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October 12, 1995


By CBR Staff Writer

Germany’s Kirch Group film and media company says it will use the 1m multi-purpose Multimedia Terminal set-top boxes it has ordered from Nokia Oy (CI No 2,737) in a trial later this year and next spring, on a larger scale for a home shopping and near video-on-demand service, expected to be in Munich. The films will be shown at half-hourly intervals. The home shopping catalogue will initially be on CD-ROM and customers will place requests via fax or phone. Kirch helped develop the boxes which can be used as satellite receivers, or set-top boxes for video-on-demand. Nokia said the decoder is about the size of a compact disk player and has connectors to CD-ROM devices, printers, joystick and Internet access software. It features an electronic programming guide which takes information from the service data of upcoming programmes that is transmitted with the digital signal and stored in the terminal’s memory. The consumer uses this as an electronic television magazine and can find out which programmes are available and mark them for automatic recording. The terminal notes the type of programmes a user prefers and will suggest a package on request. It has a device to stop children from watching unsuitable programmes as well. The boxes have TV Scart, VCR Scart and DEC/SAT Scart interfaces, which are the sockets for external appliances such as arials or video cassette recorders, well as LNB-Tuner input and high-fidelity quality output. They include RS232 serial data and SCSI-2 ports and a V22bis and fax return channels. They have PC Card and Smart Card conditional interfaces. The decoder uses Motorola Inc’s 68340 embedded processor and will run two operating systems, Microware Systems Corp’s OS-9 for pre-written application software such as games, home banking and shopping, and its own more basic proprietary operating system used to receive digital and satellite transmissions.

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