Shaw Readies to Roll Out VOD

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Canada's Shaw Communications Inc. is the latest MSO to jump into the video-on-demand fray, rolling out the service to its Calgary home base.

Beginning Sept. 4, Shaw will offer the service to Internet customers who also subscribe to digital cable via their High-Speed or Lite-Speed Internet connection and digital set-top box. The VOD service will include full VCR/DVD functionality, including such features as pause, rewind and fast-forward. Customers can watch a selected title for up to 48 hours.

To fuel the VOD library, Shaw has struck a long-term deal with Hallmark Interactive to provide more than 300 titles. The MSO expects to strike more deals with Hollywood film and video outlets in the coming months.

"This is a value-added service that only we can deliver over our advanced two-way network," said Shaw president Peter Bissonnette. "Video-on-demand is one of the most significant advances in television technology and we believe it will usher in a new era of interactive and customer-controlled television viewing."

Plans are to extend the service to high-speed Internet customers in most of Shaw's remaining Western Canada territories in the next six to eight months.

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