MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Dec. 14, 1999 — WebTV Networks, Inc. today announced the new Microsoft® WebTV Network TM Personal TV service, featuring digital video recording (DVR) capabilities, customized news and more, available with EchoStar Communications Corp.’s DISHPlayer satellite TV systems. In addition, EchoStar today announced the availability of the new DISHPlayer 500 satellite system, which combines a state-of-the-art satellite receiver, 500 channels of programming, an integrated electronic programming guide and more, with enhanced TV services from WebTV. Together, the DISHPlayer and WebTV® service deliver a complete enhanced TV offering for consumers in a single set-top box, including DVR, games, Internet access and interactive television shows, without requiring numerous appliances or complicated setup. A great holiday gift for television viewers, families and home entertainment aficionados, the new DISHPlayer 500 receiver is priced at just $299, with WebTV Personal TV service and WebTV Plus service priced at $9.99 and $24.95 per month, respectively and will be shown at Microsoft booth 2311 at the Western Show in Los Angles this week. A free* software upgrade allows existing DISHPlayer 300 customers to subscribe to the WebTV Personal TV service and receive these new DVR features.
“WebTV is proud to join with EchoStar to deliver the future of television – today,”
said Bruce Leak, president of WebTV Networks.
“DISHPlayer with WebTV services gives consumers the ultimate enhanced-TV experience. From digital video recording and ‘live’ TV Pause to interactive programs that allow them to participate with their favorite TV shows, plus Web surfing, e-mail and e-commerce, one box does it all.”
Personal Television Features Put an End to the Age-Old
Nothing to Watch
The DISHPlayer is the world’s first satellite receiver to offer the digital video recording capabilities of the WebTV Personal TV service, allowing simultaneous recording and playback of full-quality digital video
without the hassles of videotape. Customers who subscribe to the WebTV Personal TV service can store up to 12 hours of crystal-clear video delivered by satellite. And, with the easy-to-navigate WebTV interactive TV Listings, channel overload is a thing of the past. Viewers can quickly find programs to watch, as well as record and view programs of their choice with one touch of a button. Further, WebTV Personal TV service enables viewers to freeze a live TV program with TV Pause, instantly replay or rewind through a program being watched, and skip ahead in a recorded program to their favorite movie scene or the next big play of a sporting event – offering users greater control over their TV viewing experience.
In addition, WebTV Personal TV service provides viewers with an Instant News channel that delivers the latest headlines, business, weather, sports and stock information, which users can customize right on their television. Instant News is updated via satellite, requiring no Internet connection, so viewers are always up to date. Games such as
“You Don’t Know Jack”
are also included, providing hours of family fun.
DISH Network Delivers the Most Choices in Satellite TV Programming
With approximately 3.25 million customers, DISH Network is the fastest-growing direct broadcast satellite (DBS) provider in the United States. DISHPlayer 500 provides DISH Network customers with access to up to 500 crystal-clear digital video and CD-quality audio channels, including popular programming, local broadcast networks, special events, pay-per-view, movie packages and more.
“DISH Network and WebTV now offer customers four incredible products in one – a satellite TV system, digital video recorder, game player and Internet browser – all in the comfort of their own living rooms for a tremendously low price,”
said Charlie Ergen, chairman and CEO of EchoStar.
“And DISH Network can now offer a clear alternative to cable for consumers who want their local broadcast networks along with hundreds of all-digital channels.”
Interactive TV Programs, Internet Features Offer Participation, Communication and Fun
Complementing the new WebTV Personal TV service, DISHPlayer customers who subscribe to WebTV Plus service can receive access to the Internet and more than 350 hours of interactive television (ITV) programming each week, enabling them to get right into the action of their favorite TV shows, play along with game shows, purchase products, vote in news polls and get more information on their favorite stars – all with a click of the remote.
Interactive programming includes sports, news and game shows such as
“The Today Show,” “Judge Judy,” “JEOPARDY!® ,” “Wheel of Fortune® ,” “Dateline NBC,” “NBC Nightly News,”
“Newshour with Jim Lehrer”
; 24×7 interactive content from networks such as MSNBC, E! Entertainment Television and the Weather Channel; and special interest programs from HBO, The Learning Channel, The Discovery Channel, and Home and Garden Television. And many more interactive programs arriving soon.
WebTV Plus service provides easy-to-use Internet access, Web browsing, e-mail and chat, which enable TV viewers to easily explore their interests on the Internet from the comfort of their living rooms. Plus, Kid Friendly TM features ensure a safe and fun Internet environment for children.
Pricing and Availability – Give the Gift of WebTV Service
WebTV Personal TV service and the DISHPlayer 500 will be available at retail locations nationwide in time for holiday shopping. The DISHPlayer 500 receiver includes a DISH 500 antenna, set-top receiver and remote control unit for an introductory estimated retail price of $299. A version with a wireless keyboard is available for $349. DISH Network satellite programming is available starting at $19.99 per month, with WebTV Personal TV service offered at an additional $9.99 per month. The WebTV Plus service is offered at $24.95 per month and can be ordered directly from users’ DISHPlayer systems. Customers subscribing to both the WebTV Personal TV and WebTV Plus services may receive a $5 discount on their monthly WebTV bill. (Some restrictions apply.) Interested parties can obtain more information about DISHPlayer 500, DISH Network programming or WebTV Personal TV service, or can contact one of 20,000 DISH Network retailers by calling (800) 333-DISH (3474).
In addition, WebTV is offering prepaid service cards for purchase as gifts this holiday season. WebTV service gift cards are an easy way for gift givers to prepay for WebTV Personal TV or WebTV Plus service for friends and family who are either receiving a DISHPlayer receiver or already have one. WebTV service gift cards are available in a variety of denominations, including $75, $100, $150 and $300, and can be purchased with the click of a remote at the new WebTV online store at http://www.webtv.net/ or by calling (800) GO-WEBTV (469-3288). WebTV service gift cards are wrapped in a unique gift pack and shipped with a personal note and easy-to-follow instructions for use.
About EchoStar Communications
DISH Network is EchoStar’s state-of-the-art direct broadcast satellite system that is capable of offering over 500 channels of digital video and CD-quality audio programming, fully MPEG-2/DVB-compliant hardware and installation. DISH Network was also ranked number one in customer satisfaction among satellite/cable TV subscribers by the J.D. Power and Associates 1999 Cable/Satellite TV Customer Satisfaction Study. EchoStar V, EchoStar’s newest high-power direct broadcast satellite, launched on a Lockheed Martin Atlas IIAS rocket on Sept. 23, 1999, to the 110 degrees W.L. orbital location. In addition to local channels, EchoStar V allows DISH Network to offer 500 channels, including high-definition television, Dolby Digital surround sound, Internet and high-speed interactive television and data services, all on a single dish. DISH Network, which currently serves over 3.1 million customers, is a trademark of EchoStar Communications Corp. DISH Network is located on the Internet at http://www.dishnetwork.com/ .
DISHPlayer satellite TV system recently won an award from Popular Science magazine for
“Best of What’s New”
in 1999, and was chosen by the editors of etown.com on the basis of performance, quality, technology and value as the 1999 Satellite Television Product of the Year.
About WebTV Networks
WebTV Networks, Inc., is a leading provider of enhanced TV services using Internet and digital technologies. WebTV Networks offers a range of enhanced TV services for set-top boxes, satellite products and other TV-related devices. Today, these services include the WebTV Classic service, the WebTV Plus service, and WebTV Personal TV service. WebTV Networks owns and operates a network of TV services and provides enabling software and hardware reference designs to consumer electronics manufacturers.
WebTV Networks, based in Mountain View, Calif., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. Microsoft incorporates WebTV technologies in the Microsoft TV software platform, which it licenses to television network operators worldwide.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.
*Connect-time charges may apply.
Microsoft, WebTV Network, WebTV, Kid Friendly and WebPIP are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries/regions.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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.
The following features are available with the DISHPlayer 500 satellite system. Customers may select one or more service offerings, based on their TV viewing preferences.