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Interactive TV Network to Be Closed

May 01, 1997|From Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — Time Warner Inc. said Wednesday it will shut down the interactive television network that it introduced with great fanfare more than two years ago.

The company originally planned to use the two-way television network as the center of a nationwide shopping and entertainment service, but has instead moved toward a less-costly system that offers videos on demand.

The Full Service Network provides movies-on-demand, home shopping, video games and other services in 4,000 homes in two Florida counties. It will continue to operate through the rest of this year.

Company executives unveiled the network with a splashy public relations blitz in December 1994, but technical difficulties and high costs hindered its start-up.

Time Warner is now concentrating on becoming the first cable operator to commercially deploy video on demand. It would be seen through the company's new Pegasus digital cable boxes, due to be introduced by the end of this year.

The shift in strategy comes amid a growing focus on the Internet, rather than cable, for full-service networks.

The Full Service Network was plagued early on by cost overruns, delays and glitches. Analysts quickly dismissed it as economically nonviable.

But company executives said it provided valuable information that will help it succeed in its video-on-demand venture.

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