MyDTV Increases Surfing Solution

Ever miss an all-important news item because you were fruitlessly surfing the remoter corners of your digital cable package? MyDTV, a two-year-old Silicon Valley company, offers a solution: viewer-programmable heads-up announcements on your screen, letting you know that something you want to see has shown up elsewhere on your dial.

At the Cable 2002 show in New Orleans, MyDTV announced that fans of Bloomberg TV and Tech TV - at least those viewers in a California pilot program - could start using MyDTV's PromoLogic service to generate the personalized pop-ups on whatever channel they're watching, allowing them to click directly to the story.

The idea down the road is for viewers to pick any topic they want - snowboarding, accountants, whatever - and be cued when that subject is on.

"For the consumers, we've definitely solved the issue of having a few hundred channels and basically no good notification to help find what you 're looking for," said Gil Dudkiewicz, MyDTV founder and president.

In late May, MyDTV added Court TV to the service's lineup. Eventually, MyDTV execs predict, all the programmers will get on board to increase their presence in the multichannel sea.

The key ingredient, MyDTV officers said, is the exclusive metadata the MyDTV system picks up from the programmers.

"That's kind of the crux of a lot our personalization capabilities, because no one else can tell you when a particular news story, a particular music video, a particular item for sale on the shopping network will be on," said Jonathan Barker MyDTV executive vice president of business development. "We're the ones that can do that."

Using the MyDTV's TV Agent application, (automatically downloaded onto the set-top box) picky viewers can select keywords and degrees on interest to design a pop-up package that gives them just enough information without bombarding them. The Content iQ system powers TV Agent and lets cable operators manage available content and promotion.

MyDTV executives predict a commercial rollout of the service by the end of 2002, probably in California.