WebTV Networks announced a new TV set-top box that will connect to the Internet and two big-name licensees for the hardware:Sony Electronics and Philips Electronics.
At an event in New York, the start-up will unveil prototype versions of its appliance that will hook up to regular television sets to provide email and surfing with a proprietary browser and a subscription to the WebTV service. The company will also announce its first set of technology partners, which will include an Internet service provider as well as Sony and Philips.
WebTV has said it expects the device to be available by late September in the United States and early next year in Europe and Japan. The company has not yet announced pricing.
Founded by three former Apple Computer engineers, WebTV has lined up financing from venture funds Brentwood Associates and Asia Pacific Ventures, as well as investments from entertainment mogul Marvin Davis and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's investment firm Vulcan Ventures. Allen has also invested in CNET: The Computer Network.
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