The Internet may be a great place to find everything from Shakespeare biographies to NASA photos, but few enjoy staring at a Web browser while lengthy documents download. TV, on the other hand, brings dazzling images and timely information to us with great speed but is no place for digital data files. Wouldn't it be nice to combine the two?

For the past three years, En Technology, in Keene, N.H., has been quietly developing hardware and software that together permit broadcasters, cable operators, and videotape manufacturers to transmit compressed data on normally unused portions of their transmitted signal. Consumers can then plug their computers into their TVs or VCRs and download the data onto a hard drive at speeds roughly 200 times faster than that of a 9600-baud modem.

Rather than wade through the Internet, a small-business person could turn to a financial network that blasts SEC- archived data to viewers while experts recount the day's events on Wall Street. A baseball fanatic might push a button on his or her PC as a pitcher winds up to throw a curve ball -- and instantly download batting averages for both teams. Or a small furniture store advertising on a local channel could boost its marketing ability by offering a catalog to potential shoppers.

-- Joshua Macht