Shop from the Sofa of Interactive Television; DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY
Byline: DAVID NORMAN
THE digital age is coming to your TV - interactive TV (iTV) is here, and its arrival in our homes will be sooner than you think.
Last year six million households tuned into digital TV, up from three million the year before.
To put that into perspective, 30pc of all households have access to digital TV, while only slightly more - 33pc - have access to the internet. And the numbers are going up.
By 2005 it is suggested that 20 million households will have an interactive service provided by terrestrial, satellite and cable TV companies.
The benefits of iTV mean, for example, watching an instant replay of your favourite football team, or choosing your favourite film to watch on a pay-per-view basis, instead of popping out to the video shop.
One company that saw the advantage of digital TV early on was HSBC Bank, which launched an interactive banking site in September 1999. Included on the site was the company's Personal Contract Purchase scheme called CarChoice.
This innovative scheme was originally set up in 1992 to source, finance and deliver cars to customers by phone. Its inclusion on the banking site meant that, for the very first time, you could buy a car over the TV.
It was a technology that Steven John, from Pontypridd in South Wales, embraced. He became the first buyer of a car over the television, purchasing a V-reg Renault Megane. Because Steven worked unusual hours, he found browsing through a wide variety of cars, at his own leisure and from the comfort of his sofa, a real bonus. …