Philips AOLTV review: Philips AOLTV

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CNET Editors' Rating

1 stars Terrible
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Send e-mail or chat online while watching TV; convenient TV program guide; easy VCR programming interface.

The Bad Expensive monthly service charges; makes for sluggish and confusing channel surfing; interminable setup process.

The Bottom Line This set-top box ruins the TV-watching experience and adds only rudimentary Internet functions.

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Philips, in partnership with America Online, created a set-top box for AOL subscribers to access AOL's e-mail, chat, and Internet services from their TVs. Unfortunately, though America Online might be the king of easy Internet access, it clearly doesn't understand how people watch TV. By reshuffling your TV channels and inserting special, slow-loading AOLTV channels into the lineup, this box makes a major chore of channel surfing. In short, avoid this add-on at all costs. Philips, in partnership with America Online, created a set-top box for AOL subscribers to access AOL's e-mail, chat, and Internet services from their TVs. Unfortunately, though America Online might be the king of easy Internet access, it clearly doesn't understand how people watch TV. By reshuffling your TV channels and inserting special, slow-loading AOLTV channels into the lineup, this box makes a major chore of channel surfing. In short, avoid this add-on at all costs.

Hooking up the various cables between the set-top box and the TV, VCR, and cable boxes was pretty simple, thanks to a graphically clear instruction book. However, the included 6-foot phone cord that connects the box's 56kbps modem to the wall was too short--a very poor place to cut corners. We like that the box includes a parallel printer port, a USB port, and audio-in and -out ports for system expansions. However, you're most likely to rely on the bundled wireless keyboard and a remote control similar to others you already own.

You've got headaches
Plugging things in is just the beginning. If you're already an AOL subscriber, you can sign up for AOLTV service for $15 per month. New subscribers will need to shell out $25 each month. Once you've emptied your wallet, the AOLTV service requires more than an hour and a half of mind-numbing setup time to program TV channel lineups and to download AOLTV updates; you'll want to order dinner before it starts hogging your phone line.

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Where to Buy

Philips AOLTV

Part Number: WVH111
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Type AOL TV
  • Type Web TV receiver