RealTime IT News

SingTel To Conduct iTV Trial In Q3

SingTel will roll out an interactive TV (iTV) trial next quarter, enabling about 300 residents in the northern part of the island Republic to take advantage of a range of multimedia services during the trial period, which could last up to eight months.

The iTV service will be delivered through SingTel's broadband asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) infrastructure, offering SingTel customers high-speed connectivity with interactive digital video capabilities and Internet access, the telco said in a statement.

"We are the first service provider to roll out this ADSL-based innovation in digital entertainment in Singapore. We believe iTV will pave the way for the future of television by providing users with interactive and on-demand features that enhance their viewing pleasure," said Andrew Buay, chief executive officer, SingTel Multimedia.

The initial trial service offerings include video-on-demand, scheduled program channels, electronic program guide, Internet access, e-mail, TV commerce/home shopping and information services.

For example, while watching a match on television, soccer fans will also be able to check the players' profiles on the team Web sites, purchase team merchandise online, and order a pizza or a meal to dine in -- all functions performed using a remote control.

According to SingTel, additional services such as enhanced TV, interactive gaming and interactive advertising are being planned for at a later stage of the trial.

With iTV, not only can trial participants control what they watch and when they watch it, they can also influence how the television programs are delivered according to their lifestyle choices. SingTel content partners such as Columbia-Tristar, Sesameworkshop, Intertainer Asia and MediaCorp will provide movies, sports, drama, travel and news content for the trial. The telco said in its statement that discussions with other content providers are underway.

"The iTV service has the potential to increase broadband penetration rates in Singapore. It will also provide a catalyst for further development of the local IT sector as there will be increased demand for local content to be created, hosted and distributed in Singapore," Buay added.

Should the iTV trial prove successful, and the regulatory environment conducive, SingTel officials said the telco may launch a commercial service the next year.

SingTel will be showcasing its iTV service at CommunicAsia 2001 from June 19 to 22 at its booth -- Singapore Expo Hall 5, #5H1-01.