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November 14, 2005

AOL to offer online TV service

In partnership with Warner Brothers, internet giant AOL has announced plans to launch an ambitious new online television service by early 2006.

By CBR Staff Writer

The service will be known as In2TV and it will allow access to 3,400 viewing hours of its sister company Warner Brothers’ TV programs including long missed TV series such as ‘The Fugitive’ and ‘Welcome Back Kotter’.

The free service, funded through advertising revenue, will be distributed on AOL’s web portal; a measure AOL hopes will attract greater numbers to its portal.

The move is reflective of the increasingly innovative uses that television networks are finding for digital technology. The aim of which appears to be to give viewers greater choice and greater control over the programs they are watching. With the channels divided into six genres, such as drama, comedy and animation, it lies in viewers’ hands to decide what they watch, when they watch, and how much of a TV program they watch at any one time.

Viewer choice does not stop there either. AOL will also offer variations on the service; one of which will allow users of a Windows Media Center PC to hook up to and view through their television set; and another version which will offer higher quality viewing with DVD-quality picture.

Viewers can also choose to watch short extracts from program, their favorite scenes perhaps, or engage in one of the many interactive features that allow users to test their knowledge of programs or participate in any number of superfluous activities associated with the programs, courtesy of digital media.

Aside from what AOL and Warner Brothers are set to gain out of this project, the announcement makes one other important point easy to forecast. Put simply, as far as user and viewer choice is concerned, digital media poses an infinitely expandable horizon.

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