RTL TO LAUNCH E-MAIL VIA TV APPLICATION
Jorn Krieger, Munich
In a move that marks the first entry of a German TV broadcaster into the world of interactive applications, RTL will next month launch an e-mail over TV service. RTL Newmedia spokeswoman Simone Danne said the Cologne-based broadcaster’s interactive subsidiary would use the OpenTV middleware. It will be available to digital DTH households that receive RTL within its digital free-to-air package on Astra at 19 degrees East.
RTL World TV Mail, as the service is called, will officially launch on August 25 at the beginning of the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) in Berlin, the world’s largest consumer electronics fair. In addition to the ability to send and receive e-mails, viewers will also be able to send SMS messages to mobile phone users. As a third interactive application viewers will be able to access the online version of RTL’s quiz show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, which until now has been restricted to Internet users. For the reception of the interactive services, a set-top-box with the OpenTV software system and a return channel is needed.
According to RTL, currently the only receivers on the German market that meet those demands are Panasonic’s TU-DSF 30 with an external telephone modem and the new TU-DSF 31 with an integrated telephone modem. In addition, Panasonic offers an infrared keyboard tailored for the RTL World TV Mail service.
According to the Cologne-based broadcaster, all of its digital TV applications will be optimised for the future multimedia home platform (MHP) software standard. The RTL World TV Mail application was created in cooperation with SCIP, the Hamburg-based software development company in which RTL Newmedia holds a 17.5 per cent stake. In its statement, RTL stressed that it will eventually further extend the e-mail service, for example in future an icon will alert the TV viewers on screen about incoming e-mails. While the interactive applications are at first restricted to RTL’s DTH viewers, they will later become available to cable homes through upgraded broadband cable networks.