Officially opened on Dec. 4, the Estonian portal TV.ee, which has been available for about two weeks, was visited by several thousand surfers. A police serial is the most popular program shown and so far has had almost 700 hits.
TV.ee offers six Estonian TV shows that have already been shown on Estonian television channels. The database is updated daily by 11 a.m.
The concept of Internet TV includes real-time shows and therefore slightly differs from what Tilde has to offer. Perhaps the most useful thing about Tilde TV portals is that they also include program archives. The programs available at the portal don't include commercials, and it's possible to see only parts of the program. For example, users can skip the whole news block and see the weather forecast.
Users' comments and the show's rating give additional interactivity to the portals.
Based on Microsoft Streaming Media technology, the portal requires a user to have a Web browser and Windows Media Player software. For optimal viewing a connection faster than dial up, such as broadband, is recommended.
Mihkel Nummert from Tilde Eesti OU said the Estonian part of the project has been planned for two years and cost $100,000. He hopes the company will break even in a year.
"We are arranging trilateral talks with TV channels and producers to bring more TV programs to our portal," said Nummert.
The six Estonian programs from two commercial channels available at TV.ee as of Dec. 4 include two news programs, police chronicles and the rest are public shows.
The Tilde Group, founded in 1991 in Riga by two Latvian businessmen, now includes three companies, one from each of the Baltic states. The group's main working fields are software development and distribution, software localization and other multilingual services. Tilde entered the Estonian market at the beginning of this year.
Egils Trumpe, Tilde's Latvian representative admitted that although Internet penetration in Lithuania is relatively poor, TV.lt is the most successful of the company's three portals there.