Microsoft is gearing up to unveil a new version of its MSN TV service and hardware with a completely redesigned broadband-enabled Internet receiver.
Working with Thomson, who provides the hardware, the new system is a complete overhaul of the existing device and service based on standard Microsoft technologies and incorporates new advanced technology from Thomson. The product will be available through major retailers in time for the 2004 holiday shopping season.
The new MSN TV device includes a wireless keyboard and mouse developed by Thomson.
“Thomson is a valued partner that shares our vision of making it easy to connect the digital world to your living room,” said Sam Klepper, general manager of MSN TV. “That’s why we selected the company to design and manufacture our next-generation system. It is a giant leap forward that will appeal to a much broader set of consumers.”
“For the past four years we have partnered with the MSN TV organization to give consumers the ease of use, reliability and affordability they value in accessing the Internet on television. As a leader in delivering interactive video solutions to consumers, we are excited to be working with Microsoft on product innovations that will make MSN TV’s service more appealing for users at all levels – including digital media enthusiasts – with exciting new options,” said Keith Wehmeyer, general manager of IP Decoders at Thomson.
The system is designed to allow users to browse the Internet, play digital media, and send and receive e-mail from the comfort of their couch – or anywhere they may have a TV and an Internet connection.
Users will be able to view recorded or downloaded digital video in windowed or full-screen mode and listen to music via a specialized version of Microsoft’s Windows Media Player. The device will also allow users to browse through pictures with an integrated photo viewer and slideshow application, but it is unclear at this time if pictures need to be uploaded to the Web or if they can be stored on the user’s local network.
MSN TV’s photo viewer allows you to view images in a slideshow and even order prints online.
The receiver includes analog left and right audio outputs, a composite and S-Video output, and two USB ports. Internet access is obtained by connecting to a broadband modem or router, or by using MSN TV’s dialup service.
Detailed specifications are not available at this time, but the device will retail for $199. Designtechnica will bring you details as soon as they become available.
The back panel includes analog audio and video connectors, USB ports, and Internet connections.
The Home page allows access to all of the MSN TV options, as well as providing weather, news, and sports information at a glance.
Users can send and receive mail from the comfort of their couch, entering text with a wireless keyboard.
The Media Player has a familiar look to it and allows users to playback videos and digital audio files.