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HONG KONG TELECOM STILL UNSTEADY OVER VIDEO ON DEMAND

Although the Interactive Multimedia Services unit of Hong Kong Telecommunications Ltd wants to launch its commercial interactive TV in 1997, the deadline has once again slipped, following the first postponement earlier this year, reports Multimedia Futures. In February, the launch date was postponed to mid-1997 from July 1996, so Hong Kong Telecommunications could use the latest equipment and software, which had only recently become available. Rose Cheung, senior consultant for special projects at Hong Kong Telecom IMS, told Reuters that the group planned to launch the service formally and fully in the third quarter of next year, while the mid-1997 target referred to a soft launch when the network would be available only to a limited number of users. He did not specify an exact number. During its first year’s launch, more than 100,000 households will be able to enjoy video- on-demand, banking shopping and high- speed Internet access through this home network, which comprises many DAVIC Digital Audio Visual standard components, said William Lo, managing director of Hong Kong Telecom IMS, speaking at the opening ceremony of the 15th DAVIC Digital Audio-Visual Council meeting held in Hong Kong. DAVIC was set up in 1994 aiming to promote digital audio- visual applications and to maximize inter- operability among different countries.

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