Microsoft/WebTV Start Data-Broadcast Tests


Redmond, Wash. -- Microsoft Corp. last week startednationwide trials with 12 broadcasters and cable programmers to test the use of thevertical-blanking interval for broadcasting data and program enhancements to homes.

Consumers with personal computers running Windows 98, whichMicrosoft called 'broadcast-enabled' PCs, as well as WebTV Plus boxes areeligible to participate.

The one-dozen broadcasters and cable programmers involvedin the trial are: Capitol Broadcasting Co. Inc., Citytv, Cox Broadcasting, E.W. ScrippsCo., Guthy-Renker, KCTS-PBS, MuchMusic USA, New England Cable News, Oregon PublicBroadcasting, Paramount Stations Group, Sinclair Broadcasting Group Inc. and WFLA-TV.

The TV broadcasters will be able to send data -- such astickers with national news, sports, stocks, headlines and program information -- tocomputer users tuned to their channel.

Microsoft officials said the use of the VBI lets a stationbroadcast data in the form of Web pages that can be stored on a computer's hard diskdrive and viewed later.