Charter Aims for 1.5M ITV Homes


Charter Communications Inc. has put interactive television atop its 2002
agenda, with plans to launch Digeo Corp.'s basic interactive channels --
currently in only four systems -- to 1.5 million digital subscribers by

That deployment, disclosed in a briefing by Digeo executives, would be the
most sweeping interactive-TV rollout by a major MSO. Most have focused on
high-speed data and video-on-demand.

Digeo, controlled by Charter chairman Paul Allen, supplies interactive text
and picture content to lower-end digital set-top boxes using virtual channels.
It supplies Charter's interactive-TV service with virtual text-based news,
sports, movies, shopping and weather channels.

Digeo interactive-TV content is now deployed to 150,000 Charter digital
subscribers in Glendale, Long Beach and Riverside, Calif., and, starting this
past Thursday, Birmingham, Ala., director of basic interactive TV Aaron Sheedy

Subscribers can scroll through seven 'i-channels' -- shopping, movies, news,
sports, weather, money and iTV Central.

Outside of California and Alabama, Digeo has been quietly deployed in 15
other Charter headends for technical trials in advance of upcoming full-fledged

The four announced systems and the other 15 headends are all
Scientific-Atlanta Inc.-based systems using 'Explorer 2100' or '3100' set-tops,
Sheedy said.

Digeo is working on integrating with the Motorola Broadband Communications
Sector 'DCT-2000' series platform, along with key vendors such as Gemstar-TV
Guide International Inc. and Wink Communications Inc.

Charter also is testing a 'premium' Digeo interactive-TV service in St. Louis
on Motorola's 'DCT-5000' platform, which will run on Microsoft Corp.'s operating