US viewers get TV on demand

One in the handheld is worth two in the VCR

The latest in handheld computing devices means US couch potatoes need never miss their favourite soap or radio show again. The Command Audio handheld unit, about the size of a television remote control, offers audio-on-demand from any location. US subscribers can receive over 100 programmes, including radio, TV or print magazine articles, through satellites and a nationwide network of transmitters. Broadcasts include National Public Radio, TV show Nightline, or readings of magazine articles from Time and People. The shows are available on demand, so TV addicts don’t need to panic if they miss the follow up to that crucial soap cliffhanger. The FM transmitter built into the playback unit allows a customer to route the signal to their car, home or office radio. The Denver and Phoenix areas will be the guinea pigs for the service, with eight more undisclosed US cities to be added by the end of the year. Command Audio hopes to have national deployment by the end of 2000. The device was designed and built by RCA, a division of Thomson Consumer Electronics and will cost $199 with a monthly subscription of $15. ®

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