WebTV Networks Delivers a Host of New Features

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., May 11, 2000 — WebTV Networks, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., today announced an upgrade to the WebTV Network TM service that will enable customers to better communicate with friends and family, enjoy more Web-based entertainment, and access a wider range of Web sites. Specifically, the WebTV® feature set now includes support for the latest Internet technologies, including MSN TM Messenger Service, a newly integrated version of the Microsoft® Windows Media TM Player that supports both streamed audio and video for Web TV users; improved support for JavaScript; and improved RealNetworks’ RealAudio support. These enhancements, which WebTV will offer for free, are intended to enhance the overall Internet experience for the more than 1 million WebTV Classic and Plus subscribers.

“By adding access to some of the coolest content on the Internet, this service upgrade exemplifies WebTV’s ongoing commitment to delivering the best Internet experience to our customers’ living rooms,”
said Bruce Leak, president of WebTV Networks, Inc.

WebTV Networks will begin rolling out the new features to subscribers starting today. The release will be available to groups of customers and staggered according to set-top box type and manufacturer over the course of the next six weeks. Subscribers will be notified upon login when they are eligible to take advantage of the upgrade. The upgrade also includes improved JavaScript support, which gives subscribers access to a greater number of Web pages.

The new WebTV Network features provide both Classic and Plus subscribers with new forms of communication, including the MSN Messenger Service, a free* instant-messaging service that allows people to communicate across the Internet with friends, family and colleagues. The more than 12 million MSN Messenger Service users can create a list of their own contacts, see who is online and instantly communicate with them. An easy-to-use interface, support for one-on-one and group instant-message sessions, and user-controlled privacy features are several advantages of using MSN Messenger Service. By extending MSN Messenger Service to WebTV, MSN continues to deliver on its Everyday Web vision of making it possible for consumers to access MSN any time, any place and from any device.

WebTV subscribers will also have greater access to the world of streamed digital audio and video on the Internet, with the new integrated version of Windows Media Player for WebTV. Windows Media Player offers Web TV customers the chance to experience Internet radio online through their televisions, enabling them to enjoy many of their favorite hometown sports events, local news or music stations from anywhere in the world. Nearly 2,000 top radio stations worldwide are now streamed live using the Windows Media Format, along with live news video from sites such as MSNBC.

WebTV customers will also benefit from improved streamed audio support with the addition of RealAudio G2 support in the WebTV service. Customers will now be able to access a broader range of audio content in the RealNetworks format.

The upgrade will also give customers a greater selection of printers to choose from: three EPSON printer products are now supported. The EPSON 440 and 660, which are both four-color ink jet printers, are designed for home users and are optimized for general text and graphics printing for use with the WebTV service. The EPSON Stylus Photo 750 is a six-color ink jet printer, and the WebTV driver uses all six colors to produce a better-quality image. WebTV customers can order these printers online and have them delivered to their door. With the additional printer support, customers can now choose from more than 40 printers to print content they find on the Web.

“People want the ability not only to access the Internet, but also to print the information they find on the Web, in places other than their offices,”
said Mitch Kadish, product manager, Connectivity Products, Epson.
“WebTV Networks’ upgrade allows subscribers to enjoy the benefits of EPSON’s image quality, ease of installation and use, and outstanding technical support, as well as the only six-color printer compatible with WebTV, all at very attractive price points.”

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, services and Internet technologies 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.

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