Belgium Says Hello To Cyber TV & Home Banking

Belgium Says Hello To Cyber TV & Home Banking

09/17/98 BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, 1998 SEP 18 (NB) — By Steve Gold, Newsbytes. Belgacom has taken the wraps off its own Internet set top box (STB) system known as CyberTV. Like other countries’ Internet STB systems, the CyberTV system can use a variety of connections to the Internet, including dial-up modem and digital links, but its killer application is home banking, making the first STB to complete this function.

Belgacom has chosen Network Computer Inc’s (NCI’s) TV Navigator and Custom Connect Server software as the enabling technology for the new interactive services, including the Net banking facility. The banking service is being offered through KBC Bank & Insurance, one of Belgium’s leading financial institutions, Newsbytes notes.

The CyberTV STB is flexible and has been designed to integrate broadcast or cable TV programs with Internet content. As TV programs are transmitted in analog format, the Internet STB will be able to dial up and access the program’s Web pages, allowing users to view both the program and the Internet content simultaneously.

The Belgacom CyberTV home banking service, meanwhile, will enable users to conduct basic account transactions including payments, fund transfers and account management. To protect the integrity of user’s accounts, Belgacom is supplying an encryption smart card for use with the STB. When used with an ID and PIN system, the banking service uses encrypted transmissions to ensure privacy, officials said.

For the CyberTV STB, Belgacom is using NCI’s TV Navigator client and Custom Connect server software. According to NCI, TV Navigator allows Belgacom to leverage its existing branding and content to create a customized user interface for its customers.

Requiring less than 4 megabytes (MB) of memory on the STB, NCI says that TV Navigator scales and displays any Internet content on a television and displays the Web and television simultaneously. NCI’s Custom Connect server, meanwhile will provide registration and day-to-day management for the network of set-top boxes for Belgacom.

David Roux, NCI’s CEO, said that the linkup with Belgacom increases NCI’s role in the European Internet TV marketplace. “By adding home banking services to NCI’s TV Navigator platform, Belgacom is enabling a new breed of interactive services through information appliances connected to a television,” he explained.

Belgacom is trialing the CyberTV service to around 300 customers in the Brussels area. Subject to the trial being a success, plans call for the telecommunications company to launch the service across Belgium in Q1 of next year.

Belgacom’s web site is at . NCI’s web site is .

Reported by Newsbytes News Network, .

(19980917/Press Contact: Randy Brasche, NCI 650-631-4650; Wim DeRynck, Belgacom +32-2-202-9264/WIRES ONLINE, TELECOM/)

COPYRIGHT 1998 Washingtonpost Newsweek Interactive

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group