Siemens is taking a second stab at making PCTVs a mass market product, launching a multimedia set-top box to bring online capacity to conventional TVs.
The machine, based on NetPC architecture and Windows NT, connects to television sets and provides users with electronic services such as banking, telemedicine, radio, TV, telephony, videoconferencing and video-on-demand as well as internet access and email.
Siemens has decided to aim the PCTV at online service providers and hotels - which would sell the box along with online business services - but has also insisted the machine be aimed at consumers.
The vendor was unable to give projected figures for sales of the system or the proportion of corporate to consumer sales. Peter Page, CTO of Siemens Nixdorf, said the firm was running a trial with Deutsche Telekom, but would not disclose what kind of additional channel partnerships will be required to sell the box.
PCTV is the reincarnation of a hybrid desktop and television system, which the vendor launched three years ago at Cebit. However, sales were poor. Rivals Fujitsu-ICL and Mitsubishi had their own versions of the machine which also failed in their bid to attract reasonable sales.
According to Page: 'It is a question of the best channel and the killer application to sell the PCTV.'
However, he added that the vendor will not be approaching TV retailers directly because he believed they do not possess the know-how to market such a system.
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