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WebTV Upgrades Sets, Services

To address the increasing popularity of set-top devices, Microsoft subsidiary WebTV Networks, Inc. Wednesday unveiled an upgraded product line and expansion of services.

WebTV introduced upgrades to its Classic and Plus set-top boxes to provide more power, speed and internal memory for the same price as earlier versions, the company said.

The Classic terminal is similar to previous set-top boxes, featuring a slimmed-down chassis, a 150MHz MIPS processor, increased internal memory, a built-in printer port and a 56Kbps-capable v.90 modem. The Plus receiver features a 167MHz processor, more internal memory than the Classic and a 56Kbps-capable v.90 modem.

WebTV works with partners Philips Consumer Electronics Co. and Sony Electronics Inc. to deliver the receivers.

WebTV also plans to offer network service upgrades including secure e-commerce features, a home page builder and a comprehensive search engine. All can be found on WebTV's redesigned Web site, the firm said.

The new service upgrade is scheduled to be available this summer and is offered free to all existing and new subscribers.

The WebTV Classic terminal sells for $99, with a $21.95 monthly service for new subscribers. Current Classic service customers will not be affected by the $2 price hike. The Plus receiver is priced at $199, with a monthly service charge of $24.95.



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