An interactive television system that renders on-demand interactive multimedia services for a community of users. The interactive multimedia is delivered to each user on a TV or on a LAN-node (Local-Area-Network) computer through an "interactive TV channel" created and controlled by a Channel-processor, which can be implemented as either a PC or a high-end workstation. The system employs a direct-access on-demand workgroup server. It is equipped with the primary on-demand multimedia data base stored on a hard disk subsystem that is connected directly to the Channel-processors through an internal workgroup link. Using a no-overhead server technology, the connected workgrouped Channel-processors can all concurrently retrieve and process the data directly from the hard disk subsystem without resorting to a stand-alone server system for data retrieving and downloading. The system also employs peer-to-peer workgroup connectivity, so that all of the workgrouped Channel-processors that are connected to the workgroup server through the internal workgroup link, can communicate with one another.