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Integra5 Has Message for Cable

DENVER -Start-up Integra5 believes it has an arrow that cable can put in its digital quiver to fight off its most potent competitor, direct-broadcast satellite. That weapon is a keyboard-free "channel" that lists instant messaging, chat and electronic mail among its TV-based Internet applications.

Designed to tap into an operator's digital tier, Integra5's proprietary technology includes "UniTV," a headend server that integrates a broadband grid with set-tops, the Internet and phone networks. Instead of a keyboard, Integra5 customers would use a remote control or telephone to zap text or audio messages to others instantly.

"We've moved the keyboard out of the way.and 'gateway-ed' e-mail, chat and IM," said chief operating officer Jeff Tokar.

Integra5, which made its splashy entrance at last month's Western Show, has gotten some initial cable interest domestically and across the pond.

"We've got two beta sites identified with operators," said Tokar, but he declined to disclose them.