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TCI Starts ‘Video On Demand’

Cable giant Tele-Communications Inc., American Telephone & Telegraph and Denver-based U.S. West will launch a 12 to 18 month pilot program later this year to provide a homevideo store selection of movies and special events to 450 suburban Denver cable households via existing cable and fiber-optic lines.

The test is the first widespread consumer test of enhanced cable pay-per-view and “video on demand.” Cable subs in the test area will be able to select from more than 1,000 movies and special events available at any one time.

The pilot program first will test an enhanced p-p-v service that offers any of 15 movies or features daily. At least six movies will be available at a time, as often as four times an hour.

The service enables subscribers to use a remote control to select from a printed list.

Malone and other officials said the cost will be comparable to homevideo store rental charges: $3 or less per movie or event.

TCI will provide the programs, AT&T, the software for the service and special converter boxes and U.S. West fiber-optic transmission and research of customer reaction.

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