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MSN TV to close this autumn

Microsoft has said it will shut down its MSN TV service this September, due to competition from an ever-increasing number of connected TV devices now on the market that do a similar job.

Previously known as WebTV, MSN TV was bought by Microsoft from entrepreneur Steve Perlman for US$ 425mn back in 1997, before eventually being rebranded in 2001.

MSN TV includes a thin-client computer device which attaches to a TV and turns it into a basic PC, and a range of associated services such as web access and email.

Writing on the MSN TV website, Microsoft said: “WebTV (later called MSN TV) started in 1996 with the goal to bring new people ‘online’ and to give those already online an easy, hassle-free means of accessing the internet from the comfort of their homes.

“Since then, the web has continued to evolve at a breathtaking pace, and there are many new ways to access the internet. Accordingly, we have made the difficult decision to end the MSN TV service on September 30th, 2013. We are working with our customers to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible.”

Existing customers are being encouraged to upgrade their email account to Outlook.com, save any favourites and Scrapbook photos to SkyDrive, and archive any published Page Builder web pages that they wish to save.

A page with the answers to some frequently asked questions has been set up for existing MSN TV users here.

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