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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • WebTV-Capable ISP Ranks in Japan to Rise to 14 Companies
  • October 21, 1998 (TOKYO) -- An increasing number of Internet service providers (ISPs) in Japan are offering Internet services for both personal computers and television sets.
    The number of ISPs offering WebTV services increased by eight companies to 14 companies recently.

    WebTV is a network service using TV provided by WebTV Networks KK. By connecting a specially made WebTV terminal to a TV set, a user can browse through home pages, and send and receive email containing pictures, for example.

    When the WebTV service first started, the only type of service available was for users to tap into a special access point for 15-hour service at the monthly fee of 2,000 yen (US$17.50).

    Then, a new service called "OpenISP service" started in late June of this year for people who are already using an ISP, where the user can use a provider at large and use WebTV as well. The fee is set at one half of the regular fee, at 1,000 yen per month, for as many hours as the user wishes.

    This time, eight companies joined as providers recommended for OpenISP, bringing the total to 14 providers. The additional ISPs began to provide this service from Oct. 1.

    It is expected that WebTV terminals will be released by a number of makers as well. At the present time, the only WebTV terminal available is from Sony Corp. If the user purchases the Sony terminal with a keyboard (sold separately), the combined price comes to about 40,000 yen (US$350).

    What is drawing attention is Sega Enterprises Ltd.'s new "Dreamcast" game machine scheduled to be released on Nov. 27. Sega is planning to distribute software that makes it possible to enjoy WebTV with Dreamcast, free of charge.

    Similarly, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. exhibited a sample WebTV terminal at the Electronics Show '98, which was held in Osaka in October.

    Related stories:
    � Pioneer, Matsushita Exhibit New Set-Top Box Products
    � Sega to Introduce Dreamcast Video Game Machine on Nov. 27

    (Nikkei Netnavigator)

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    Updated: Tue Oct 20 18:49:52 1998 PDT