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WavePhore revs delivery service

The release will expand the firm's partnership with Microsoft by integrating the service into the IE browser for the first time.

WavePhore today announced that it will launch the beta release of the next version of its WaveTop information delivery service.

The release will expand its partnership with Microsoft by integrating the service into the Internet Explorer Web browser for the first time.

WaveTop allows PC users with TV tuner cards to receive Internet content from providers such as Time New Media, ZDNet, and USA Today. WaveTop is delivered via an unused portion of the PBS broadcast transmission, called the Vertical Blanking Interval (VBI).

Microsoft bought almost 3 percent of WavePhore earlier this year, and WaveTop has been available in the Windows 98 operating system since its launch.

The WaveTop service is able to deliver content at times when the computer is not in use, bypassing some of the hassles of slower dial-up information access. However, widespread adoption of such services, also offered by Intel in its Intercast service, has been stalled by the fact that few PCs actually ship with TV tuner cards as standard equipment.

Companies such as Hauppauge do offer TV tuner cards as add-in products.

WaveTop, which was previously compatible only with Internet Explorer, will now reside within the browser itself, offering users a customized Front Page. WaveTop 1.0 offered Net-like content, a WavePhore spokesperson said, but had its own "browser" to surf through the content. WaveTop 2.0 content will be accessed via IE instead.

"It's a familiar setting to people who have Internet Explorer," said the WavePhore spokesperson. "It had Internet type content on it, but you don't get it through the Internet. From a browser standpoint, it is more like the Net now."

WaveTop 2.0 beta CDs have already been sent to beta testers, and will also be available on the WavePhore Web site for download.