Microsoft WebTV Networks and BT Begin Trial in United Kingdom
LONDON, March 18, 1998 — Microsoft Corp.’s WebTV Networks Inc. and BT today announced that WebTV Networks has selected BT to be its Internet service provider to test the WebTV® product in the United Kingdom. The trial, to begin later this month, will involve a cross section of U.K. households.
The objective of the multiphase trial is to gain technical, marketing and operational knowledge of the U.K. marketplace. During the trial, WebTV Networks will provide core technology and platform management, while BT will provide access through BT Internet.
The WebTV Networks trial service will incorporate U.K. Internet content and will be tailored to address content developers’ needs. WebTV Network’s hardware licensees, including Pace Micro Technology plc and Philips Consumer Electronics Corp., will provide PAL standard set-top boxes for the trial.
In the United States and Japan, the WebTV Network
service provides consumers with an easy and affordable way to enhance their television viewing experience with more choice and control. Broadcasters can embed information in their TV signal to link TV programs to their own Internet Web site, and users may watch television while exploring the Internet with WebTV’s picture-in-picture capability.
WebTV products and services are based on open Internet standards, ensuring that U.K. content providers will be able to reach the new audience with their existing Web sites without modification.
“The United Kingdom is at the forefront of the transition from analog to digital TV,”
said Steve Perlman, president of WebTV Networks.
“This trial will enable us to gain important insight into this key market. We are thrilled to be working with BT, which is clearly one of the United Kingdom’s leading providers of advanced telecommunications and Internet services.”
“WebTV Networks has created a very successful and compelling enhanced television experience in the United States,”
said John Swingewood, director of BT’s Internet and multimedia services.
“We are committed to bringing new multimedia services to the United Kingdom, and this trial – combining WebTV’s enhanced TV with BT Internet – is a very exciting development in this emerging market.”
BT is one of the largest and most successful telecommunications companies in the world. A public listed company in the last financial year (1996/97), BT’s turnover was 14,935 million with pretax profits of 3,203 million. The company has operations in 30 countries and employs approximately 127,500 people worldwide.
WebTV Networks Inc. operates the WebTV Network Service and develops the
WebTV Internet Terminal and WebTV Plus Receiver. Both are available through the company’s U.S. licensees, Sony Electronics Inc., Philips Consumer Electronics Co. and Mitsubishi Consumer Electronics America at U.S. consumer electronics stores nationwide. WebTV Networks has approximately 300,000 subscribers in the United States. WebTV Networks, based in Palo Alto, Calif., is a subsidiary of Microsoft Corp.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Microsoft is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
WebTV and WebTV Network are either registered trademarks or trademarks of WebTV Networks Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.