Microsoft picks UK partner for trial of WebTV

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MICROSOFT and British Telecom yesterday linked up for the first time when WebTV, the Microsoft subsidiary which specialises in providing internet over the television, chose BT's internet business to support a trial of WebTV in the UK, writes Peter Thal Larsen.

Several hundred BT customers will be furnished with a set-top box, manufactured by Pace Micro Technology and Sony, and a connection to BT Internet, allowing them access to the internet from their televisions. WebTV is hoping the trial, which will last for about five months, will give it an idea of how British consumers will take to the system.

WebTV has proved popular in the US, where 300,000 viewers are connected to the service. Because the set-top boxes only cost a few hundred dollars, the system is a relatively cheap way to connect to the internet.