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Playcast launches games-on-demand cable service

OnLive and Gaikai rival planned for 'major territories' later this year

A new games-on-demand service using similar technology to OnLive and Gaikai has launched in Israel. Provider Playcast Media System allows users to play console-quality games through a standard set-top box by pulling audio and visual data from offsite computers, much like its two rivals.

Currently at the pilot stage, Playcast has launched the service in Israel in conjunction with cable network company Hot, but plans a wider release across "major markets" in the US, Europe and Asia in 2009 and 2010.

Promising no lags and the ability to stream PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 quality games to ordinary cable or Telco set top boxes via standard cable phone lines, the pilot service has been four years in the development process. Playcast plans to use its trial to gather user feedback on the gaming experience offered and portal ease-of-use before the full service is rolled out across Israel.

"This pilot unequivocally proves the viability of high-end videogames delivery over cable TV networks," said Guy De Beer, CEO of Playcast. "The vision of TV games-on-demand is about to come true, enabling new growth opportunities for game publishers and TV operators at minimum investment, as well as an exciting and affordable new gaming experience for hundreds of millions of cable and IPTV viewers around the world.

"After four years of development, it's exciting to see our technology transform in to a real user experience. We're delighted that Israel’s premier cable network, Hot, has been able to share this vision with us and we’re indebted to them for giving us this opportunity to roll out the Playcast service."

Similar games-on-demand service OnLive is currently in closed beta and expected to release in winter 2009. Gaikai will begin a closed beta trial within the US shortly.

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