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.

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