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July 15, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:51pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Internet on television company NetChannel Inc has gone to Cambridge, UK-based NetProducts Ltd for the set-top boxes it needs for a new UK service aimed at the home market. NetChannel has an exclusive agreement with NetProducts, which was started up by Dr Hermann Hauser, co-founder of Acorn Computers Ltd, and also chairman of San Francisco-based NetChannel. The NetStation the company will be providing has 4Mb ROM, 8Mb RAM, a 40MHz ARM RISC microprocessor, and a smartcard slot, with a SCART TV connection, a remote control and infrared keyboard. It is shipping now for 300 pounds in the UK. The two companies aim to provide competition to Microsoft Corp’s WebTV, which also provides content and hardware, as the NetStation set top is designed for exclusive use with the NetChannel service. The service is going to offer content tweaked for viewing on a television, with some content provision coming from the media groups Associated Newspapers, Conde Nast and EMAP. NetChannel also claims to be negotiating further deals. It believes that for wide scale non- Personal Computer based use the Internet will have to offer exclusive consumer marketed content like its E-pages, an electronic information services that derives from its acquisition of ViewCall America Inc (CI No 3164) the developer of the personalized listing service On-TV. It also believes that interactive education services, currently under negotiation, could also drive take-up. NetChannel will have proprietary content, World Wide Web access, electronic mail, and chat facilities, but no Newsgroup access, and unwanted content filtered through Spyglass Inc’s SurfWatch. The service will be 15 pounds a month for unlimited use, with a 33.6Kbps phone connection available through the NetStation. There is no planned evolution of the service to digital TV. The service is available now, but will be fully launched in October, when the content providers and hardware re-sellers have been signed.

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