Cool Toy - NetStation TV web browser.

WebTV might be the best known of the ’internet through your TV’ set-top boxes, but another company, Net Products, has beaten WebTV to market in the UK. Net Products’ NetStation was launched in July in Harrods and Tempo stores, as well as in the Innovations catalogue, and should have at least a six month head start in trying to gain consumer interest and sales. The company, set up by venture capitalist Hermann Hauser, one of the founders of Acorn Computers, is aiming to get up to 30,000 of the boxes into UK living rooms this year.

WebTV might be the best known of the ’internet through your TV’

set-top boxes, but another company, Net Products, has beaten WebTV to

market in the UK. Net Products’ NetStation was launched in July in Harrods

and Tempo stores, as well as in the Innovations catalogue, and should have

at least a six month head start in trying to gain consumer interest and

sales. The company, set up by venture capitalist Hermann Hauser, one of

the founders of Acorn Computers, is aiming to get up to 30,000 of the

boxes into UK living rooms this year.



The NetStation gives access to the world wide web and email through

NetChannel, which claims to be Europe’s first mass-market television

internet service provider. In addition to basic access, NetChannel

provides a number of ’channels’ dedicated to areas such as sport, family

and entertainment.



UKPlus is the default NetChannel search engine.



The NetStation is aimed at the high proportion of consumers who might like

to use the web and email but feel daunted either by the cost or the

difficulty of computers and wouldn’t normally buy one.



If internet set-top boxes like the NetStation catch on, they should play

an important role in extending the penetration of access to the internet -

primarily the web. High sales of set-top boxes will also bring about a

shift in how many consumers use the web. The move from the desktop to the

living room may bring a shift from a private, information-seeking activity

to a communal, family, entertainment-focused one. There is also plenty of

scope for services similar to those currently accessed through Teletext,

but with the benefit of instant feedback, data capture and limited

multimedia capability.



Setting up the NetStation is relatively easy, certainly compared to

setting up internet access on a desktop computer - as long as you have a

standard telephone system, as most households do.



Control and navigation is, rather laboriously, through a TV-type remote

control and an optional (at extra cost) infra-red wireless keyboard. The

connection to the internet is still through a standard modem and telephone

line.



Using the NetStation can also be somewhat tedious because few web sites

are optimised for viewing on a TV screen. Unless you have the keyboard,

simple tasks such as online registration can be extremely slow.



The current NetStation cannot access web sites which use Java or

Javascript, although the company says this will change in future

versions.





Product: NetStation



Manufacturer: Net Products



Distributor: Harrods and Tempo stores



Price: œ299.99



NetChannel subscription: œ14.95 per month.



Become a member of Campaign from just £51 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk , plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an alert now

Partner content