WebTV: Ads Without Net

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Microsoft WebTV Networks Inc. said it will soon send its subscribers a
software upgrade that will allow them to view interactive ads without connecting
to the Internet.

The feature -- which WebTV said it developed with Wink Communications Inc. --
creates a secure wallet that stores ordering information such as name, address
and credit-card information on WebTV receivers. Cached ordering information is
sent through the WebTV network in off hours, rather than when the viewer is
watching television.

A key drawback of the current WebTV system is that it requires subscribers to
connect to the Internet in order to view an interactive ad. Often, the ads
viewers see on their televisions have ended by the time the 'WebTV Plus'
receiver connects to the Internet to view the interactive element.

WebTV said its WebTV Plus subscribers will receive a software upgrade that
will enable the new feature next month.

The company said the new interactive-ad capability will also be added to the
Microsoft 'UltimateTV' service, which is available through DirecTV Inc.'s
direct-broadcast satellite system.

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