December 12, 2013
It began as a low-cost way for consumers to surf the internet on TV without the need for a computer. Now, it's a service that's about to come to an end.
WebTV was launched in 1996 as a set-top box alternative to using a personal computer to surf the World Wide Web. The WebTV set included a remote control, a keyboard, a modem, and more. The cost of the box was separate of the monthly subscription fee.
The box would light up if an e-mail was received, and later models allowed a user to watch TV while surfing and take pictures.
While considered convenient by some, the WebTV serice lacked the full features of some PC internet browsers, especially later in its life.
WebTV became MSNTV in 2001, the same year that the Microsoft Xbox system launched.
Later this year, the MSNTV service will be closing for good.
Many modern video game systems, such as the Nintendo WiiU and Sony Playstation 3, allow users to surf the internet along with popular portable devices such as cellular phones and tablets.