Op n' Ed

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By Dexter Davenport
(May 23, 1999)

As you probably know by now, Steve Perlman has done it yet again. He opened his mouth to the popular media and started talking about us WebTVers behind our backs. He said that the majority of us wanted WebTV because of the Interactive Television features.


I bought the WebTV Classic. The only Interactivity I see in my TV programs is that they annoy me and I change the channel.

I'll admit, when the Plus came out, I got one of those too, partly because of the electronic program guide (EPG) and partly because I was interested in the promise of Interactive Television.

But a promise was all it was. A broken promise. (WebTV also promised me You Don't Know Jack. They lied.) The EPG was great, but there were no ITV functions for the first year. I bought WebTV Plus because I thought it would offer improved Internet features that weren't possible on the Classic because it lacks enough memory or a hard drive.

We were always given these excuses whenever we asked WebTV why we couldn't do This Cool Thing or another. They would say, "WebTV can't play QuickTime or RealAudio G2 because that would require more memory and a hard drive."

Well, we have a hard drive and more memory, but our Internet browsing hasn't improved much. We still can't play Java-based games or view streaming video or listen to most streaming audio. WebTV is several years behind the PC in its Internet browsing software.

So now we see another example of why this is so. Steve Perlman (and the rest of the company) is so enamoured over television that the company has retroactively decided that they were always about Interactive television in the first place. Well that may be but, that isn't how they sold it to us.

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