RealTime IT News

Two Way TV Expands to Portugal

[London, ENGLAND] Interactive games channel Two Way TV is ready to launch in Portugal with cable operator TV Cabo, the two companies announced Monday.

The new Portuguese service will make Two Way TV the first interactive TV service in the world to be deployed across every key middleware platform, including Microsoft TV, Liberate, OpenTV and Mediahighway.

TV Cabo intends to use the Microsoft TV platform to add interactive games to its existing offerings which include Internet broadband access, t-commerce and other enhanced television capabilities. Operations will begin with a pilot phase followed by a commercial roll-out in the second quarter 2001.

"Initially we will provide a selection of our most popular games but there is an understanding between Two Way TV and TV Cabo to move to a richer service as quickly as possible as their network continues to develop," said Two Way TV Head of International Sales and Development Jean de Fougerolles.

Over time, added de Fougerolles, the service may include enhanced television shows.

According to Andrew Adamyk, Microsoft TV Europe director of content programmes, TV Cabo is in the forefront of providing broadband interactive services via set-top boxes to digital cable viewers in Europe.

"We see games as a 'must have' part of an interactive television service," said Adamyk, pointing out that Two Way TV is the first company to develop enhanced television games in which viewers can play-along at home with their favourite games shows while they are being broadcast.

Based in the U.K., Two Way TV Ltd. was started in 1992 and is backed by cable operator NTL and The Hilton Group, owners of the Ladbrokes betting and entertainment company. Already available to NTL and Telewest digital cable subscribers, its interactive service is scheduled to go on to the ONdigital broadcast platform in spring 2001.

Now a worldwide operation, Two Way TV runs Two Way TV Australia on the Austar satellite service and has established a joint venture with Interactive Network Inc. in the U.S. and Canada.