ICE says it is now offering packages of television channels over the Internet

The state telecom agency said Wednesday that it is now offering 87 television channels via the Internet.

The agency, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, said the service would be called kölbi hogar TV, using its kölbi trademark.

The announcement comes at a time when its subsidiary, Radiográfica Costarricense S.A. says it is embarking on a pilot project for a similar service.

The parent firm, known as ICE, said the system is 100 percent digital and also offers time shifting for persons who want to delay transmission of a favorite show.

An announcement listed most of the popular television channels. The system also will feature pay per view and carry audio channels. The basic monthly price will be $32.50 including tax. The price compares favorably with services offered by cable television companies.

The service will require a 12-month contract, said the telecom giant. The firm claimed that the service is now available in every community of the country.

The major San José television stations already offer some of their shows via the Internet. The ICE announcement is additional evidence that the Internet will be the primary source of entertainment and news. The convergence of electronic transmissions has been going on for some time. The system used by ICE, called  IPTV, is well known.

The Laura Chinchilla administration has decreed that television stations must switch to digital system 2017. The central government chose a Brazilian system.

A.M. Costa Rica noted a year ago that there may not be any over-the-air television transmissions by that date.

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