Lately, Microsoft announced that the Company would close its subscription based internet television service MSN TV on September 30th. The Redmond giant sent out emails to subscribers and published a page on its official website which explains the steps to follow to save your data.
The service was developed in 1995 by WebTV networks, the company founded by Steve Perlman, former president and CEP of OnLive. In 1997, Microsoft acquired WebTV for $425 million. In 2001, Microsoft has changed its name from Web TV to MSN TV.
20 years ago, when computers and internet were often a bit out of reach, the WebTV was introduced to bring people online, offered internet or internet based services and added a graphical interface to the TV. The resulting product was a mixture of set-top boxes and home theater PCs, with keyboard and remote control. The initial cost of the device was $349 while a $19.95 per month subscription was required to avail the service.
In 2004, Microsoft announced MSN TV2 based on Windows CE. The new set-top box was a true media center and could be connected to other Windows computers in local networks. Meantime, different competitors had appeared, AOL TV in particular for which WebTV lost the original appeal. Then Microsoft decided to move the team of engineers in other divisions like Mediaroom and Xbox 360.
Today, there are dozens of services and devices available through which you can connect to the internet, but the initial idea to unite set-top box and TV is still alive. Consequently, Microsoft has evolved Xbox One, the successor for Xbox 360 as multimedia hub for gaming, video, music, social networks and other entertainment services distributed via Xbox Live and puts an end to MSN TV.