Will Software Home Shopping Surge With Cd Rom?

First there was mail-order catalog shopping. Then came the cable-TV home-shopping networks. Now, two companies hope that the next time you get the urge to shop, you'll run to your compact disk.

TestDrive Inc. in Santa Clara, Calif., has encrypted six fully functional software programs on a $9.95 CD-ROM called SuperStore. Buyers can try each program five times, but if they want the program permanently, they must call a toll-free number and pay for a special code to "unlock" the software for copying into the PC.

Another company, Info Now Corp. in Boulder, Colo., has a similar product, called Store-on-a-Disc, and has recently signed agreements with two mail-order PC makers--IBM's Ambra Computer Corp. subsidiary and Gateway 2000 Inc.--to package the disk with CD-ROM drive-equipped PCs. Not to be outdone, TestDrive says it will give away its CD with each copy of Multimedia World magazine's premiere issue in December.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.