Technology has e-commerce potential

NEW YORK — Prominent Wall Street media analyst Tom Wolzien has scored a technological breakthrough in linking TV to the Internet.

Interactive digital TV company ACTV announced Monday that it has acquired an online media patent from Wolzien, an analyst with Sanford Berstein. When combined with ACTV’s existing HyperTV system, the Wolzien process will allow TV viewers to pull information from the Internet related to the show they are watching.

If viewers have traditional analog TV sets and personal computers in the same room, the Wolzien process will place an icon on the PC screen so users can call up info about the program running on the TV. If Mike Piazza comes to bat during a Mets baseball game, say, the icon could allow viewers to retrieve stats about the slugger.

Owners of advanced digital TVs and viewers who watch TV programming on their PCs will be able to click on an icon so that the info will appear on part of the screen as viewers continue watching the program.

The Wolzien process also has significant e-commerce potential, said Bill Samuels, chair and CEO of ACTV. During a baseball game, for example, the icon could offer viewers the chance to buy an autographed ball.

Samuels said that one of the benefits of his company’s patented technology is that the Internet info appears within the TV program and does not replace it.

Wolzien’s patent — which the analyst sold to ACTV in exchange for cash and an equity stake in a new ACTV Internet division — is very similar to ACTV’s HyperTV system.

ACTV has a deal to roll out its HyperTV technology with cable web Fox Sports Net.

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