A Silicon Valley start-up called Intertainer Inc. emerged
last week with a broadband video service for high-speed networks, and it hooked Intel
Corp. and Comcast Corp. as backers.
Comcast will start testing the new service this month in
its Buena Park, Calif., system, executives said.
Richard Baskin, co-chairman of Santa Monica, Calif.-based
Intertainer, described the service as one that delivers Java-based video and shopping
services over cable-modem and ADSL-based (asymmetrical digital subscriber line) networks.
Baskin declined to detail how much Intel and Comcast
contributed to its coffers, but he did say that each committed to 'various
aspects' of product development and commercialization.
Intel, for its part, will help Intertainer get to set-top
computers by contributing Intel-based servers and videoconferencing technologies.
Comcast's contribution will come in the form of assistance with broadband personal
computer and set-top-box applications, and it 'may provide programming from its E!
Entertainment Television network,' executives said. Comcast is a majority partner in
Intertainer co-chairman Jonathan Taplin said the company
already has 24 agreements with content providers locked down, but he declined to identify
'Pretty much every major studio, every record company
and a lot of cable,' he said.
He added that in Comcast's Buena Park test, Comcast
will allocate one 6-megahertz
channel for the service.
'It'll be on their basic tier, and then, the
media will be priced at different range -- the first-run pay-per-view movies at $3.95, and
down from there.'
Tom Wendt, chief technology officer for Intertainer, said
that in the Comcast test and in other, forthcoming cable and DSL deployments, operators
buy a rack of video servers, content-management servers and secure-transaction software.
As for cost, he said the cost per video stream weighs in at
about $350, which is 'the lowest anywhere, because of the way that we've
designed this, end-to-end.'
In a prepared statement, Taplin said, 'The mission of
the company is to embody the convergence of the television and the personal computer ...
of Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Through the strength of our relationships in
entertainment and our cutting-edge technology, we can deliver rich and varied content in a
visually compelling and easy-to-use manner.'
Mark Coblitz, vice president of strategic planning for
Comcast, said in a statement that Intertainer 'represents the kind of advanced
digital consumer service that Comcast's broadband cable architecture can
Intertainer executives were not available at press time to
describe how the system works. In a statement, the company said it assembled a technical
team from technology providers including Sybase Inc., Pacific Telesis Labs and Apple
Late last year, Intertainer started a beta-test of the
service in three of Pacific Bell's ADSL-based central offices in Northern California.
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