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Panasonic To Sell Wink/DirecTV Boxes

SECAUCUS, N.J. -Panasonic has reached an agreement with Wink Communications to put Wink datacast receiving circuitry into Panasonic DirecTV integrated receiver descramblers (IRDs) slated for later this year.

“Panasonic is focused on providing our customers with access to the latest services and technology and enhancing the entertainment value of our products,” said David Naranjo, Advanced Product Planning manager, Matsushita Television and Network System Company. “Adding Wink’s interactive television technology to our satellite receivers brings an additional level of interaction and entertainment to our customers.”

Wink Enhanced TV, which is identified to DirecTV subscribers as DirecTV Interactive, enables viewers to interact with programs and advertisements through the remote control while they continue to watch TV. By clicking a button during an enhanced program or advertisement, viewers can access program-related information-such as weather, sports updates, trivia and play-along games-request product samples, coupons and other free offers from advertisers, or make instant purchases.

In addition to Panasonic, five other manufacturers plan to include Wink software in their DirecTV satellite receivers, Wink said. Wink and DirecTV intend to reach more than 5 million DirecTV households with DirecTV Interactive by the end of 2001.