After a 16 year run, Microsoft has finally decided to shut down its interactive tv-service MSNTV.
MSNTV, which began its life in the mid-90’s as WebTV, was one of the first set-top boxes available that would offer you internet through your television. The pioneering service will shut down on September 30th, and to ease the transition for customers, Mircosoft is offering MSN Premium for free to all affected users until December 31st (MSN Premium is not compatible with MSNTV hardware though, understandably).
When WebTV premiered, it offered web-based email and surfing via a wireless keyboard. It was re-branded in 2001 to MSN TV in order to integrate it with services such as MSN Messenger and Hotmail. For a while, it even offered the interactive tv service for free to new MSN Online service users. Still, it struggled to get traction, but with Apple’s set-top boxes gaining popularity and the Xbox consoles taking priority, Microsoft has decided to pull the plug.
It was probably time for it to go anyway, as it’s dial-up, 640×480 view of the web isn’t exactly cutting edge any more. A good deal of people probably aren’t even aware it still exists (or existed at all). Still, for those who do, and use the service, they will have to copy their content to SkyDrive and add their email addresses to Outlook if they want to keep them.