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 IRVING, Texas, Jan. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- GTE Telephone Operations and AT&T today announced plans for an interactive video services trial in the Manassas, Va., area to begin later this year. The trial will offer GTE customers an extensive choice of new interactive services over an "information superhighway" as part of a video dialtone network capable of providing in excess of 500 channels of digital programming.
 These services will begin approximately by the end of 1994 and are expected to reach more than 1,000 subscribers by mid-1995. The exact timeline for the trial will be determined following government approvals.
 "GTE is working to bring the interactive communications services of the future to our customers today," said Bob Calafell, vice president, Video Services, GTE Telephone Operations. He added, "This interactive video services trial will give us vital information to better meet the needs of our customers. We want to provide the kind of video programming our customers want, accessed through a convenient, user- friendly format, in an attractive, competitively-priced package."
 The GTE/AT&T trial, which uses AT&T's new video server technology and broadband switching, will provide customers with such interactive services as home shopping, educational programming, multi-player games and information services. GTE and other programmers will also provide customers with video-on-demand, enhanced pay-per-view, and a full selection of traditional broadcast and cable entertainment programming. In addition, the network will have two-way capability for applications such as distance learning, work-at-home and video conferencing.
 Customers will be able to video-browse through interactive retail catalogues for home shopping, play full-motion video games with other GTE household members on the network, and enjoy a variety of programming and services which can be updated and refreshed continuously -- because it will be provided over the network rather than being "off-the-shelf" software, games or entertainment. In addition, customers will be able to select popular movies or other highly-requested programs on-demand, plus select other entertainment programs that will be playing continuously throughout the day.
 24-Hour Access to Movies
 One advantage of the new AT&T equipment used in the trial is its ability to deliver and store full-motion, broadcast-quality programs. This gives customers direct control to select the titles they want, whenever they want to watch them. "This will be like having access to a video rental store, 24 hours a day, without ever leaving home," Calafell said. "Plus, our customers will never have to worry about paying a late fee, or a lack of video tape copies, because an unlimited number of customers can view the same digitally-stored movie at the same time."
 When using video-on-demand, viewers will be able to stop, pause, rewind and fast-forward a program -- just as they do now when watching a videocassette on their VCR. Customers also will have a very easy method for quickly locating and previewing programs, in full-motion video, through a new services navigation capability.
 GTE selected the Manassas area because the demographics are typical of the additional markets where GTE is planning to offer video services and because last year's U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia's decision declared the video programming section of the 1984 Cable Act to be unconstitutional, which allows GTE to provide video programming in Eastern Virginia.
 GTE and AT&T to Test Interactive Programming
 Programming for the trial will be obtained from a wide variety of traditional entertainment program providers. In addition, GTE plans to develop its own interactive video programming for this offering. AT&T, working with content developers, will use its digital production facility, content authoring tools, and digitization technology to help develop programming and adapt existing materials to the new interactive environment.
 "We're excited about working with GTE to combine AT&T's network, software and technological experiences with GTE's local network expertise," said David J. Carter, general manager of AT&T Consumer Video Services. "Understanding what customers want will give both companies the opportunity to develop the best products and services for the future."
 "We are working with GTE to break new ground in the telecommunications industry," said John Fischer, AT&T Network Systems' vice president. "An easy to use interface and exciting video effects, such as multiple video screens on the TV, are just a few of the features that AT&T's interactive technology and software provide. We are putting a vast array of video possibilities under the control of users in their homes."
 GTE's State-of-the-Art Network to
 Deliver Services Using AT&T Systems
 The two companies plan to deliver the video services to customers over a GTE-owned and operated highly-advanced, fiber-optics and coaxial cable network, using AT&T's state-of-the-art, end-to-end video transport system. The network includes AT&T's new interactive video server, a new asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) switch (the GCNS-2000), fiber/coaxial video transport system and new digital encoding equipment. The two companies plan to upgrade the network over time to the new synchronous optical network (SONET)-based SLC-2000 technology from AT&T.
 AT&T (NYSE: T) provides communications services, equipment and computer systems to consumers, businesses and communications companies around the world. AT&T Network Systems is one of the world's largest manufacturers and providers of network telecommunications equipment.
 GTE Telephone Operations is the largest U.S.-based local telephone company, providing voice, data, and video products and services through more than 21 million access lines in portions of the U.S., Canada, South America, and the Caribbean. GTE Telephone Operations, based in Irving, Texas, had total revenues of $15.9 billion in 1992. Its parent organization, GTE Corp. (NYSE: GTE) is the fourth-largest publicly owned telecommunications company in the world.
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 /CONTACT: Dick Jones of GTE, 214-718-6924; Roger Frizzell of AT&T Network Systems, 214-325-4710; Mary Barnsdale of AT&T Consumer Video Services, 908-221-7375; or in Washington, D.C., Julia Spicer of GTE, 202-463-5206, or after 6 p.m., 202-797-0715/
 (GTE T)

CO: GTE Telephone Operations; AT&T ST: Texas, New Jersey, Virginia IN: TLS SU:

GK -- NY097 -- 1475 01/17/94 17:16 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 17, 1994

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