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(Japanese Site)

  • WebTV Net Japan to Offer Print Function, Faster Modem
  • April 16, 1998 (TOKYO) -- WebTV Networks K.K. of Japan announced that it will offer new functions for its WebTV Internet service from June.
    Newly added functions are: printing of the displayed image; email editing with still images and voice attachments; access to chat or news groups; restrictions on access to Web sites; indication of the total access time of the user; and a modem upgrade from 33.6kbps to 56kbps.

    Software exclusively for WebTV will be upgraded through the Internet. Members will just switch on their WebTV terminal or set-top box, and the software will be automatically upgraded in about 15 minutes. The upgrade service will start late in June.

    Images displayed on the screen can be printed with a "BJ Printer" of Canon Inc. or an "HP DeskJet 694C" of Hewlett-Packard Japan Ltd. Those printers can be connected to a serial port in the set- top box. More printers will be available for WebTV later. Still images and voice message can be attached to emails through a digital camera and a microphone connected to the set-top box in the same way.

    WebTV started to provide the Internet services in December 1997. The access charge for up to 15 hours a month costs 2,000 yen (US$15), and an additional charge is 5 yen (4 cents) per minute.

    The company has not disclosed the total number of WebTV subscribers.

    "The current number of our members is satisfactory, and we don't have to change our initial target of 150,000 in a year and 1 million members in three years," said President Yoshifumi Mamiya.

    Sony Corp.'s INT-WJ200 is available as a set-top box for WebTV. It is priced at 45,000 yen (US$346). Other manufacturers will introduce WebTV set-top boxes this year.

    Sales agents and representatives will be increased to 3,000 this summer and 5,000-6,000 by the end of 1998, from 1,500 as of late March, the company said.

    (BizTech Editorial Dept.)

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    Nikkei BP BizTech, Inc.
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    Updated: Wed Apr 15 14:08:04 1998