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What Does MSN TV Mean?

MSN TV is (was) the system developed by WebTV Inc. for accessing the Internet through television sets. The unit simply needs a telephone line to send and receive data. WebTV Networks was purchased by Microsoft in 1997 at which time the name of the technology was changed from WebTV to MSN TV.


MSN TV is a thin client that uses a television set to display the Internet. This was viewed as a low-cost alternative to traditional computer-based surfing.

WebTV is a proprietary term and should not be confused with Web TV, which is a more general term for television that’s broadcast over the Internet.

Techopedia Explains MSN TV

WebTV Networks Inc. was founded in 1995 by Steve Perlman, Bruce Leak and Phil Goldman. A prototype of a set-top box was developed in the same year. It used a dial-up modem to provide subscriber services such as HTML-based email. The subscriber services also proxied the websites accessed by the WebTV set-top box so that the content could be displayed more efficiently on a television screen.

Microsoft acquired WebTV in 1997 for $503 million. As a result of the acquisition, WebTV became a Silicon Valley-based division of Microsoft with Steve Perlman as the president. Later, Microsoft worked collaboratively with Sega Corporation to produce the first set-top box developed by a well-known vendor that offered high-end online gaming, Internet access and interactive television.


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