By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
LAS VEGAS - During a press conference at CES earlier this month, Ch.1 (Channel One) announced its launch as an integrated high-resolution Internet and entertainment TV platform.
The Ch.1 architecture, which the company aims to license to digital TV manufacturers, will be built into digital TVs and operates without an external PC.
As part of the announcement, Ch.1 VP Rey Roque divulged the details of a just-signed letter of intent to partner with ISP NadaPC to manufacture DTV-ready TVs with the Ch.1 platform.
The units will retail for $199, strictly through NadaPC's website. Consumers must sign a three-year service agreement at $21.95 per month with NadaPC to get the monitor.
NadaPC president/CEO Jonathan Strum said that previous incarnations of the Internet on a television monitor offered an inferior experience because of poor quality and lack of services.
"We looked at what Ch.1 was offering, and we thought it was an excellent vehicle to spread our ISP and community service," Strum explained. "People's experience with Web on a television was, frankly, terrible. Ch.1 offers very high quality, combined with unique services."
The Ch.1 platform can be integrated with all manner of television sets but is preferable for high-quality digital, plasma or LCD monitors, the company said.
It functions as an ISP that enables members for a variable monthly fee to browse the Internet, create Web and TV favorite lists, access preprogrammed category portals, send e-mail, shop online, chat, and operate a localized and customized channel guide. By entering their ZIP code, users get access to all their local programming in conjunction with Web content.
In addition, Ch.1 can facilitate "enhanced TV" by allowing users to pull up Web pages in a picture-in-picture format while live TV is playing.
"We view this product as an Internet appliance," said Ch.1 VP Rey Roque. "Our platform is open so it can evolve with technology. For example, the current incarnation does not come with internal memory or removable storage, but we can adapt the platform to incorporate those features."
Ch.1 also announced an earlier partnership with high-end digital TV producer Princeton Graphic Systems to create 32-inch flat-screen-tube and 36-inch curved-tube high-definition monitors to be bundled with the Ch.1 platform-which comes with a dial-up connection or optional DSL or cable connection.
The 36-inch model from Princeton is a 4:3 direct-view HDTV monitor that can support NTSC video in progressive line-doubled mode for all currently available HDTV formats-including 1080i and native 720p, computer sources up to XGA resolution and selected USB devices.
The system is operated with a universal remote/mouse, which opens like a clamshell to reveal a full keyboard with discrete IR for TV, cable, satellite and VCR. The 36-inch system is expected to be available by the end of this month for a suggested retail of $3,499.
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