WebTV Networks Takes the Lead in Personal TV Services

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 6, 2000 — Today at the 2000 International CES show, WebTV Networks, Inc., a pioneer in delivering interactive television and Internet access via standard television sets, announced a series of new developments that establish the company as a leader in the emerging segment for personal TV services. These include the following:

  • The DISHPlayer 500, developed jointly by WebTV Networks and Echostar Communications Corp., won a Best of Show award for product excellence.

  • Demand for Microsoft® WebTV Network TM Personal TV technology is exceptionally strong, with over 100,000 DISHPlayer customers able to pause live television.

  • Philips Electronics and THOMSON multimedia unveiled plans to expand their long-standing relationships with WebTV Networks and develop new WebTV® Personal TV products.

With the customer demand for personal television services forecasted to grow to nearly 14 million in the next five years, WebTV is poised to lead the way into this next generation of enhanced TV services.

WebTV Personal TV Service Key Part of Award-Winning Satellite Solution

The newly introduced DISHPlayer 500 was honored today as
“Best of Show”
in the Satellite TV Systems category at the CES Innovations 2000 Awards. The product was recognized for innovation in design and engineering, and will be highlighted with other Innovations 2000 winners in the Grand Lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center and at the CES Innovations 2000 Booth 21277 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. DISHPlayer 500 combines access to 500 television channels with WebTV Personal TV and WebTV Plus services in a single, easy-to-use set-top box.

“WebTV is committed to working with the leading consumer electronics partners to provide the best and most comprehensive enhanced television services for consumers – enabling them to get the most out of their television viewing experience,”
said Bruce Leak, president, WebTV Networks, Inc.
“This award signifies that we are hitting the sweet spot with consumers by delivering innovation and excellence in product design and service features. We’re thrilled to have worked with Echostar to achieve this honor.”

Over 100,000 Customers Get a Taste of WebTV Personal TV

To date, over 100,000 DISH Network and DISHPlayer customers are capable of pausing live TV. And by subscribing to WebTV Personal TV service, these satellite customers also get ultimate choice and control over their TV viewing experience with features such as digital video recording, instant replays and an interactive electronic program guide. Echostar is the fastest-growing satellite provider on the market, with over 3.2 million total subscribers and 100,000 new customers per month.

WebTV Networks Plans to Extend Agreements With Leading Consumer Electronics Manufacturers

While continuing to work with Echostar to develop personal TV technologies for the rapidly growing DISH Network, WebTV Networks today also jointly announced its new plans to work with two additional long-time consumer electronics partners, Philips Electronics and THOMSON multimedia. WebTV Networks plans to work with these industry giants in 2000 to develop and introduce products for WebTV that incorporate the WebTV Personal TV service. Philips and THOMSON are among the top five consumer electronics companies in the world and leaders in emerging television technologies, including satellite, high-definition, flat screen and digital television. Philips currently manufactures and markets WebTV Classic Internet Terminal and WebTV Plus Internet Receiver models under the Philips brand name. THOMSON manufactures and markets the RCA WebTV Plus unit.

WebTV Personal TV Service Delivers Digital Video Recording and Much More

The DISHPlayer 500 satellite receiver and WebTV Personal TV service offer digital video recording capabilities, easy navigation of programming choices and one-click recording – enabling consumers to watch what they want on television, when they’re ready to watch, and with no VCR programming hassles.

In addition, WebTV Personal TV service and DISHPlayer provide users the ability to:

  • Watch programs from 500 channels available via DISH Network, including local programming in 18 major markets.

  • Record and store up to 12 hours of full digital-quality programming without a videotape.

  • Pause and replay live broadcasts, never missing a moment of their favorite show.

  • Simultaneously record and play back recorded programming.

  • Search and browse an interactive seven-day electronic program guide and record programs with a click of the remote.

  • Easily archive recorded programs to their VCR.

  • Play games such as You Don’t Know Jack.

  • Create their own personalized Instant News channel to receive continually updated business, stock, weather and sports information.

In addition, by subscribing to WebTV Network Plus service, DISHPlayer 500 customers receive a number of enhanced TV features not available with single-purpose DVR appliances, including access to over 350 hours of weekly interactive television programs, Internet access, chat, e-mail, e-commerce and more.

Pricing and Availability

Consumers, retailers and the media can see the award-winning DISHPlayer 500 and WebTV Personal TV service this week at CES at the Las Vegas Convention Center from Jan. 6-9 in the Microsoft WebTV Networks booth, South Hall 626 and the Echostar booth, North Hall 6011.

WebTV Personal TV service and the DISHPlayer 500 are available from thousands of retailers nationwide. The DISHPlayer 500 receiver includes a DISH 500 antenna, set-top receiver and remote control unit for an introductory estimated retail price of $299. 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, delivering interactive TV and Internet features, 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 bill from WebTV (Some restrictions apply.). For more information about DISHPlayer 500, DISH Network programming or WebTV Personal TV service, please visit http://www.webtv.net/ or http://www.dishnetwork.com/ , or call (800) 333-DISH (3474).

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 Internet service, the WebTV Plus interactive 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.

About Microsoft

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.

1 Forrester Research, 1999

The information contained in this document relates to prereleased products that may be substantially modified before first commercial release. Accordingly, the information may not accurately describe or reflect the products when first commercially released. This document is provided for informational purposes only, and Microsoft and WebTV Networks make no warranties, express or implied, with respect to this document or the information contained in it.

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

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the 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.

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