American Broadcasting Companies Inc. announced plans yesterday to send movies and other shows to consumers while they sleep.
In another effort to find a use for the television set, ABC said it would use affiliates to broadcast scrambled programming between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., eastern time, for taping on home recorders.
"This is a way to utilize a distribution system already in place," said Herbert Granath, president of ABC Video Enterprises. "This is not a service for collectors. We see it as an extremely convienient way to view our product based on your own time schedule."
ABC plans to call the service The Home View Network and has contracted with Sony Corp. to develop the decoder the system will use. Next year, the network will begin testing the system at the television stations it owns, and a national service will follow.
Granath said the system will be directed toward markets without access to other pay television services, like cable and subscription television.
The signal will be beamed to homes in the same general form as conventional over-the-air signals. But in order to decode the scrambled signals, ABC would charge $19.95 a month for a complex decoder. Subscribers will be unable to watch the shows as they are distributed, however, but must tape the shows on video recorders for later use.
Also yesterday, ABC said it had asked the Federal Communications Commission for quick authorization to offer the service through the five ABC stations it owns and through its affiliates who decide to participate. Sony also asked the FCC to approve its coding and decoding systems.
The service will offer about eight feature films new to the service each month, as well as other entertainment.