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October 12, 1995

ANOTHER SWEDISH VIDEO-ON-DEMAND TRIAL GOES ON LINE

By CBR Staff Writer

The Svenska Kabel-TV unit of Swedish state phone company Telia AB is market- testing a near video-on-demand service in Jarlberg, south Stockholm. There are already 500 households that have the company’s cable television installed and can order services in one of three ways. The most popular selection method is through the Teletext system. Customers use their remote control unit to make their choice. In response, a channel number is communicated and the subscriber switches to the indicated channel to view the film, which is shown within three to five minutes of ordering. Alternatively users can order via the telephone through an automatic response unit, where a recorded message informs the subscriber of the channel number to select. The user can also speak to an operator who guides them through the same process. Either way, customers have a personal code to identify themselves as a subscriber. The service costs $2.75 to ú8.35 per film, which is about $1.10 more than the typical cost to rent a video in Sweden. The server is Digital Equipment Corp’s Mediaplex. It has 173Gb storage for storing about 50 titles and this is being upgraded to 260Gb this month. Output from the server to the decoding equipment is on FDDI lines, with the capacity to show 50 different films at the same time or 50 customers can see the same film at once. The coaxial network within the trial area has been upgraded 1,000MHz and 450MHz from 47MHz. Input to the encoding equipment can be in analogue or digital Betacam and the films are encoded in MPEG.

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