WebTV Networks and EchoStar Communications Introduce First Internet TV Satellite Product and Service
Jan. 07, 1999
Offering Provides Consumers With Digital Video Record and Playback, Internet and E-Mail, Video Games, Enhanced Satellite TV Viewing

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 7, 1999 — WebTV Networks, Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp. at CES today announced the Microsoft® WebTV Network ™ Plus service for satellite and the EchoStar Model 7100 satellite receiver, the world's first Internet TV service available through satellite. Scheduled to be available this spring, the combined service and product will revolutionize the TV viewing experience by integrating the DISH Network's digital satellite television programming with the Internet TV experience from WebTV Networks, including digital video recording (DVR), advanced electronic program guide (EPG), broadband data delivery and video games.

New TV Features

The EchoStar 7100 satellite receiver is the world's first satellite receiver with a built-in ultrafast, multigigabyte hard drive, capable of recording and playing back simultaneously full-quality digital video. The disk drive makes possible a number of enhanced digital TV features, including TV Pause ("freezing" a TV show for up to 30 minutes, and resuming when the subscriber is ready to watch again), DVR (automatic recording of several hours of high-quality digital video) and downloadable video games. The DVR feature is planned to be available at the end of the year as a WebTV ™ Plus and EchoStar service upgrade.

"The EchoStar 7100 satellite receiver is a milestone in the history of television," said Steve Perlman, president and co-founder of WebTV Networks. "The satellite's broadband delivery capability, combined with a massive disk drive, frees viewers from a fixed TV broadcast schedule, allowing them to watch what they want, when they want. This capability is seamlessly integrated with the WebTV Plus service, expanding the viewing experience with high-speed Internet access and interactive television. This product is the world's first glimpse of 21st century television."

Advanced EPG and ATVEF Compatibility

The EchoStar 7100 offers a rich EPG that provides new features such as the TV Search capability, giving viewers the power to easily find subjects of interest from the detailed TV show listings. This advanced EPG also links Internet content with programming found in TV Listings, providing easily accessible program-related information at the touch of a button. TV Listings provides programming information up to seven days in advance, while the TV Recent feature saves thumbnail pictures of the last six channels viewed. Content creators will be able to design enhanced programming, delivered via satellite to all types of broadcast receivers that comply with a proposed specification by the Advanced Television Enhancement Forum (ATVEF). Broad industry adoption of the ATVEF specification will enable television viewers to enjoy interactive television programming on a wide variety of compliant receivers and accelerate the market for ITV products and services.

EchoStar's Newest Satellite Receiver

The EchoStar 7100 is a state-of-the-art DISH Network satellite receiver that provides customers with access to over 300 channels, including broadcast networks, sports, international and pay-per-view programming, in crystal-clear digital video and CD-quality audio, with Dolby Digital output included. This set-top box features a printer port for printing out TV Listings of upcoming shows or e-mail messages, and provides parental blocking capabilities, allowing parents to control access to Web sites and TV programs. In addition, the picture-in-picture capability lets viewers surf the Web and watch TV simultaneously. They can automatically program their video cassette recorder to record any show they choose, up to seven days out, with the press of a button on the remote control. The EchoStar 7100 can be upgraded by the DISH Network and WebTV Network service at any time via satellite. It will have a suggested retail price of $499.

"WebTV Networks and EchoStar have taken a huge step forward in designing the future of television," said Charlie Ergen, CEO and chairman of EchoStar. "WebTV Networks and EchoStar deliver a user interface within the EchoStar 7100 that makes it easy for television viewers to surf the Web, send e-mail or watch the best programming in satellite television."

Internet Experience

The WebTV Plus service for satellite is a broadband-enhanced version of the WebTV Plus service, the leading Internet TV offering worldwide. The WebTV Plus service provides an easy-to-use, robust Internet experience, offering up to six e-mail accounts and child-protection features. The EchoStar 7100 supports popular multimedia e-mail features in the WebTV Network service, allowing a subscriber to easily plug in a camcorder and send pictures and audio clips through e-mail. The WebTV Plus service for satellite will offer a variety of games such as Id Software Inc.'s "Doom," which can be updated with new gameplay features each month. The WebTV Plus service for satellite will be offered for $24.95 per month.

About EchoStar

EchoStar Communications Corp. includes three interrelated business units. DISH Network is a state-of-the-art DBS system that currently serves more than 1.8 million customers with more than 300 channels of digital video and CD-quality audio programming, fully MPEG-2/DVB compliant hardware, installation, financing and leasing. It is located on the Internet at http://www.dishnetwork.com/ . EchoStar Technologies Corp. (ETC) designs, manufactures and distributes DBS set-top boxes, antennas and other digital equipment for DISH Network and international customers. ETC also provides uplink center design, construction oversight and project integration services. Satellite Services delivers video, audio and data services - including satellite uplink and satellite transponder space usage - to business television and other customers. Satellite Services also administers SKY VISTA, a direct broadcast satellite service offering up to 27 channels of popular digital satellite television programming to viewers in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories in the Caribbean. DISH Network is a trademark of EchoStar Communications Corp.

About WebTV Networks

WebTV Networks, Inc., the leading Internet TV service, operates the WebTV Network service and designs WebTV-based Internet Terminals and Receivers. The WebTV Network service is available in the United States, Canada and Japan and has nearly 700,000 subscribers. WebTV Networks, Inc., based in Mountain View, Calif., is a subsidiary of Microsoft Corp

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, WebTV Network and WebTV are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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