New on TV: The Multiple-Channel Screen

By PETER GRANT Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL August 30, 2005; Page B1

When pro football starts in September, fans who sign up for the "SuperFan" game package offered by satellite operator DirecTV Group Inc. will get a new feature: a channel on which they'll be able to watch eight games on one screen.

But viewers who don't feel like shelling out about $300 for SuperFan will have other options for watching several programs at once -- whether it's sports, news or shopping shows. The multiple-channel screen, known in the television industry as a "mosaic," is about to show up on millions of TVs throughout the country. It's another sign that satellite and cable systems are beginning to embrace interactive television after years of hype about the concept.

EchoStar Communications Inc. is set to announce today that its Dish Network satellite service has added the mosaic feature to its "Dish Home" channel. Viewers who tune to Dish Home, where they have access to a wide range of interactive features like games and shopping, will see what's happening on six channels, currently all tuned to news stations.

Comcast Corp. this fall is planning to launch a similar mosaic feature on a new "portal" screen that subscribers to its cable systems will see when they first turn on their TVs.

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