Local News

WebTV for Windows: Only a Click Away

Posted October 14, 1998

— With the release ofWindows 98and a new video card featuring a TV tuner, users can watch television on their computers. Now, WRAL OnLine is helpingMicrosoftwith an experimental new service that will bring interactive features to television viewing on a computer.

WebTVhas been around a few years and is growing in popularity. WebTV is also a part of Microsoft. Microsoft askedCapitol Broadcasting Companyand WRAL OnLine to be a pilot partner inWeb TV for Windows.

"You could leverage the content that is on your Web site and use that same content as part of this interactive TV program," WRAL OnLine Services ManagerJohn Conwaysaid.

WRAL OnLine offers a number of Web cams and streaming video of the nightly newscasts, but with this new technology, people could watch regular television at any time on their computer.

Users cannot do this at home now, but with the right equipment, a person will be able to launch WebTV for Windows. Windows 98, a TV tuner card and cable or an antenna are required.

Users do not need an Internet connection to receive the interactive information. The data is sent over the air, and users with the right tuner card will receive all the information that is being sent.

An icon indicates if the TV station has interactive information being broadcasted. Once the user clicks on the icon, an interactive bar appears along the left side and bottom of the television program.

"People can have a frame open with Microsoft Word, flip over and catch what's happening with your favorite program, then click to get the latest weather forecast or sports scores," Conway said.

The information is embedded in the TV signal. A user will be able to catch the latest news headlines, or check the Doppler 5000 at any time, while browsing the five day forecast.

There are also big marketing opportunities with interactive ads.

WebTV for Windows is available now if you have the right hardware and software (Windows98 is required) and if you live in an area where interactive content is being broadcast. In Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill,FOX50, which is managed by Capitol Broadcasting Co., is currently offering interactive content.

Capitol Broadcasting Company is one of only 18 broadcasters that Microsoft is working with on WebTV for Windows.

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