment options through the television remote control, including music, television programs, current movies and favorite films. Customers can view their choices in full-screen, high-quality resolution with complete VCR functionality, allowing them to stop, rewind and fast-forward selections.

"It is our strong contention that IP technology directly to the television will revolutionize home entertainment, and now ZoomTown.com is stepping forward to be the first provider to make it a reality for DSL subscribers," said Jonathan Taplin, president and CEO of Intertainer. "Bringing Intertainer's entertainment-on-demand service directly to the TV gives ZoomTown.com customers the freedom, choice and control to watch what they want, whenever they want."

Microsoft Windows Media Technologies will provide the core end-to-end digital media platform to enable ZoomTown.com, Intertainer and uniView to develop a viable film and video distribution business model across the Internet. All of Intertainer's video content will be delivered in the Windows Media Format and DRM.

"Consumers are adopting DSL at a rapid rate and want the convenience and selection of high-quality video entertainment on demand, in their living rooms," said Will Poole, vice president of the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft. "ZoomTown.com, Intertainer and uniView are delivering innovative services that meet these needs using Windows Media, the best end-to-end solution for secure Internet distribution of film and video content."

"We see the uniView set-top box as a bridge linking the Internet world and television," said Patrick Custer, CEO at uniView. "Combining our efforts with the great technology and services from Microsoft, Intertainer, and ZoomTown.com will pave the way for a rich new way for consumers to enjoy entertainment and information."

The $64 question is, of course, will this look like real TV or like your PC screen blown up with all its blemishes? In other words, will current DSL transmission rates be up to the job? One may fly, the other would be a Spruce Goose, for sure