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Intertext Consortium Established to Promote Interactive Television System

28 November, 1995

Toshiba Corporation
Sony Corporation
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation
Wink Communications, Inc.
NHK Enterprises 21, Inc.
Samsung Electronics Japan Co., Ltd.
Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.
Sharp Corporation
Dentsu Inc.
NEC Corporation
NEC Home Electronics, Ltd.
Victor Company of Japan, Ltd.
Pioneer Electronic Corporation
Hitachi, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

TOKYO -- A group of major companies from the electronics, telecommunications and advertising industries will establish a new organization, the Intertext Consortium, to promote and encourage early development of a new interactive television system in Japan, with the goal of starting such broadcasts in 1996.

The consortium will provide a forum for information exchange on the new interactive TV system, originated by Toshiba Corporation, Sony Corporation, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, Ltd. and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation.

The new interactive TV system utilizes Japan's current terrestrial TV and teletext broadcasting system and standard telephone lines, and offers substantial advantages in installation and operating costs over fully digitized interactive systems.

The Intertext Consortium will promote the new interactive TV system to broadcasters, TV program production companies and advertising and marketing companies both in Japan and overseas.

The interactive TV system will use software for interactive TV applications developed by Wink Communications, Inc. of Alameda, California, U.S.A. (President: Brian Dougherty)

Examples of the New Interactive TVs:

The interactive television offers viewers a wide range of services, including teleshopping, interactive quiz shows, opinion polling and information services.

  1. In teleshopping, viewers can receive more detailed information and order more easily than in conventional broadcasts.

  2. In entertainment, such as quiz shows, viewers can easily participate by using the TV remote controller.

  3. In TV polling, viewer's opinions can be instantly researched and tabulated by means of a TV remote controller to enter and send viewer's decision.

Outline of the Interactive TV system:

The system consists of an interactive TV broadcasting system, network server, telephone lines and home-use TV receiver. The broadcasting system consists of an interactive program production system, data storage system, TV program transmission system and multiplexing equipment.

The new system utilizes data codes left unused in current television signals to carry additional information. The information carried by these codes is fed to a dedicated decoder in the TV receiver that executes the commands that it contains. This approach is based on the vertical blanking interval (VBI) data broadcasting method, and works as an extension of Japan's current system for teletext broadcasting. Using 4 VBI lines, information can be delivered at a rate of approximately 5 kilobytes per second. The system also incorporates a standard modem in its dedicated TV set or set-top box, which both enables broadcasters to send additional information via telephone lines and allows viewers to respond interactively.

TV makers will develop and commercialize TV sets that incorporate a dedicated decoder and a telephone modem, and set-top boxes will also be available for users who want to use such device with current TVs. Telephone companies will develop networking technologies for interactive information exchange.

Information in the press releases, including product prices and specifications, content of services and contact information, is current on the date of the press announcement,but is subject to change without prior notice.

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