NTL to go interactive

Service expected to reach 100,000 subscribers

LONDON — U.K. cable operator NTL has launched an interactive TV service in the British market.

The unnamed platform boasts shopping, news, sport, travel and local information and is available to anyone in Britain via a rented set-top box costing £15 ($24) per month.

Through a regular telephone line connecting to NTL’s gateway, subscribers can access commercial internet sites — initially from 42 partners including the BBC and Flextech — on a conventional TV set even as they continue to watch their favorite programme. The “interactive channels” will soon also be available through digital cable and digital terrestrial TV.

NTL’s launch precedes the launch this spring of Open, satcaster BSkyB’s interactive service. Open, which will be available with the SkyDigital platform, is gearing up for a full launch in the fall.

NTL maintained that its service is more comprehensive than Open and that it expects to reach about 100,000 subscribers by the end of the year.

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