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Media Mania

Digital technology may be the greatest leap forward in communications since the invention of the transistor. Or it may just be a way to sell more costume jewelry on cable TV. Visit Barry Diller in the sun-drenched cabana behind his Beverly Hills home, and you'll probably end up betting on the baubles.

For seven months, Diller has been running the QVC home-shopping network. Now, as he reflects on his foray into interactive television, Diller appreciates both the possibilities and limits of his business. On the TV screen next to his desk, QVC is busily hawking quilted bedspreads, and Diller knows he will sell tons of them. He can't say the same for many of the proposals coming from other multimedia players: "I'd hate to be the companies who are throwing billions at this stuff," he says.