One Year Ago: WebTV devices' time is years away - Forrester

This story first published May 1, 1997
Written by Martin Veitch, Contributor

Microsoft may have paid close on half a million dollars for WebTV but a leading researcher doesn't believe the category will be worth much until the new millennium.

WebTV and like devices won't reach one million in sales until the year 2000, according to Forrester Research, a Masschusetts, US analyst. "Web browsing is not enough to attract today's TV viewers," said Josh Bernoff, senior analyst at the firm. "It will take three years for the industry to create hardware and content that can deliver what consumers really want -- interactivity that enhances their television experience."

Forrester said that content providers are not optimising for WebTV devices because they don't offer critical mass, "creating a severe chicken and egg problem". However, Forrester sees brighter interactive days ahead when Internet phones with screens and better content on WebTV and similar services allow users to quickly dial into appropriate content such as directories, weather reports and food deliveries.

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