Gail Murphy Glore - 05:45pm Apr 21, 1997 PST (#2 of 41)
The box said, "requires Windows 95 or better," so I bought a Mac

About WebTV? I'm glad Microsoft bought it- Bill Gates needs a humble lesson. ahem.. I digress. WebTV is a very silly concept at this point in time. In the event that everyone owns a HD television and wants absolutely no control in server options can go for it. At this time, tv's lack the clarity needed to read text in any clear way. You have to add periferals to have even a remotely usable system- ie storage, printer, keyboard. If web surfing is your only goal, why not buy an older 68040 Mac and have it all, AND a great computer?

jimmC - 07:03pm Apr 21, 1997 PST (#3 of 41)
The way WebTV is set up at this time and with all the advanages you can have with just a cheap Mac, I would opt for the Mac.

junior - 01:00pm May 3, 1997 PST (#7 of 41)
Hey Gail! Who you callin' silly? I am comfortably browsing the 3rdAge site with my WebTV in my living room, in a divinely comfortable Danish rocker at a 45 degree prone angle. (not crouched over my Mac workstation watching the progress bar on page reloads- caching and access is faster than my Mac's 28.8) I agree a Mac is a powerful tool in fact,too powerful to be used only to serve up Web pages. The computing cycles (time) could be used for productive work (creativity, computation), but when it comes time to relax and answer some friendly e-mail, browse/surf/research the Web sites that intrigue me, or defend my WebTV, I can do it in the style my life has become accustomed to. I would recommend it to anyone not ready to jump into the abyss of troubleshooting a computer to have a Web presence (email and Web pages designed without a PC) The interface is simple and straightforward and I have watched my luddite friends 'get it' within moments of taking the remote in their hand. I am sitting 10 feet away from my monitor (granted a 32 incher) and able to read every word of your email without a squint (seems as I get older my distance vision is better anyhow) Consider it a different kind of appliance, task specific, that is complimentary to your hard working computer. I am happy to evangelize WebTV and will take on all comers ;-) and questions. Any other WebTVers out there?

Diane - 04:39am Apr 24, 1997 PST (#9 of 41)
Junior, I'd like to hear more about your WebTV. Could you give us some details?

junior - 01:00pm Apr 26, 1997 PST (#10 of 41)
Happy to Diane! The WebTV folks have done a splendid job of designing an easily navigable home page (that you arrive at after pushing a WEB button on the remote control that comes with the WebTV box). It offers your Mailbox,(your email) Favorites (a set of thumbnails of pages you have visited and saved), Explore (Excite's categories and site suggestions for tip toeing through the Web) and Search (Excite's search engine) There are also weekly 'best of the web' type columns, along with Infoseek's NewsTracker and Around Town that serves up info based on my zip code (Movie schedules, weather,etc.) These are the 'services' of my mandatory WebTV network service provider. I can have up to 6 email accounts and unlimited time online for under $20 a month. There is an online keyboard, but if you are a verbose email writer, the wireless keyboard is a must. Plans are also afoot to offer a cable to hook up to an HP printer to print out pages. The box also has a smart card slot for future online transactions and IMHO the killer app will be a user card issued with my personal WebTV info, so that if I find myself at another WebTV box (say a hotel in Dubuque, Iowa) I can insert the card and 'my world' is there so I can check/answer my email. At this time I know people are traveling with their boxes and hooking them up to TVs at the grandkids house. An extremely easy feat, I was online in less than 15 minutes when I initially plugged in my phone line and TV to the box. WebTV uses around 12 ISPs, so if one is down, it rolls over to the next open line. Some users must access through a toll call, so check that for your area before running up costs (it may change as their network grows) The sign in process was painless and I didn't once have to configure TCP or any of that rigormorol. Another guilty pleasure is the Picture in Picture on my TV. I can shrink the TV screen to a small corner and read email or surf while I give the proportional amount of attention to the TV that it usually deserves :-) The navigation arrows on the remote 'boxes' the links as you browse on the page so they are easy to see, another click and you are following the link. There is also a 'Recent' button that shows thumbnails of the last 12 pages you have visited (a great visual clue for your breadcrumb trail) Of course the 'Home' button returns you to the opening page if you lose track of where you are. To spare those that are uninterested, I will finish up. If you have more specific questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Trekster - 07:46am Apr 27, 1997 PST (#11 of 34) Darlene
Greetings, Junior! Thanks a ton for all the WebTV info. Sounds like just my cup o' tea. I had been toying with the idea of a Pentium 200 with MMX, but I use it more for internet than anything else, so this one may do for awhile if the WebTV thing continues to grow. Sounds like just the ticket for those of us who only learned the computer so we could surf. The problem is, I have a new 32"Sony. This means replacing that already. Sheesh. I'm bummed.

Adam - 09:25pm Apr 27, 1997 PST (#12 of 34) Adam Meyerson, Producer, Tech Central
Web TV does not actually come with a TV so you should be able to hook it right up to that new 32" Sony with no problems. It will look great on that big screen.

KateHC - 12:16pm Apr 29, 1997 PST (#14 of 34)
I happened to be at my local senior center the day Bill Gates visited the WebTV home site (which is across the street and down the block) and I'll tell you it looked like half the western world was milling around on the streets of Palo Alto. There is obviously some interest.

Trekster - 02:05am May 3, 1997 PST (#16 of 34) Darlene
Thanks, Adam. I had just learned that today by going in and taking a look *up close and personal.* If they can hook a printer to that puppy, it is going to be the hottest ticket in town! I loved the idea of the cordless little laptop and the point-and-shoot remote. Talk about a couch potatoes dream! The Sony is selling for $250 with the keyboard an extra $79. How do those prices compare around the country? I did see one thing that I wish could have been changed. I'd have enjoyed being able to do my *surfing* on the WebTV, and being able to record the URLs so I could then go to my computer and make whatever downloads I wanted from the info I had gathered. Since Microsoft has purchased WebTV, I think that will more than likely come to pass, eventually. But talk about FUTURE. To paraphrase, "I have seen the future and it is here." Darlene/Trekster

junior - 01:00pm May 3, 1997 PST (#17 of 34)
Hey Darlene! Happy to see you took the initiative to get 'up close and personal' with WebTV. You can now understand my enthusiasm!!! The prices you quoted are exactly what I paid for my box and remote in San Francisco. They'll be a perfect 'fit' with your new Sony. Recording URLs for downloading purposes is easy. There is a 'Send' button that forwards a page (actually a clickable URL/link) to any other email address. I use this all the time for downloads or even better to forward a page to a friend, much like a clipping service! You can also record your surf sessions on your VCR and play them back. I admit I have not tried this and can't see the need for this, nonetheless intriguing feature. Hmmmm? Seeing the future is what puts the sparkle in your eyes.

CalGal - 02:21pm May 4, 1997 PST (#18 of 34)
Junior, I have a question. I've always understood that a computer monitor has a much higher resolution than a TV screen and that this necessary to view computer programs. How is it then that the WebTV solves this problem? I have read a great many computer magazine articles and have never seen this question addressed. I am curious as to why not.

junior - 10:31pm May 4, 1997 PST (#19 of 34)
Hello CalGal! WebTV has a patent pending technology (one of 30) called WebLensTM that 'eliminates interlace flicker without blurring, while perceptually enhancing image detail'. Founder Steve Perlman, an ex-Apple employee (then again, who isn't these days:-) refined his early work on making text readable on a TV screen to make WebTV a reality. In fact, I tracked down a Business week article that explains it quite elegantly, check it out it's at 519149.htm/ It's a good read. I think of the WebTV box as an enhanced modem. All the storage (emails, favorites) and computing (image compression, text and layout rendering, etc) is handled at/by WebTV and their array of Sparcstations. The math that is going on behind the scenes boggles my mind but allows me a frisky access to the Web.

CalGal - 11:01pm May 4, 1997 PST (#20 of 34)
Thanks, Junior! I'll check out the Business Week site. Several years ago, around 1980, Apple gave me a couple of Apple IIe computers. One had a monitor by Panasonic which could be switched back and forth to use either as a monitor or a TV. I have never seen or heard of another like it since then. I feel as though I have come full circle :).

junior - 11:29pm May 4, 1997 PST (#21 of 34)
Hey CalGal!
You must have been online to respond so quickly! I have a MacTV (black model sold only to schools) that has the capability of switching. I wonder if your Panasonic was an early prototype? I can't remember if the sales restrictions were because of the FCC or their agreement with Apple (Beatles record label) not to crossover into the entertainment business. Oops, talking about 'ancient' history in the Future forum.

Trekster - 05:52pm May 7, 1997 PST (#24 of 34) Darlene
OKAY, Junior. You should get the commission! I am sold on WebTV. I was in the store again this week, talking to the mgr. about a demo for our Computer Fest in August, and really liked it. After seeing that I *can* keep track of URLs, I am sold. I really enjoy the prospect of sitting with my feet up and *running around*, but then being able to go to the computer and download the good stuff I found along the way! I was pleasantly surprised at how legible the fonts were, even in the smaller sizes. I REALLY loved the cordless laptop and seeing the results clear across the room. You mentioned something about recording your *journey* on your VCR--with short term memory cutting out on me as it so frequently does, it would be neat to have a record of where you'd gone. Assume someone comes to the door or there is a disturbance (I have two dogs!), having a record might help you recall what you were wanting to take down with your computer. I really don't see this as an "instead," but rather as an "also." Quite a powerful, convenient and lovely "also." BTW, did everyone hear today that Ziff Davis is going to be putting up an ALL COMPUTERS TV network? Our news said it should be on the air by March of '98. I know what I will be watching part of the time..... assuming TCI will carry another channel. (Or else I will have to come up with the satellite dish!!) On another news show heard that in Washington we now have PC Parties very much like the Tupperware ladies have. Hand Technologies started this in England in 1995, and they are now in the USA. On the news right now we are getting the feed on Uncle Bill Gates little house party! Any of you get an invite? If I had a 40,000 sq. ft. home, I'D have a party, too! <huge grin> Trekster/Darlene

junior - 08:08pm May 10, 1997 PST (#25 of 34)
Hello Darlene/Trekster
When you get your WebTV, email me and I will "Send" you some helpful WebTV URLs. They've put out a call for testers, so since I live so close to WebTV HQ I'm up for the adventure. I love getting a first look at new things.

karl - 08:15am May 22, 1997 PST (#34 of 34)
I read the recent discussion about WebTV. One of the down-sides of this technology right now is the inability to download or save files from the Internet. Has this been resolved? Does it matter to most users? I think that as the prices of PCs continue to fall, that many folks would not want to be precluded from the advantages of a full-fledged computer. Question: if people who watch TV all the time are called "couch potatoes" are people who watch WebTV called "web potatoes"??:)

junior - 01:58pm May 24, 1997 PST (#35 of 41)|
Karl! Since I seem to be the only one speaking for WebTV ;-)

This seems to be a new kind of tech appliance for those that don't have the time to invest/learn a new technology. For all of those that are jazzed by the enpowerment of computers and all the possibilities they offer, there are just as many, if not more, that are frightened/intimidated by "the Machine" and the challenges it puts forth. No one likes to feel dumb or outwitted and let's be honest, present day technology is not as user friendly as it can/will be.

I too am non-plussed that not everyone can see the advantages of full ownership of a computer, but I have learned from teaching newbies; initially, they may not know they "need" a computer, consider it a major expenditure (even at low used prices), spend their days on tasks not conducive to computing (person-to-person caregiving, real world exploration), or have tried and true methods of getting things done. After a lifetime of accomplishments and problem solving without a computer, learning to talk to a new box full of mysteries can be daunting and cumbersome. I believe everyone is capable, whether they believe it or in themselves, but with such a rich mix of personalities/needs/dreams/incomes it is rare to find a single solution.

WebTV offers another route of access. Which is the bottomline for worldwide communication and availability of shared resources.

Most all of us own phones with various bells and whistles, we also use public payphones, phones at work, mobile phones etc. etc. etc. They all provide the service we expect, connecting us to someone, somewhere else. Simple and straightforward. WebTV offers the same kind of solution for the Internet. Little or no learning curve and as easy as picking up a phone (In this case, pushing a button on a remote).

So, until they find a "need" for downloading and saving files, new users can still reach and converse with friends/family via email, cruise the world's libraries/museums/whatever, and acquaint themselves with the online world using a simple familiar box they already know how to use. Hopefully it will vault them into full blown productive/creative computer purchase/use. Who's to say whats right for me is right for everyone.

Convergence of appliances is inevitable (for space considerations alone :-) and the choices offered will be legion. Hopefully, each person will be able to make their choice based on their own needs. Then we can all meet online where machinery is merely the means to a much more amazing end.

P.S. In WebTV newsgroups, some of the 56,000 users prefer WebTVites or WebTVians, as if they were citizens of a growing community.

Stargazer-1 - 09:56am Jun 25, 1997 PST (#38 of 41)
Junior, you are not the only one supporting WEB-TV. I am waiting for the day when we will get a local number for access, and on that very day I am running, not walking, to the store to get mine!

I know dozens of women, in particular, who are almost technophobes. My best friend retiredfrom teaching first grade at age 65 because she was afraid she could not learn to teachcomputing skills. For people like that, Web TV is a blessing.

As for the mess of downloading and transporting files, many of them are drivers and other nonsense needed to operate these boxes! For the person who only wants to look and communicate, Web TV is the perfect solution! I, for one, would have been deLIGHTed to have been able to communicate immediately instead of having to learn Win 3.1 and DOS.

Messing with a mouse is not my favorite way to spend my day/night. If I can sit with a cordless keyboard on my lap and my feet up looking across at a huge screen, how can anyone tell me I'm "missing out" on anything? The chair I'm using is not as comfy as my recliner. This keyboard is larger and probably a little easier to use, but this is only a guess. My monitor is 17" and I have nice Labtec speakers, but the stereo speakers on my big screen leave these in the dust. Bring on WEB TV! There is a whole world of takers waiting in the wings. BTW, while the download, etc. is not yet available, they ARE working on a printer that should be available soon. If Gates bought into it, it has a future. Trust me.


(BTW, Junior, I used to be Trekster. Changed my I.D. so I'd be the same on all the places I post. So you know I'm a fan. Just haven't dropped in here for awhile.)

junior - 08:33pm Jun 26, 1997 PST (#39 of 41)
Hello Stargazer! |
Well we got another free upgrade yesterday. It took about 15 minutes to 'download over the phone' to the flashROM of the WebTV terminal and when it was over, we had Shockwave audio, Karaoke midi, R.A. 3.0, the printing capabilities, Secure Sockets Layer for online transactions, java and frames-abilities among other yet undiscovered goodies. Most of the improvements increase our access to sites, speed-wise and specialty-wise. Less than 2 weeks ago, a server-side upgrade (poof there it was in the morning) allowed us to categorize our bookmarks in folders and choose our own ISP. Hmmmmmmm. You pay only $9.95 to WebTV (instead of $19.95) and get to use your service provider with local access. (Thought that little tidbit might intrigue you) All of these enhancements came at no extra cost to me and virtually bug-free. Seamless integration of software, hardware and me! Can't wait to see what they will spring on us next. P.S. Great to touch base again and the offer is still open for URLs when you get your box.

loisb - 07:47am Jul 8, 1997 PST (#40 of 41) Retired but not in place
I have not seen web tv but some people at chuch have it and used it to show a group of committee people our church web page. Out of this I got a volunteer to help with the pages. Yeah for web tv.

Adam - 12:39am Jul 10, 1997 PST (#41 of 41) Adam Meyerson, Producer, Tech Central
I've had a web TV here for about two weeks. I've got to say that I am totally blown away. For it's intended purpose (web and email) it's amazing and a godsend for folks that don't want or need more - Really easy to setup and use... Look for my feature story on Web TV on Aug 6th - right here on Third Age.

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