As on July 1, 2013, Microsoft sent out an email to all its MSN TV customers that the service will be shutting down on September 30, 2013. MSN TV which formerly known as WEBTV has finally come to its end.
WebTV was one of the innovative thought by well-known entrepreneur Steve Perlman, who decided to combine the World Wide Web with TVs. The vision of Web on TV was not so easy and had to face many hurdles and obstacles to bring the product live for users. In late 1996, it gathered a lot of media and press attention not only for being the first television with World Wide Web Access but also being the first consumer electronic device to access the World Wide Web without a personal computer.
The software giant like Microsoft was impressed by WebTV and its potential growth in the future. In 1997, WebTV was acquired by Microsoft Corporation for US$503 million and later renamed as MSN TV. MSN TV used to come with a dedicated hardware device which is connected to your TV, including wireless keyboard and wireless remote. The basic feature of MSN TV was allowing a TV to be connected to the Internet for web browsing and email reading, without the need of the expensive computer.
MSN TV was a great service back in its days. However, lately due to technology growth there are now multiple options for user to connect to the Internet. Most of the technology was implemented in XBOX. Moreover, many alternatives are available such as ROKU, Apple TV & some TVs are enabled with smart TV feature enable one to connect to the Internet with WI-FI access. As a result, Microsoft decided to end its MSN TV service on September 30th, 2013.
Check out below Commercial ads for the WEBTV showed in 1996.