MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., June 2, 1999 — WebTV Networks, Inc. today introduced the second-generation Microsoft® WebTV Networks TM Classic and Plus products. In addition, the company announced that it will deliver a network service upgrade providing a new set of features that allow subscribers to shop online with more confidence, build a personal Web page and find topics of interest on the Internet organized with a new, easy-to-use redesign of the WebTV® Web Home page. The new service upgrade is scheduled to be available this summer and is offered free to all existing and new subscribers of the WebTV Classic and WebTV Plus service.
Available through WebTV Networks’ consumer electronics partners Philips Consumer Electronics Co. and Sony Electronics Inc., the next-generation WebTV Classic and WebTV Plus Internet Receivers provide more power, speed and internal memory for an overall performance boost at the same suggested retail price as their predecessors.
“As the leader in delivering television-based Internet services, WebTV Networks continues to provide features that make the WebTV Network service more compelling, safe and easy to use, turning every family room into a fun, interactive environment,” said Bruce Leak, president and co-founder of WebTV Networks. “In addition, WebTV Networks is very excited about the new Classic product launched by Philips and Sony. It’s slightly larger than a portable CD player and packaged in an innovative design, at the same suggested retail price as the previous model.”
New WebTV Classic and WebTV Plus Products
WebTV Classic Internet Terminal. The new WebTV Classic Internet Terminal expands on the same tradition found with the original, offering consumers easy, low-cost, entry-level access to the Internet with more power and speed in a new, slimmed-down chassis that is only half the size of its predecessor. With a 150MHz MIPS processor, increased internal memory and a 56Kbps-capable v.90 modem, the new WebTV Classic units deliver a much faster viewing experience than the original. The new WebTV Classic units also feature a built-in printer port for fast, easy printing of Web pages and e-mail.
The WebTV Classic service is priced at $21.95 per month for new Classic subscribers. The WebTV Classic Internet Terminal has a suggested retail price of $99 and will be available from Philips and Sony. WebTV Networks will continue to support all current WebTV Classic service subscribers, who will continue to pay $19.95 per month for subscriptions.
WebTV Plus Internet Receiver. The new WebTV Plus Internet Receiver delivers the ultimate interactive television viewing experience. The WebTV Plus Internet Receiver features a powerful 167MHz processor, more internal memory and a 56Kbps-capable v.90 modem.
Both Philips and Sony will deliver WebTV Plus products with a suggested retail price of $199. The WebTV Plus service subscription will remain $24.95 per month.
WebTV Network Service Upgrade
The new WebTV Network service upgrade will be delivered to all new and current WebTV Network subscribers, whether they own WebTV Classic or WebTV Plus products. Subscribers will now receive protection against liability in the unlikely event of credit-card fraud as a result of shopping online. In addition, the service upgrade will provide subscribers with fun, new opportunities to personalize their service with features such as Page Builder and WebTV Centers, as well as delivering an easier-to-use Web Home page and an improved Search feature – making the Internet even easier to navigate.
Subscribers can shop online with peace of mind. WebTV Networks has paired with First USA Bank to offer a shopping guarantee. Now, when subscribers use their credit card to purchase items from merchants featured in the WebTV Network shopping area, they are protected against fraudulent transactions.*
Expanded information is available through WebTV Centers and a new Web Home redesign. WebTV Networks has redesigned its home page to allow subscribers to find information more easily in a broader range of categories. Now, with WebTV Centers, subscribers can get up-to-the-minute updates in the areas of Money, Shopping, Sports, Entertainment and News. The new WebTV Centers are expanded versions of the My WebTV information centers that provide subscribers with late-breaking news and specials in these subject areas. Subscribers can now quickly access 20 categories in the redesigned Shopping Center, featuring local content, and browse through the best of the Web. WebTV Centers also feature integrated Community and Search offerings. For example, subscribers can chat about breaking news or search for information on a celebrity in the Entertainment Center. The popular Around Town feature is accessible through a revised Community area.
Search and Help Center tools are improved. In addition to letting subscribers search the Web for specific information, Search now features categories highlighting the best of the Web and showcases a special list of “things to try” on the Internet. Search also provides an easy way to go directly to a particular Web page when the exact Web address (URL) for that page is unknown. The WebTV Help Center has been redesigned to make it easy to learn more about these new features.
Users can create personal Web pages with Page Builder. WebTV Networks is excited to introduce the new Page Builder feature, providing WebTV Network subscribers with easy-to-use tools to develop their own personal Web pages. Subscribers can create a photo album and post personal information about hobbies, favorite movies or any topic that interests them. Subscribers will be able to create their own place on the Web, accessible by PC users and WebTV subscribers alike.
Automatic bank payment and online billing statements are now available. WebTV Network subscribers can choose to pay their monthly subscription fee conveniently through the new Automatic Bank Pay feature. This new option allows subscribers who do not have credit cards or ATM cards to pay on a monthly basis through a checking account deduction. A new online billing statement feature provides subscribers with the ability to review their billing history online at any time.
About WebTV Networks, Inc.
WebTV Networks, Inc., the leading Internet TV service, operates the WebTV Network service and designs WebTV Internet Terminals and Receivers. The WebTV Network service is available in the United States, Canada and Japan and has about 800,000 subscribers. WebTV Networks, Inc., based in Mountain View, Calif., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) 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.
*Limitations on coverage and other conditions apply. Please read the safe shopping terms and conditions for full details of this offer, a copy of which is available to subscribers in the WebTV Network Shopping Area.
The subscription fee for the WebTV service is a flat monthly fee, depending on the type of service. The service is available as a local call in most areas. Contact your local telephone company to determine if toll charges may apply
Microsoft, WebTV Networks and WebTV are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
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