DEAL COULD CREATE A BIG BLUE BIRD; EASY KIOSK SOFTWARE COMING; TCI OPENS DIGITAL COMPRESSION HUB; THIS IS HOME SHOPPING, LITERALLY; CD-ROM MARKET GROWS TO $1.5B

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IBM Corp.'s EduQuest and Children's Television Workshop, creator of "Sesame Street," on April 12 will announce a co-development venture for educational CD-ROMs. The CDs, called "Through the Woods" and "At the Seashore," are designed to teach first- and second-graders about nature, using full-motion video, text and animation. Due out this spring, the CDs will be part of the Nature of Science series of interactive computer software from EduQuest, an Atlanta-based company.

First Wave, a kiosk software developer, will introduce Information Rainbow, an easy-to-use Apple Macintosh-driven tool to create touch-screen kiosk displays, at this week's New Media Expo in Los Angeles. First Wave President John Glitsos said the product, to be displayed at the Apple Computer booth, will provide an inexpensive way for marketers, retailers and agencies to design and maintain kiosks without complex computer programming.

Tele-Communications Inc. last week took a big step toward interactive TV, opening its $100 million National Digital Television Center. The center will enable the cable operator to distribute more channels as well as interactive on-screen TV program listings. TCI will start placing digital set-top boxes in homes in several rural areas in early 1995.

Real View Home Tours, an interactive real estate service, has opened its second showroom in the Chicago area, offering photos and information about homes and apartments. Customers can use computer kiosks in the showroom to create videotaped home "tours" or call a real estate agent directly. Real View opened its first showroom last November in Northbrook, Ill. Real View Senior VP-Marketing Frank Muldowney said customer traffic there has been lighter than anticipated, which he attributed to the cold winter.

CD-ROM drives are quickly becoming standard computer hardware. The Optical Publishing Association reports that 4.5 million drives were sold in North America last year, accounting for 60% of the total installed base of 7.5 million. Additionally, 100 million CD-ROM discs were manufactured worldwide last year, with the retail value of the CD-ROM market estimated at $1.5 billion.

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