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Product Spotlight: TWT-2161

Apr 1, 2002  •  Post A Comment

What it is: TWT-2161, a universal remote control from Casco Products. It is designed to allow interactive gaming that requires multiple-user input at the same time.
How it works: The remote allows up to four people in the same home to compete against each other in an interactive game. “You could play a trivia game like `Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ and have four people playing in the same room or playing people across the country if the provider has it set up that way,” said Robin Siegling, VP of sales for Casco in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The device could be used for trivia games, word searches, character games, Tetris-like games and interactive sports, she said.
Features and benefits: The infrared technology that Casco licenses from United Kingdom interactive TV company Two Way TV operates at a higher frequency, which means users won’t get interference from other remotes in the household. “This gives you an instantaneous transmission, so if you are the first one to get the right answer, you win. The technology provides time stamping and gives you a split-second indication of who won,” she said.
Not yet ready for prime time: While the product is currently available for $20 per remote from Casco, the typical consumer wouldn’t want to purchase one yet, Ms. Siegling said. That’s because set-top boxes in the United States, such as those made by Motorola, Scientific-Atlanta and Pace, need to be designed with a higher frequency to accept and translate this type of high-speed transmission. Casco is working with box manufacturers to get them to incorporate higher frequencies into next-generation boxes. “We are waiting to see how the market will progress,” she said. “But there are those operators looking to offer it here because is has done well over in Europe.”
While Casco’s remote is not currently deployed in Europe, a similar one from Phillips is being used there with Telewest and NTL, relying on the same technology from Two Way TV, she said.
Penetrating the U.S. market: Once U.S cable operators deploy ITV applications in earnest, consumers will migrate toward the type of applications that have worked in other settings, such as interactive games and trivia games that have become popular in bars, she said. “Toward the end of the year, you will start to see some demand,” she said.