COUCH POTATOES, PREPARE TO BALANCE YOUR CHECKBOOKS. Cable giant TCI has signed a preliminary deal with BankAmerica and Intuit to provide financial services to TCI subscribers through a digital set-top box that will also offer hundreds of TV channels and Internet access. The companies are giving TCI a large up-front payment, which TCI will use to reduce the $300 cost for each of the 6.5 million or more boxes it plans to order by 2000. Other financing deals are in the works, and cable sources say an agreement with AT&T for Internet phone service is possible.
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