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By | June 6, 2001

      QVC has resolved technical difficulties that have prevented the home shopping service from offering an impulse buy facility on its Sky Digital feed. In the past few days QVC has introduced a quarter screen view into its interactive service, allowing viewers to continue viewing the TV service while they browse the on-screen catalogue.

      Interspace understands that during QVC’s extensive test programme a technical glitch was discovered that would have crashed some 800,000 set-top boxes had the software been released over the air. QVC will hold an indemnity clause with Sky that would allow the platform operator to claim damages from any party whose applications bring down their set- top box installed base. Rather than go through Open (or indeed Sky Interactive), QVC has chosen – like Music Choice – to connect the set-top box direct to its own customer centre.

      A spokeswoman for QVC declined to comment on the issue other than to say it had been resolved and that impulse buying will commence sometime over the next few months.

      While satellite viewers have been able to use the NDS-developed QVC interactive service for over nine months, cable viewers have not been so lucky. Continuing technical issues have resulted in limited interactive services on UK cable. In any case, cable has chosen the Liberate TV system over Sky’s preferred OpenTV.

      The result is that QVC has taken additional satellite capacity with NTL to deliver a ‘clean feed’ to cable headends. The free-to air feed is being transmitted on Sirius 2/GE1E from NTL’s Crawley Court centre as part of a GBP1 million (E1.67 million) contract. It was brought into service following the withdrawal of QVC’s analogue transmissions from Astra 1C.

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