Cox to Roll Out MetaTV Services


Cox Communications Inc. said Monday that it would announce the launch of interactive-TV services supplied by MetaTV Inc. in up to five markets by the end of the year.

Cox will offer customer-service applications that let subscribers pay their bills with a click of the remote or upgrade to new programming packages. It will also offer local weather, news and movie-theater listings, beginning with systems in the Gulf Coast of Florida. The services will be free to customers who receive digital video services.

“Eventually we’d like to launch in all of our markets. I think it will happen over the coming two years,” Cox director of ITV product development Vince Groff said. (Cox first announced a plan to deploy MetaTV services in February 2002.)

Cox is going after the “low-hanging fruit” of ITV services, and hopes to drive sales of its product bundle by letting cable-modem customers read e-mail messages on the TV, he said. The GulfCoast system serves customers in Pensacola, Destin, Fort Walton Beach and other communities along Florida’s panhandle.