Device Connects Ticker Tape to Investor's Personal Compu instead of relying on brokerages.
Feb. 02, 1989
Undated (AP) _ Jeff Blokker and Eric Randall, co-founders of CableSoft, said their product Live Wire consists of a specially designed computer keyboard that, when hooked to cable TV, finds the Financial News Network channel.
It reads the ticker tape that runs across the bottom of the television screen, quoting prices of stocks from the New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange and over-the-counter stocks. The device converts the characters from the TV screen and relays them to the user's personal computer screen.
Besides tracking a particular stock, a Live Wire user also can program at what price to buy or sell. An alarm bell rings when that threshold is reached, Blokker said. The device also can make long-term stock earnings calculations, he said.
To comply with Securities and Exchange Commission guidelines, there is a 15-minute delay from the time the quotes are issued by stock exchanges and the time they first appear on FNN.
But Blokker called that a minor disadvantage since most investors get delayed stock information anyway from their brokers. CableSoft's Live Wire product costs about $1,000, he said, ''a one-time cost.''.
''Anyone who does interday trading, on the average of more than five trades on a single day, then you need real-time data. If you trade once a day, a 15- minute delay data is fine,'' Blokker said.
Most personal investors, he said, are now utilizing information services such as Dow Jones News Retrieval or CompuServe once a night to get stock quotes, which they enter into their personal computers.
But CableSoft's co-founders say their service is better because it provides quotes during the entire day.
CableSoft unveiled Live Wire this past sumcal engineering at the University of California at Santa Barbara, he said. He left school to join Randall in a separate business venture that eventually collapsed.
''We sat around for about a week wondering, 'What should we do now?' So I remembered this old idea, and we decided to try it,'' Blokker said.
Blokker said he figured it would take about a year before they could start marketing Live Wire, but it took four years instead.
CableSoft, headquartered in a blue, three-story, ten-room house in Fairfield, has 16 employees. Each Live Wire machine is still made individually, but mass production is planned soon via a contract with Vantronics, a San Jose, Calif. manufacturing concern.
CableSoft began marketing Live Wire several months ago and has sold about 200 machines so far, Blokker said. He envisioned big sales because there are an estimed 2 million people using personal computers to follow stocks.
''If we can penetrate that market, if we get 10 percent of that market, that means we've sold 200,000 units. That's $200 million in cash flow. That's a lot of money,'' he said.
End adv for PMs Thursday Feb. 2.