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Not free Internet access from OnDigital

But you can surf while watching a tiny TV picture

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OnDigital, the digital TV service jointly owned by Granada and Carlton Communications, has now linked up with the BBC to work on its TV Internet service.

The service will allow customers to flick over to the Internet, while the TV picture remains in the corner of the screen. This will be provided to OnDigital customers for an as yet undisclosed fee.

This literally fits with research from market analysts Forrester. This reckons 40 per cent of Internet users watch less TV now they're online - if a small picture counts as less TV. (The good news is that tiresome dotcom TV ads might disappear once netizens completely stop watching TV.)

OnDigital is producing an "Internet Box" which will get users online with a 56Kbps modem through a standard phone line. It will also be ADSL ready, even if BT isn't.

Further announcements about parters, launch timing and pricing will be forthcoming over the next few weeks, the spokesman said, as would the spec and brand of the access box.

On the difficulties facing recent entrants to the ISP market, a spokesman for OnDigital said: "We will only promise to deliver what we are sure we can deliver. We are not going to be offering completely free access, so we don't anticipate falling into the same kinds of difficulties as some others have recently."

On Digital MD, Stuart Prebble, described the proposed package as: "the easiest and most cost effective way of getting onto the internet: no dish, no cable, no computer."

No computer? Just a magic thinking box then? It all sounds very retro to us. Anyone else remeber the ZX Spectrum? Just a box that plugged into your telly...®

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