Philips shows US$329 WebTV

Philips will release a TV in the US at the start of the October that will allow access to the World Wide Web.

The Philips Magnavox WebTV, which will allow users to access the Internet through a television receiver, will be available for US$329 in US retail stores from the start of October, the company says. A spokeswoman says she does not know when the device will be available outside the US.

The product is expected to appeal to consumers who want to have access to the World Wide Web, but don't want to spend US$1000 or more for a personal computer, said Ed Volkwein, senior vice-president and general manager of marketing and sales for Philips Consumer Electronics, at a demonstration of the product yesterday in New York City.

The product's hardware includes: a 33.6Kbit/s V.34bis modem that will offer call-waiting when online; digital studio quality video output that includes technology which will conform Web content to all TV formats; 44.1KHz 16-bit stereo audio output for CD quality sound; a 112MHz 64-bit Orion MIPS RISC CPU with digital signal processing extensions; ISO Smart Card slot that supports Visa/Mastercard and ATM smart cards; universal remote control with thumb-browsing technology; built-in infrared receiver and infrared remote keyboard; PC-compatible keyboard port; custom designed ASIC; and a base memory configuration of 2Mb RAM, 2Mb Flash ROM and 2Mb Mask ROM.

Software will include: WebTV Browser, which is compatible with HTTP, MIME, HTML 3.0 and nearly all Netscape Navigator 3.0 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 extensions; multimedia extensions for animation; European font compatibility that includes Spanish, French, German, Italian and Dutch; email with graphics and sound capability; RealAudio streaming audio compatibility; and a thin-client operating system.

Optional are an infrared travel keyboard, printer port accessory and RF modulator for TVs without video input.

Philips Consumer Electronics is at http:/www.magnavox.com.

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