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November 27, 1995

SWISS TELECOM AND PHILIPS INVEST $9.6m IN SWISS INTERACTIVE TV

By CBR Staff Writer

Video on demand trials are springing up in some unlikely places, and Swiss Telecom and Philips Electronics NV have invested $9.6m in two parallel interactive television trials in Switzerland. The two players intend to compare the different technologies being used in each trial to see which is the more suitable. The trial in Nyon, which is due to start next April, will be based on an optical fibre and co-axial network. The population of Grenchen have been receiving services over standard copper telephone lines with an Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Loop back channel since September. Both trials are expected to last for two years. The companies said that 400 households in each region have been selected for the trial. Each home has been provided with Philips set-top boxes and Philips is also providing the servers. The installation for Grenchen was provided free of charge by Swiss Telecom, but participants will pay for the movies they watch, video games played and encyclopaedias accessed, although details of the charges were not available. Charges are being incurred because the trial is being used to test the market and will be used to ascertain whether the prices consumers are prepared to pay are sufficient to maintain the service commercially. La Redoute is providing home shopping services and Bertelsmann AG is providing information clips. Video games are being supplied by Ravensburger. Infogrammes Entertainment SA and Philips Media will also contribute content.

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