WebTV, EchoStar Debut Internet Satellite Service

At the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas Thursday, WebTV Networks Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp. unveiled the
Microsoft WebTV Network Plus, a satellite-based high-speed Internet service.


The system will use Microsoft’s WebTV set-top box and EchoStar’s DISH
Network satellite service.


Slated for release this spring, the combination service and product
integrates the DISH Network’s digital satellite television programming
with Internet service from WebTV Networks.


EchoStar said its EchoStar Model 7100 satellite receiver is the first
satellite receiver that offers a built-in multigigabyte hard drive, which
is able to record and play back simultaneous full-quality digital video.
The receiver’s disk drive provides various enhanced digital TV features,
such as a TV Pause, which freezes a TV show for as long as 30 minutes,
automatic recording of several hours of high-quality digital video and
downloadable video games.


The companies will also offer an optional digital video recording service
by the end of the year. The EchoStar Model 7100 will retail for $499.


WebTV Plus service for satellite is a broadband-enhanced version of the
WebTV Plus service offering Internet access, up to six e-mail accounts and
child-protection features. The EchoStar Model 7100
supports multimedia e-mail features in the WebTV Network service,
allowing users to plug in a camcorder and send pictures and audio clips
through e-mail.


In addition, the WebTV Plus service for
satellite will offer various games such as Id Software Inc.’s “Doom,”
which can be updated with new gameplay features each month. The WebTV Plus
service for satellite will cost $24.95 per month.


“The EchoStar Model 7100 satellite receiver is a milestone in the history
of television,” said Steve
Perlman, president and co-founder of WebTV Networks.


“The satellite’s broadband delivery capability,
combined with a massive disk drive, frees viewers from a fixed TV broadcast
schedule, allowing them to watch what they want, when they want.


“This capability is seamlessly integrated with the WebTV Plus
service, expanding the viewing experience with high-speed Internet access
and interactive television. This product is the world’s first glimpse of
21st century television,” Perlman said.

News Around the Web