Korean companies link to push Web TV

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SEOUL--Six companies are cooperating in an effort to jump-start Internet TV in South Korea using a set-top box that converts regular TVs into interactive multimedia stations.

The boxes were first developed in 1996 by Chosun Internet TV but didn't sell well due to the 1997 economic crisis. Samsung Electro-Mechanics is now jointly developing the boxes with Chosun and plans to sell 150,000 units annually for overseas and domestic markets.

Other companies will link services to the set top boxes. Samsung Corp. will establish a home shopping business, Medidus will provide online medical services and Caps will provide online security services such as visitor verification and child monitoring through remote cameras. SK Telecom will supply networking capabilities through its existing "Netsgo" service, which will also provide content and advertise the new product.

The set-top boxes will sell for around $300 beginning in November. The boxes include a wireless keyboard and remote control. Besides providing Internet access, electronic household appliances can be managed through the control station.

Copyright October 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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