Channel 9 has pulled the plug on its interactive service on free-to-air digital television in Australia just a year after its launch.

The Nine network is the highest-rating television network in Australia. The Nine Sports Active service offered viewers enhanced coverage of Australian football programming and had experimented with enhancements to other genres such as a BBC documentary about Pompeii. However, only a limited number of viewers with specific types of set-top box could receive the services.

Veronica Chalom at Channel 9 confirmed to the media that the service would close but declined to comment further.

In February, OpenTV announced that it had licenced playout systems for Channel Nine to provide cross-platform authoring for both digital terrestrial television and the Foxtel pay television platform.

The apparent failure of interactive services on digital terrestrial television is a blow to digital television ambitions in Australia, where uptake has been relatively slow.

At the end of March 2005 an estimated 777,000 digital televisions and set-top boxes had been sold in Australia. The Australian Government plans to end analogue transmissions in 2008, but it is expected that less than half of Australian households will have switched to digital by that time.