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EspriTV Bows Internet TV at CES

LAS VEGAS -Following the lead of Zenith Electronics Corp. and Thomson Multimedia, EspriTV Inc. introduced a new set-top-free, Internet-enabled television at the 2001 Consumer Electronics Show here.

Los Angeles-based EspriTV said its 27-inch, flat-screen model will launch commercially this summer in the U.S. and carry a suggested retail price of $998. The company's 16-inch entry will go for $798.

EspriTV plans to introduce a line of Internet televisions for Europe by late 2001 or early 2002, a company spokesman said.

Supporting cable, digital subscriber line and narrowband, dial-up connections, EspriTV's sets will house software created in conjunction with Planetweb Inc. that handles HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and Sun Microsystems Inc.'s "JavaScript."

Sega of America's "Dreamcast" game consoles also use Planetweb's browser.

The company's TV sets also feature browser-in-picture and picture-in-browser functions, which are manipulated by specially made wireless keyboards and remote controls.

Late last year, Zenith said it planned to introduce a similar, 27-inch set next year for roughly $600 that uses Wind River's "VxWorx" operating system and OpenTV Inc.'s "Spyglass" Web browser. Thomson Multimedia, meanwhile, announced a line of TVs that incorporate Microsoft Corp.'s "Microsoft TV" software for a service rollout in France and Germany.