Sinclair reports success testing broadcast modem System lets computer receive Internet by air

July 10, 1996|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,SUN STAFF Bloomberg Business News contributed to this article.

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. of Baltimore said yesterday that it has completed extensive field testing of its Supercast broadcast modem system, which uses TV signals to broadcast Internet transmissions and other data to computers.

Sinclair, which owns Channel 45 in Baltimore and 27 other stations nationally, said the tests show the system can deliver digital data throughout the Baltimore market at speeds almost four times faster than a standard 28.8 kilobytes-per-second telephone modem.

The news caused Sinclair's stock to rise $1.875 to $44.50 on trading that doubled the stock's daily average volume over the past three months.

However, an analyst who follows the industry was cautious. "What Sinclair is trying to demonstrate is that the broadcast spectrum has a lot of value. We'll have to wait and see if 'Supercast' is commercially viable," said analyst Paul Sweeney of Salomon Bros.

Supercast will let consumers receive digital information directly from the over-the-air TV signal, delivered to their computer's hard drive without the need for a connection to the Internet via telephone or cable TV wires, the company said. The TV signal would be received by standard computers equipped with a broadcast modem.

Computers equipped with a chip being manufactured by Intel Corp. will be able to receive the broadcast signal and store the information on the computer for immediate or future viewing, Sinclair CEO David Smith said.

Sinclair said it will generate revenue from the system -- which will provide information such as news, weather and classified ads -- by selling advertisements.

"The business applications that will eventually emanate from the use of this data delivery platform can be significantly greater than the current advertising-supported TV business," Smith said.

"TV broadcast companies can now, for the first time, become multiple-income stream providers comparable to other telecommunications companies.`

Pub Date: 7/10/96

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