Microsoft’s WebTV Networks Announces Availability Of WebTV Plus System in Canada

Microsoft’s WebTV Networks Announces Availability Of WebTV Plus System in Canada

TORONTO, June 9, 1998 — WebTV Networks, Inc., today introduced the WebTV Plus Network system, the premier enhanced television service, to customers throughout Canada. Beginning this month, customers will be able to purchase the WebTV Plus Receiver from Sony of Canada Ltd., subscribe to the WebTV Plus Network service and begin experiencing the integration of television and Internet services.

WebTV Networks has attracted more than 350,000 subscribers. The WebTV Plus Network system includes the WebTV Plus Receiver television set-top box and WebTV Plus Network service. The WebTV Plus Network system seamlessly integrates television programming with Internet content and services, giving customers more choice and control over the shows they watch as well as new ways to enjoy more entertainment, information and services through the Internet and special interactive programming. New features to be introduced this summer will allow users to customize television watching in useful and fun ways – from advanced VCR programming to sound- and image-enriched e-mail messages.

WebTV Networks is working closely with several key Canadian companies to offer a compelling service experience to Canadian subscribers. WebTV Networks and CANOE Limited Partnership are working together to provide subscribers to WebTV Plus Network service with Canadian Online Explorer (CANOE) content available in the WebTV Networks’ Explore directory, including links to SLAM! Sports, Jam! Showbiz, CNEWS and Money Personal Finance. The Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) will be working with WebTV Networks to enhance its Web site, , and will be offering WebTV Plus Receivers to its members through a special program. WebTV Networks is working with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) to provide subscribers with a variety of programming links to its Web site, The CBC will continue to work with WebTV Networks to further develop special interactive content for this cutting-edge medium. WebTV Networks and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) are offering customers a new way to access online banking and financial services by providing access to CIBC PC Banking’s Investor’s Edge discount brokerage and travel medical insurance.

“We look forward to introducing our enhanced WebTV Plus Network system to Canadian consumers nationwide,”
said Steve Perlman, co-founder and president of WebTV Networks.
“We are excited once again to work with Sony to deliver WebTV Plus, as well as work with several premier Canadian companies, enriching our WebTV Plus Network service offering.”

Key Features of WebTV Plus

Canadian customers will have access to a full range of advanced features that enhance the TV experience by integrating Web surfing and television viewing. Features that will be delivered this summer include the following:

  • Better TV. The WebTV Plus Network service makes TV better by providing searchable TV Listings that enable users to view a week’s worth of programming at once; automatic notification indicating when shows of interest are scheduled; and VCR Record, which gives most users one-click recording capabilities. The service also adds Picture-in-Picture capability to standard TV sets, making it possible to watch a program in the television window and explore related Web site content at the same time. It also offers TV Crossover Links
    Web site listings, which give viewers access to Web sites that are complementary to popular television shows. Most recently, the WebTV Plus Network service has linked with
    “Saturday Night Live”
    and the season finale of

  • Expanded Internet and communication. With video stills and audio e-mail attachment capabilities, users can now add still pictures, sounds and even their own voice to e-mail messages, with static images and data from the television, a camcorder or digital camera. In addition, the WebTV Plus Network service offers subscribers six separate password-protected e-mail accounts and filtering software, allowing parents to maintain a high quality of content for their kids.

“WebTV builds on both aspects of television – educational and entertainment – by providing customers with Internet information that complements TV programming,”
said George Bulat, analyst with International Data Corp., Canada.
“WebTV is also very attractive from an Internet perspective, since it offers search and e-mail capabilities as well as integrated programming.”

Canadian Content

Customers in Canada will also be able to receive new content and services developed specifically for them, including the following:

  • An Around Canada section, featuring links to Canada-specific content providers, including local news headlines and weather on WebTV Networks’ community page

  • Canadian content sites integrated into WebTV Networks’ Explore directories

  • Directory of French-language content sites featured in Explorez Fran

  • Toll-free telephone customer service in both English and French

  • National ISP coverage, with points of presence (POP) covering more than 90 percent of populations in major metro areas

Pricing and Availability

The WebTV Plus Network system consists of two components: the WebTV Plus Receiver and the WebTV Plus Network service, which go hand in hand. Both are required; a wireless keyboard is optional. The WebTV Plus Network service will be offered for $24.95

(U.S.), with one month of free service* included. Subscriptions will initially be billed in U.S. dollars; this service price translates to approximately $34.99 (CDN).

Sony of Canada’s WebTV Plus Receiver will be available at the Sony store/Maison Sony and authorized Sony retailers at the suggested retail price of $299.00 (CDN), and the optional wireless keyboard will be available at a suggested retail price of $99.00 (CDN).

WebTV Networks, Inc. operates the WebTV Plus Network service and develops the WebTV Plus Receiver. WebTV Networks, based in Mountain View, 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.

* For new users of the Canadian WebTV Plus Network service who subscribe by Dec. 31, 1998. A credit card is required. Local phone and/or long-distance toll charges may apply.

WebTV and TV Crossover Links 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.

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