WebTV Networks Introduces Fun New Features And Holiday Specials

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Nov. 17, 1998 — Microsoft Corp.’s WebTV Networks, Inc. today announced a series of new features, to be released in time for the holidays, that will make its WebTV Network
service even easier and more fun to use. The new features, delivered automatically and free of charge to all subscribers, provide engaging new entertainment, e-mail, and search functions, as well as valuable information, tips and holiday specials.

“Without lifting a finger, our subscribers will discover new ways that the WebTV service adds enjoyment to the television and Internet experience,”
said Steve Perlman, president, WebTV Networks.
“From shopping and searching to Hollywood and holiday, the WebTV Network continues to add compelling offerings that expand the service in entertaining and fun ways.”

The new WebTV Network features bring both Classic and Plus subscribers a host of exciting benefits, including the following:

  • Easier-to-find Web sites. Now, the Explore directory of recommended Web sites is easier to use. It groups Web site subjects intuitively so subscribers with no Internet experience can find what they want even faster. There’s also more to explore, including Living, with sites that offer fun and useful information about such topics as health, gardening, cooking and home repair, and Family and Kids, where parents and children can find reliable sites for learning together.

  • Valuable shopping bargains made easy. WebTV Networks is working with online shopping providers to feature their bargains and sales on a regular basis. Subscribers will be able to purchase a variety of products from a growing list of merchants. Initially, WebTV Networks will offer CDs, DVDs and videos from Amazon.com; high-quality products from specialty home-furnishings catalogs such as Domestications and The Company Store; and WebTV Networks-related merchandise from the WebTV Networks company store. In addition, a new section called Learn About WebTV Network Shopping walks first-time and uncertain online buyers through the entire purchase process, quickly and painlessly.

  • Quick Help that explains WebTV Network features – fast. New Quick Help shows users how each WebTV Network feature works. For example, if users aren’t sure what an Interactive Television (ITV) Link is, they can click on More Info to find out. To try a feature right away, users simply read the description and select Try It. Or, if they want to learn more about the feature first, they can take the Tour or visit the Q & A area, which has answers to subscribers’ frequently asked questions.

  • Kids Home Page that welcomes young viewers. The new Kids Home Page offers a special welcome to youngsters, with activities from PBS and MaMaMedia. There’s even a special Kids area in the Explore directory to help children find Web sites where they can challenge their minds or get help with their homework. It’s all part of the WebTV Kid Friendly
    service, which introduces children to the fun of online exploration, while maintaining the WebTV Network safety features parents have come to expect.

  • The Scoop on Hollywood. Now subscribers can automatically find out about the entertainment news they care about most. They simply check off the appropriate boxes to have My WebTV Entertainment alert them to new box office blockbusters, new releases hitting the video store, or previews of their favorite TV shows. Users can also get entertainment headlines from E! Online.

  • New holiday specials. To make the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays even more enjoyable and meaningful, subscribers can access the WebTV Network holiday content. They can get an early start on gift shopping, browse a list of high-quality charities, read tips on keeping the holidays safe, and find great online recipes for that holiday feast. Subscribers can even enter a holiday sweepstakes to win valuable prizes from Toysrus.com, Personal Creations and high-quality down products from The Company Store.

  • Rich sound effects to share with the online community.* With the Discussion feature, users can now add video still image attachments to newsgroup communications for an even more personal and immediate effect. Subscribers can spice up a newsgroup conversation with a dramatic sound effect, add a musical flourish to a posting, or even insert their own voices into newsgroup messages.

  • E-mail greeting cards for everyone on the list. Now, when the occasion calls for a special remembrance – whether birthday, anniversary or new puppy – subscribers can use the WebTV Network E-greetings feature from E-greetings Network to send an electronic greeting card.

  • Finding and joining the right chat room. The WebTV Chat feature now makes it easier than ever to find just the right chat room. Subscribers simply go to the Community area and select Chat. A new interface tells them at a glance What’s On Now and What’s On Next, or lets them search for a chat room by keyword. If users don’t see the conversation they want, they can select the Talk City icon and search for chat rooms by keyword.

WebTV Networks, the company that pioneered the television Internet industry, now serves more than half a million subscribers – and more people are signing up every day. With its rich Web content and Internet access, the WebTV Network service allows users to customize their TV watching in hundreds of useful and fun ways.

WebTV Networks, Inc. operates the WebTV Network service and designs the WebTV-based Internet terminal and receivers available from companies like Sony, Philips and Mitsubishi at consumer electronics stores nationwide. Costs start at $99 for the Internet terminals and $199 for the Internet receivers, and $19.95 or $24.95 per month respectively for the WebTV Network service. WebTV Networks, Inc., 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.

Copyright 1998 Microsoft Corp. All rights reserved.

Microsoft, WebTV, WebTV Network and Kid Friendly are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

The subscription fee for the WebTV Network and the WebTV Plus Network service is a flat fee. WebTV Network service and the WebTV Plus Network service are not available as a local call everywhere. Toll charges may apply. To check if you have local access, please call (800) GO-WebTV. WebTV-based units, like other Internet devices, do not support all data formats.

*The video still and sound features are only available to Plus subscribers.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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