How will ordinary folk tap into traffic on "electronic superhighways" that may soon link the nation? Advanced Digital Telecorp in White Plains, N.Y., has an answer: the TV set. ADT's TeleData Recorder will let customers capture, store, and reuse up to 1,000 pages of information--such as stock quotes, TV listings, or magazine articles. Forgoing costly satellite links or phone lines, ADT piggybacks data on TV broadcasts, using bandwidth reserved for the blank vertical lines that frame your picture. Two custom chips decode the information and display it when viewers request it with a remote.
Recently, TV stations in Dallas and West Palm Beach became the first equipped to carry such services. So far, ADT CEO Keen Yee has arranged to carry health information from a Food & Drug Administration bulletin board and from pharmaceutical magazines put out by SCP Publications. Yee says he'll have 200 information providers by yearend, including major news and stock-tracking services. Consumers will pay about $350 for the TDR, plus service charges set by the information carrier. The system is not truly interactive, however. You'll still need the phone to answer that promo on your TDR.