October 17, 1996 -- Low-Cost Web-Access Devices

Transcript of the live chat session that took place Thursday, October 17, 1996..

These sessions are scheduled for noon-1 PM US Eastern Time (GMT -4) every Thursday.

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Since the chat itself happens at a rapid pace, it's often difficult to note interesting facts in particular URLs as they appear on-line. Here's a place to take a more leisurely look. I've rearranged some of the pieces to try to capture the various threads of discussion (which sometimes get lost in the rush of live chat).

Please send email with your follow-on questions and comments, and suggions for topics we should focus on in future sessions. So long as the volume of email responses is manageable, I'll post the most pertinent ones here for all to see.

For transcripts of other sessions, click here.

Threads (reconstructed after the fact):


Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - 12:02pm The scheduled chat is on Business on the WWW. If you are here for that discussion, please identify yourself

todd ( - 12:01pm hello. I'm a UI developer at DEC. I can only stay for a few minutes today.

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - 12:03pm -- Hi Tod, Well, let's try to get going then.Hi, I'm Bruce Platt from Comport Consulting and I am sitting in for Richard while he gives his speech at noon. While we'll be open to questions of all kinds (a s usual), today, I'd like to focus on our last discussion of low-cost web access devices, like Web TV. I believe we'll have a representative of WebTV here today. Let's try to keep up with the chat, though sometimes it does get a little chaotic. Richard will post the summaries tomorrow at his web-site at www.samizdat .com.

WebTVHost ( - 12:03pm Hello, I am a representative from WebTV.

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - 12:04pm Hello, WebTVHost, Do you have a name?

WebTVHost ( - 12:05pm -- There are two of us PR represenative Aaron Mata and Customer Service rep Carlton Waters

Kelby ( - 12:07pm -- Hi, I am Marc Kelberman, a Sales Consultant with Oracle Corporation. I have been asked to join this chat to talk about NC and NCA. given the short notice we were not able to get an official person from corporate to join. I will do the best I can to answer any question that people have in respect to Oracle's recent announcements and our strategy, etc.

Warren Agin - Law Solutions ( - 12:07pm -- Hello. Don't mind if just listen in for a while.

Kataryn ( - 12:09pm -- Greetings! Just here on invitation to enjoy.


Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - 12:04pm There have been some misconceptions about WebTV apparently, would you like to explain WebTV for us, briefly.

todd ( - 12:07pm -- WebTV - how many subscribers do you have at this point? What's growth rate like?

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - 12:07pm -- Welcome Aaron and Carlton, could you briefly explain where you think we went wrong thinking about WebTV over the last 2 sessions?

Flynn ( - 12:08pm -- So, what is WEB TV?

WebTVHost ( - 12:10pm -- Bruce, we thought that many of your chatters were confusing us with being a mini PC or NC. WebTv is the first low cost Internet solution for the mass market.

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - 12:11pm -- OK, please expand on what you plan to be, also Tod had a good question about number of subscribers

WebTVHost ( - 12:12pm -- Currrently about a thousand with the number growing rapidly. The biggest problem we have right now is getting them onto store shelves.

Warren Agin - Law Solutions ( - 12:14pm -- "first low cost Internet solution for the mass market" makes it sound like you don't have a product yet, just a name. Which I am sure is not the case. Exactly what is WebTv, how does it connect and what does it do?

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - 12:14pm Aaron and Carlton, I may just call you WebTV for speed. How about the keyboards, folks seemed a little concerned about IR keyboard links

WebTVHost ( - 12:17pm -- Bruce, our user test groups seem extremely satisfied with our keyboards both on screen and in hand. In addition a standard PC2 keyboard will work.
WebTVHost ( - 12:15pm -- WebTV set top box brings the Internet to your television in D1 quality imaging with a standard analog phone line.

Warren Agin - Law Solutions ( - 12:16pm -- Can I use WebTV to surf the www using a mosaic style browser?

WebTVHost ( - 12:19pm -- Warren, we have our own proprietary browser. Our system is compatible with all existing browsers.

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 12:20pm -- One of the things that I have been interested in this whole 2-week discussion is what will people DO with all this bandwidth, aside from games, etc. I.e., how will this change people's TV habits, reading habits, buying of encyclopedias foe r their kids, storing local data, printing it, paying for it.e the way we do things, for example,

WebTVHost ( - 12:23pm -- Bruce, we anticipate that WebTV will change the way that people communicate as an expansion of their television experience. Its Internet for the rest of us. At around three hundred dollars and a competitive monthly subcription price.

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 12:24pm -- Ok, expanding the TV experience can meen many things. Do you expect that we'll become active TV browsers, or that the information you serve will become more varied than typical TV? Where will you get your content?

Al Silverberg ( - 12:25pm -- Hi, I'm the moderator of the web-consultants mailing list and was invited to this discussion by Richard's post to our list. I saw Marc Andreas on PBS last night and he stated that he believed the cost of these devices to the consumer would be nill as the Service companies, like ATT , would subsidize it for the monthly revenue stream, just as with cell phones.

WebTVHost ( - 12:28pm -- Yes, already people are changing their content to be more consumer and entertainment oriented. Our interface is so easy and familiar with just a remote control. Until today a large segment of the population have been "scared" or just frustrated by existing technology.

WebTVHost ( - 12:30pm -- Bruce, in answer to the second part of your question regarding content-we are exploring many partnerships for the development of content.

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 12:32pm -- So, WebTV and Kelby, what would a scenario look like where I wanted to help my child with their homework?

WebTVHost ( - 12:35pm -- WebTV gives you complete acess to the Internet. But I ask another question. Would it be easier to help your child do research from a monitor twelve inches away or from the couch at twelve feet, on a familiar an unintimidating device. Also, WebTV has plans for a printer coming early first quarter 97.

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 12:38pm -- What other advantages do you see for this, WebTV? Actually, I have only grandchildren I teach now, my kids are too old! But what about screen resolution for text, etc. And what about cost?

WebTVHost ( - 12:40pm -- The screen resolution is D1 quality thanks to TVLens technology, and the per unit cost is near three hundred dollars.

Jim Dorval ( - 12:45pm EST: My impression of WebTV is similar to the first video phones marketed about ten years ago. Interesting devices that have great potential, but the success is based on another industry's decision to invest in updating old equipment.

WebTVHost ( - 12:48pm -- Jim, we can update our software at any time. This device has over thirty patents its leading edge technology. In addition, second versions of the service can be downloaded to accomodate changes in software never leavng any of consumers behind. With the expansion port being able to handle up to twelve peripherals, the future is limitless.

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 12:49pm -- JimD, Hello again. Or is the success waiting on material to draw people in to use of the product? Not another chicken and egg issue, but isn't the bandwidth growing already?

Warren Agin - Law Solutions ( - 12:49pm -- I disagree Jim. The services are already there on the net. I us the net all the time, as do many others. Sure, video, audio and large graphics are not yet practical for the broad audience, but the uses are still endless. For many people the barrier to internet connectivity is the need for an expensive and confusing machine. Most of us probably won't buy WebTV, we already have that expensive machine and know how to use it. But most people are not in that category.

Jim Dorval ( - 12:52pm -- The reports I have read support the statement that bandwidth is growing, but usages is outrunning it by about two to one.

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 12:52pm -- I think the hope of WebTV as a company, and the TV manufacturers who are making web ready TVs is that the mass market catches on to this thing that "we've" only had up to now.

Kelby ( - 12:53pm -- Warren, the NC system might partially be an answer to expensive and confusing because it is simple, inexpensive and powerful. It merely needs the bandwidth which will have the technology applied in the not to distant future.

Jim Dorval ( - 12:54pm -- To determine you own bandwidth availability, find a minimum of ten sites in different places over the globe, and try to download a file of about 1 meg. Time how long it takes and calculate your average bandwidth.

Al Silverberg ( - 12:55pm -- The mass market is waiting. My brother in law was thrilled when he heard about WebTv. He needs a computer to use for his business, but doesnt like typing or needing to learn or use different programs. No time, too busy, etc. Put it into the frame of a TV where all he has to do is push buttons and someone else worries about all the technicalities, plus he can do it on his TV, use his remote, let the kids play with it. It is the kind of tool the mass market wants.

WebTVHost ( - 12:55pm -- Bruce, good point but even the web ready TV's are out of the price range of most consumers. We are ready for anyone with a TV and a phone line. We expect an even lower price on our unit in the future.

Network Computers and related bandwidth issues

Todd ( - 12:09pm -- Kelby - What's NC? When do you plan to have devices available? at what price?

Dirk ( - 12:12pm -- Kelby can u send me your e-mail address please...

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - 12:13pm -- Marc, While the WebTV folks are typing, do you have any thing to add to Todd's question about NCA?

Kelby ( - 12:15pm -- NC is a Network Computing device that basically is diskless and uses the open network to get its executables and permanent data. NC devices are targeted as high powered low cost devices and I believe the plan is to supply them complete at no more than $1000 (my guess, not necessarily correct). I do not have the information on availability here.

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - 12:16pm -- Kelby, What about local storage options, I know many of us would like to be able to store things that we've found, and perhaps even make hard copies of them.

Kelby ( - 12:16pm -- my email address is

Kelby ( - 12:19pm -- The NC computing device typically would be diskless and would use a server on the network as is source for executables and for its permanent storage. The NC device would have all the capabilities of a full PC without the local hard disk storage and would have full network print capabilities to the user's printer of choice.

Kelby ( - 12:21pm -- Being diskless does not limit the capabilities of the NC but merely dictates that the user is using storage that is NOT local. You would still be able to save documents and retrieve info at a later date. The information is just not local. It is a method of providing high powered lower cost devices at the desktop.

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 12:23pm -- Kelby, I see the advantage from cost of being diskless. Suppose I want to keep some things locally, would I be able to do that? I.e., I am helping my son with homework, find some facts, and eant to save it for him. only use bandwidth once that way

Kelby ( - 12:26pm -- One major difference that I see is the cost of computing devices coming down at the desktop. I also wonder however, how it changes the complexion of the mass access storage media or information farms that will be necessary in order to maintain the data. One thing I can think of with the NC is that, because you will be using an executable (e.g., word processing software) on a central storage media, you will always have the most recent version and the same version as all others working in that same environment.

Kelby ( - 12:29pm -- My understanding of NC computing says that you would not store anything locally because you physically would not have any disk space. However, you could attach a disk or disk array on your local network at home and have the NC system save information there.

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 12:30pm -- With all the software being on a central site, all the information being stored there for me (and all of us), the set-top units being free or nearly free, how will this change the way information is bought and paid for? Or won't it. Let's stay away from the technology of e-commerce for the moment, but how about the changes in the way we think of information as value and the providers of the info will then view their product

Al Silverberg ( - 12:31pm -- Good question Bruce, I was wondering how that would effect software developers and the large software houses when there is no longer a large base of installed users to buy all those expensive upgrades

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 12:32pm -- So, WebTV and Kelby, what would a scenario look like where I wanted to help my child with their homework?

Kelby ( - 12:32pm -- In my understanding, the NC device is not meant as a replacement for PCs but is a high powered low cost augment to the desktop environment. It would have`a high applicability in institutional and corporate environments for example where shared disk is very accessable and networks are high speed. You typically would not want to use an NC system over a phone line in my judgement.

Kataryn ( - 12:33pm -- Kelby~~ Will there be a printing option eventually incorporated?

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 12:34pm -- Kelby, I agree with you. Phone lines won't cut it at 28.8 or so, maybe ADSL will. But won't things change when we have ADSL or ISDN inexpensively, or web access at cable-TV speed?

Fred ( - 12:37pm -- US Robotics announced a 58k modem yesterday. It is in testing now, will ship January time frame.

Kelby ( - 12:37pm -- The scenario of helping your child with their homework would be pretty much the same as is being done now with Web reference material online and programs on your PC to basically hone skill sets. This would not change. What would change is the scenario at a school where the school is able to distribute more horsepower in the classroom because of the lower per-unit device cost so more kids get to work at it at the same time. The challenge to the schools is to increase their network bandwidth to make it practical. The device cost reduction should allow them and other busnesses to justify and pay for the added network bandwidth.

Ted Kochanski ( - 12:38pm -- The future of any of these devices depends on bandwidth -- without getting into deep mathematics and physics there are minimum amounts of bits that must be sent to permit general information to be transmitted If you don't have a Mb/s second you can't get full screen NTSC video If you want to have the current generation of applications download in reasonable time you also need a Mb/s To date only Cable, DBS, MMDS (microwave cable), ADSL (sophisticated use of Telco twisted pair capacity) have demonstrated these data rates in real field tests. None, except DBS are currently serving more than a handfull of customers with digital services What will the future bring (allof the above) + the major TV broadcasters, possibly radio broadcasters will be able to transmit digital data streams to wired or wireless receivers. Evenutally network computers or other consumer termionals will be ubiquitous -- but not now -- nor lilkely in the next 3 years, none except for DBS has the potential for millions of customers receiving digital data streams at home Network computers will be very popular at the office because of the widespread availabiliy of ethernets (1 + Mb/s even if poorly configured) coupled with the mistrust of PC's by MIS types -- they like the idea of a terminal connected to their centralized servers since its realy just a retread of the Big Blue System 360 paradigm Any thoughts?

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 12:40pm -- Kelby, I like your answer as far. It's not just the schools challenge to get the bandwidth up. Now, what does Encylopedia Britannica do when I don't need to buy one of their sets, or the Library and school don't either?

Jim Dorval ( - 12:42pm -- The endpoint device is only half of the problem and is not very functional if the network infrastructure of this country (and others) is not improved. It does not matter what educational or entertainment materials are provided by sites if users can not access them due to limited bandwidth.

Kelby ( - 12:43pm -- This is where the Telcom and Cable companies are seeing the future of services. For instance, the cable companies operate today on a lot of fibre cables and want to provide feeds into consumer's houses. Basically, a network already exists to your front door that has not been tapped as yet. At this point I think it is a cost/benefit issue for the common consumer. This will make the home-NC system more practical.

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 12:44pm -- Ted, Your comments put me in mind of many of my customers who want to add lots of "deny" statements in their web-proxy config file. You don't, but your picture of the IS director does. Their concerns can be quite valid. What is also intersting is the way it changes the marketplace for storage and reitrival of information. I.e., with authentication and authorization, and encryption, does the NC and things like WebTV let me outsource all of my company's data to a central site?

Ted Kochanski ( - 12:47pm -- There is an alternative technology. One can take advantage of unused cable spectrum to transmit upto 6 Mb/s to a receiver that plugs into a PC or directly to a set-top By streaming the data (catalogs, programs, music, images, miscelaneous data) you can get the benefits of satellite broadcasting with the convenience and accessibility of existing cable systems and without having to make over cable systems into ethernets This technology is being developed by a company OmniBox Incorporated It has already demonstrated the transmission of 4 simultaneous video channels in a 6 MHz piece of cable spectrum on Time Warner Cable of NY's system OmniBox can download the latest Netscape or Microsoft Explorer browser to a PC in less than 1 minute

Kelby ( - 12:47pm -- You can outsource your corporate data today without the NC. I think it is more a matter of protecting the family jewels as to the reason why companies do not outsource their data typically.

Ted Kochanski ( - 12:55pm -- Network Computers are a good solution to companies with Dilbert like hordes of people in cuibicles working on projects kept in centralized servers assuming that they are connected at Ethernet speed. If the company is distributed over a wide area then the usual issues of connectivity to the central server applies. In the long riun, I'm sure (assuming the politicians permit) that the wires connecting us to our local offices will carry packet switched data (NYNEX as your ISP) and with ADSL or some other Multi Mb/s connection to the local office and Multi GB/s connections between offices -- then a far flug operation could connect to a central server for all of its data/document/media storage/delivery. How long will this take -- technically it coiuld be less than 5 years in major metro areas -- politically/legally its a total unknown

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 12:54pm -- When the mass market of people out there start tuning in, what happens to how we consume information, how does that change? What will I have to pay for information stored on one of Kelby's server farms? How will the NY Times make money from my "browsing" it, and not buying the tree product?

Jim Dorval ( - 12:58pm -- Advertising is the most successful way of generating income for the largest market. Charging access cost to a site will reduce the number of viewers, and becomes self-defeating. Use commercial television as a reference model. 

Mining Market Data

todd ( - 12:04pm Hello Bruce. Any comment on the notion of services that store bookmarks for users "mining" that info for marketing data?

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - 12:06pm -- Tod, I'm not sure that I personally like it from a privacy perspective, but, then I take advantage of my supermarket savings card which gives me discounts based on their records of what brands I buy. So I believe it's fair game to collect marketing information like that, even though I may not personally like the data they keep 

Secure Data Transmission

anonymous ( - 12:24pm -- What types of "secured" methods for the transmission of data are available for smaller corporations in the feild of financial services?

Wrap Up

Todd ( - 12:18pm -- Afraid I have to cut out, but not because of lack of interest. I look forward to reading the transcript. Especially, the WebTV and Oracle comments. Hope you can come back again.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:48pm -- I just got back from doing my seminar at Internet Expo. It will take me a while to catch the drift of today's conversation.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:49pm -- All -- I'll be here in the background. Looks like a great conversation. I'll post the transcript as usual. Look at

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:51pm -- All -- by the way, please feel free to send me email with followup comments (the things you meant to say but didn't get a chance) and I'll add it to the transcript. Send to

Tom Dadakis DadaCom ( - Thu, Oct 17, 12:53pm Hi everyone sorry to join the discussion so late. I'll read Richard's summary later.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:55pm -- All-- Please send your suggestions for future topics to focus on. I'm ptempted by the topic of "new kinds of money" -- virtual cash, smart cards, micropayments (Millicent) etc. What's likely to happen? What are the implications for business on the public Internet and also for intranets (Also, the implicats for banks and other financial institutions.) Does that interest any of you? Send email to

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 12:57pm -- I'm not sure we will resolve the low cost web access device discussion today. This is the third week of dicussion. Let's remember to exchange e-mail before we leave (I see it's getting towards 1PM). How does the idea of new kinds of money strike you all as a topic for next week and an extension of today's discussion? I.e. virtual cash, smart cards, micropayments (Millicent), etc. What they are. What's likely to happen. What are the implications for business on the public Internet and also for intranets. (Also, implications for banks and other financial institutions).

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 12:58pm -- Well, you can see the secret, Richard and I talked about this earlier!! (Embarrassed smile)! Thanks to all for participating!

WebTVHost ( - 12:59pm -- Bruce, were ready for that as well. With our smart card slot and partnership with Citibank were ready for inhome banking.

Richard Seltzer ( - 1:01pm -- WebTV -- Thanks very much for joining us today. And yes, please come again for the "new kinds of money" discussion, and if you have followup info that you feel would be of general interest, please send it to me by email and I'll include it with the transcript.

Richard Seltzer ( - 12:57pm -- All -- The hour is coming quickly to an end. Before you sign off, please let us know your email addresses and URLs so we can followup with one another later. (All will be included in the transcript.)

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 12:58pm --

Al Silverberg ( - 12:58pm -- email address: website:

Tom Dadakis DadaCom ( - Thu, Oct 17, 12:59pm --For next week, could we discuss what a business expects to get out their Internet/Intranet use.

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 1:00pm -- Tom, That topic is a good one, a little broad, so it may give us room to explore that as well as the commerce aspects

Ted Kochanski ( - 1:00pm -- tpk@sensorsys.com by the way OmniBox is located at It was an interesting session. Sorry about the length of my comments. Signing off.

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 1:01pm -- Aaron and Carlton, would you like to leave your e-mail addresses?

WebTVHost ( - 1:00pm --

Jim Dorval ( - 1:00pm -- Jim Dorval Vivo Software (Multimedia over the internet.)

Kataryn ( - 1:01pm --

WebTVHost ( - 1:02pm -- Thanks everyone we enjoyed it. If we can be of any further assistance please feel free to call us at 1-800-GOWEBTV or e-mail us at

Warren Agin - Law Solutions ( - 1:02pm -- Warren Agin

Kataryn ( - 1:02pm -- Thank you for a most interesting discussion

Kelby ( - 1:02pm -- my email again is It's been very nice chatting with all of you. Hope to chat again soon.

Bruce B. Platt Comport Consulting ( - Thu, Oct 17, 1:02pm -- Kelby, thanks for your participation, unofficial or not.
Richard Seltzer ( - 12:59pm -- Also, if anyone is interested, I'll be posted the slides of the seminar I delivered today at my Website The topic was Basics of Effective Web Sites -- How to Succeed When the Rules of the Game Keep Changing.

Richard Seltzer ( - 1:00pm -- Bruce -- Thanks very much for hosting today. Looks like it was a very good discussion. I'm looking forward to taking a close look as I edit and post the transcript.

Richard Seltzer ( - 1:02pm -- Thanks to everyone. If you would like to receive email reminders about these sessions, please send me email


From: Richard Seltzer To: Carlton Waters Date: Thu, 17 Oct 1996 23:08:21 -0400 (EDT)

> I would just like to take a moment to thank you for the opportunity to join your chat this morning (in my case at least). I was wondering when the transcripts were going to be available on your website?

Thanks very much for joining in.

I just posted the transcript at

If you have some related followup information you'd like to add, please email it to me and I'll include it with the transcript.

I must admit that after all this discussion I'm still unclear on what WebTV is. Pieces of information that I garnered from various places just don't add up. e.g., Philips/Magnavox shows a photo of the keyboard which has the letters in alphabetic order rather than QWERTY and I can't imagine anyone using such a keyboard for email or chat; also you refer to the picture quality as "D1" [I believe] I haven't a clue what that means. On the other hand I understand that the signals come over telephone lines [rather than cable TV lines] and that the speed is about 33K, not much better than my 28.8 modem, so how is this going to make it so I can receive multimedia content at reasonable speed? Using the TV as monitor seems to imply that the emphasis is on multi-media content rather than text [who would want to read text on a TV screen 12 ft. away?] but unless there's some strange new technology involved, 33K just won't hack it for the multimedia content. Anything you could add to clear up such confusions would be greatly appreciated.

Best wishes.

Richard Seltzer,

WebTV from the company itself

From: Philip Trauring Sent: Monday, October 21, 1996 7:42:16 PM

I just came across the chat you hosted on Oct. 3 which focused a lot on theWebTV Internet Terminal. I'd first like to correct the URL you posted at the end of the file - it's, not .com, as you yourself pointed out earlier in that chat session.

It's true our corporate web site is a bit out of date, but I can assure you that it's not because we 'don't get it'. It is only due to the fact that we have been focusing our efforts on our product launch that things like the corporate web site end up on the back-burner. I can assure you that a new revised corporate web site is in the works.

Having scanned through the next two chat sessions after writing the above, I realize the discussion on WebTV continued quite a bit. Let me just answer a few questions of yours:

Our product is first and foremost a consumer product. Cable modems are nice, but where are they available? I certainly wouldn't want to base a consumer product on a technology only available in a few towns around the US.

Anyways, I hope this clears up some issues. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any more questions yourself (please don't post my e-mail address on the web page as I'm not the official person to speak to about these things).

Please put me on your mailing list to keep me informed about future chat sessions. I've worked for a cable internet access company and for a voice-recognition company in the past, so I have something to offer on both of those aspects as well.

Take care,

Philip Trauring, Content Systems Specialist, WebTV Networks 

WebTV from a fan of the concept

From: (Michael Ireton ) Date: October 18, 1996 [originally posted to the Internet Sales Discussion List, posted here with permission]

WebTV will be just a first in cheaper technology that WILL attract many people that want to understand and use the Internet without the expense of buying a computer and for those that are not computer literate.

I work with the academically challenged and families that have children at-risk in school. They cannot afford a multimedia computer to take advantage of the Internet and would not be able to get on the "net" if they did have a computer without a more thorough knowledge. However, plugging a phone line into a box, using a remote or remote keyboard, and surfing the net is not a lot of difference than what they do when they are surfing the channels on television.

I see a real growth in this area and this will allow the many who cannot use a computer the opportunity to give their children a resource for education. (T.H.E. Journal magazine came out with a poster in their September issue entitled "T.H.E. Journal's Road Map To The World Wide Web For Educators" which listed a large variety of URLs and other places for people to go for educational sources.)

The spin off of this will be the marketing that will be accomplished over the Internet and many people will begin to buy just as they do for Infomercials on television. This will create an opportunity for different companies to show what they can do and advertising sells.

As an educator and an entrepreneur, I applaud the new technology and look forward to this new round of technology explosion.

As a recent subscriber [to Internet Sales], I should introduce myself. I am an associate professor with San Diego Community College, retired military, and an entrepreneur. I am an encurable romantic, ever hopeful, and a life long searcher in many areas that include alternative health, the markets, and business. I am distrustful of government, bureaucracies, and institutions in all areas.

Michael Ireton - San Diego,,,

From: Michael Ireton <> Date: Sun, 20 Oct 1996 01:45:31 -0700

Feel free to use my comments. I would be glad to join you but I am in class during that time (unfortunately - not on the Internet). I have a keen interest in the technology that is coming out and believe we will see a shift in the way we all do business. Stores will be coming into the homes through the Internet and people will shop much the same way they do by going to the stores. The interactive media will allow us to take a walk through the stores with our interactive glasses on and even allow us to see how we will look in a particular outfit. I don't believe this is too far away. The technology is there and with the phone companies and cable companies joining forces to make it happen, I know we are in the first stages of a new technology explosion that will create even more paradigm shifts.

Michael Ireton - San Diego

Message from new WebTV users

From: Date: Fri, 8 Nov 1996 22:02:43 -0500

We are new owners of Webtv and are feeling deprived of many web areas because we dont have Netscape, Java, etc. Do you think Smartcards and extra port will assist us? Pls respond to: Tx!!

Jim & Sandra


I tried to sort out what WebTV was about in our chat sessions at Perhaps you saw the transcripts at

My impression is that they try to lock you into their particular realm -- that with that box you have no choice of Internet access provider: you have to go with the WebTV service. That would be bad enough, but I didn't realize that you don't have Java and that the browser isn't comparable to Netscape's.

How's the keyboard? Is it the usual QWERTY format? And is the infrared remote connection from keyboard to set good enough for normal typing?

I can't imagine that the SmartCard would be much use today -- the Internet isn't really a place to shop right now, though it may eventual move in that direction. And I'm not sure what the "extra port" can do.

Basically, I've never used WebTV and only know about it from articles. So you guys are the experts on the subject. But I am very skeptical about it, and strongly expect that it has been oversold.

Richard Seltzer

Reply to Reply

From: Date: Sat, 9 Nov 1996 13:25:27 -0500


Thanks for responding. The keyboard is QWERTY and works well for me - I type for a living and don't mind this. You can change it to alphabetical style, if you prefer. If you hear of any improvements coming out, we would love to hear from you! Tx! Jim & Sandra

WebTV -- need for more info

From: (Leonard Windham) [originally posted to the Internet Sales Discussion List; reposted here with permission]

I would be interested to compare notes on the Web TV -- I haven't seen it in my area yet. I have just heard a few stories about how it works.

I've got a unit in a similar vein, that browses the web, has built in email, and can also print right off the net and download and store information -- it has the connections for all the standard PC peripherals. So, if you see something that you want to look at later you can print a page off. It uses a wireless remote and keyboard for navigating and has a 33.6 modem for access.

I understand that one of the local cable outlets will be producing a show on these "net boxes" soon.

A. Leonard Windham ( Student Pilot, Internet Consultant

Pointer to URL with WebTV info

From: "Jim Sullivan" <> [initially sent to the Internet Sales Discussion List; reposted here with permission]

WebTV has been the topic of conversation on Lynda Weinman's web-design list and also the Internet Developers Association list.

A member of the web-design list has started a page with lots of WebTV info

I think WebTV will be a big help to people selling on-line.

Jim Sullivan jsadven@javanet.com

WebTV -- Thoughts from a potential buyer

From: Shane Trahan <> [originally sent to the Internet Sales Discussion List; reposted here with permission]

There is an interesting article about the introductionof WebTV in WebWeek (11/4/96). The article stated that there would not be many sales of the devices this year, the time to actually watch to see if the device will actually take off will be next year. I have done a little bit of research on the device and have found that it does have alot of potential..

WebTV can be viewed at . One thing that I noticed however is that the device links to the WebTV network, which is all fine and dandy but I see a repeat of Microsofts MSN, which did not fair so well as they had hoped. TMein had mentioned that many of his collegues had suggested that there must be more interactivity in order for the WebTV to work, I personally beleive that in due time some helper applications will be developed that will enable the TV-TOP Internet access box to become more interactive.

The drawback to this is that it is using standard phone lines to access the information over 33.6 KB modem.

Perhaps with the introduction of the WebTV a webTV II will be able to use standard Cable Wire instead of the phone lines. I am interested now and I may go out and purchase it to try it out!!! I look forward to hearing from the rest of you..


Importance of WebTV for Internet entrepreneurs

From: (Mark Montgomery) [originally sent to the Internet Sales Discussion List; reposted here with permission]

Web TV is the best thing that has ever happened to Netpreneurs. A very goodforum in WSJ Interactive & we just started one in Virtual Franchise & we just announced a 30 day free trial so why not give it a try and join in. Our membership is a rather amazing group of folks, including some of Well's competition & their clients:)

Web TV allows for the first time a pc alternative to surf the net. They are selling very well with low levels of returns. This is THE most important new product for the Internet because it allows the mainstream acess. Below the magical price ceiling, ease of use, familiar appliances, global distribution channels....FINALLY!

A lot of folks still don't realize that the number one mistake in marketing is assuming every one thinks the way we do. This is common on the net where are all part of a niche group. Not enough to form a critical mass to pay for the Internet, much less all the web sites, software, infrastructure etc.

BTW, we just had a nice article in this issue of WebWeek, not sure if it was MMG, PRN or our personal communications but it's welcome just the same.

Check out GWIN, it's a model that independent sites need to survive & our applications have been astounding. Trust me on this, look at the GWIN model carefully.

Mark Montgomery, President, VIRTUAL FRANCHISE

Member: GWIN-Global Web Interactive Network


From: Steve Storozum <> Date: Mon, 18 Nov 1996 17:44:42 -0800

This is in regards to your email exchange of 17 October, which I read at today.

I work in the video transmission equipment business, and I thought I'd enlighten you on the subject of "D1" quality. Television signals are now being stored in digital form on a variety of media, including tape.

One of the best storage technologies is the "D1" digital storage system invented by Sony. It separates the television signal into its component parts (essentially, three colors plus luminance information), digitizes each part, and lays them down on high-quality digital tape.

What does this have to do with video display? Well, the D1 encoding scheme is now escaping from tape decks and being serialized for compression using MPEG-2 or direct transmission. The problem with uncompressed D1 signals is that they occupy 270Mbps of bandwidth, so the Motion Pictures Experts Group has devoted one type of MPEG-2 compression to D1 signals. I bet that this is the "D1" that is being referred to in this discussion thread.

I hope this helps; if not, just send questions my way.

---Steve Storozum, Video Products Group, Inc., 1125-B Business Center Circle, Newbury Park, CA 91320 805-375-2855

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