Microsoft Rolls Out ‘MSN TV 2’

Microsoft Corp.’s MSN TV unit debuted its “MSN TV 2 Internet & Media Player” Tuesday.

The broadband-home-network-enabled device is manufactured by Thomson Consumer Electronics under the RCA brand. Microsoft said the MSN TV 2 is currently shipping and should be available at consumer-electronics retailers by midmonth.

MSN TV 2 includes a wireless keyboard and remote control and has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $199.95 plus a subscription fee ranging from $9.95 monthly or $99.95 annually for users who connect through their own broadband service to $21.95 monthly or $199.95 annually for dial-up users.

With MSN TV 2’s new version of the MSN TV service, broadband households can access Windows Media-compatible music, video and photos from the Web or shared from files on their networked PCs on their televisions.

Subscribers can also choose from hundreds of news, sports and entertainment video clips updated daily from leading content providers and play them back on their TVs automatically.

The service includes access to 200 commercial-free radio stations; a primary MSN electronic-mail account with 2 gigabytes of storage; 10 secondary e-mail accounts with 250 megabytes of storage; and constantly updated spam protection.

Driven by Intel Corp.’s 733-megahertz “Celeron” chip set, MSN TV 2 includes 128 MB of RAM and 64 MB of flash memory. The unit is equipped with an Ethernet port and two universal-serial-bus ports for accessories such as digital-media-card readers, wireless-network adapters and printers.

Based on Microsoft’s “Windows CE” operating system, MSN TV 2 comes preloaded with “Windows Media Player for TV,” Microsoft “Internet Explorer 6” technology and “Windows Media Connect,” a new Microsoft technology for sharing media across a home network.

MSN TV 2 also includes a 56-kilobit-per-second phone modem so current MSN TV dial-up users can upgrade to the new system.