TelstraSaturn: no plans for interactive TV just yet

TelstraSaturn has 'no specific plans' to launch interactive television at this stage, even though its co-owner, Australian cable TV company Austar has just done so.

TelstraSaturn has "no specific plans" to launch interactive television at this stage, even though its co-owner, Australian cable TV company Austar has just done so.

TelstraSaturn's general manager for business development, David Plummer, says the company's main focus is and always has been the business market, even though residential customers are very important to TelstraSaturn.

"There's a good crossover or convergence there between home and business that we want to be part of," says Plummer.

Austar's iTV service includes T-mail, or email on your TV, Quick Shop, which allows viewers to buy items they seen on TV programmes as well as games and interactive "enhancements" to a number of shows, including The Weather Channel.

TelstraSaturn's cable TV operation currently uses analogue set-top boxes and that rules out any interactivity on a similar scale.

"It's been a price issue but we're at a point now where the costs of digital boxes are reaching a crossover point. We're not there yet, but we're very close."

Another problem standing in the way is the back end infrastructure.

"We're looking at integrating our ISP assets together more tightly." Plummer says TelstraSaturn's network is quite different to Austar's in Australia and that will need to be taken into account before any roll-out of interactive TV is considered.

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