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Culture

Microsoft wants more remote control

The software giant expands distribution of its MSN TV Internet service that gives people access to the Web and e-mail through their TV sets.

    Microsoft has expanded distribution of its MSN TV Internet service to several major retailers.

    The company said the RCA RM2100 Internet receiver that enables the service now is available in stores and on Web sites of companies such as CompUSA, Fry's Electronics, Amazon.com, J&R Music & Computer World, BrandsMart and Abt Electronics.

    The service gives people access to the Internet and e-mail through their TV sets. The receiver includes a wireless keyboard and remote and costs about $99. People also must subscribe to the MSN TV service to access the Web.

    MSN TV receivers have been available in retail stores Best Buy and Circuit City since 2001, but the new distribution deals represent a significant expansion. The move comes as other companies have scaled back or dropped their interactive TV plans altogether.

    MSN TV general manager Sam Klepper said in a statement that the technology is designed to target "Internet newcomers looking for an easy-to-use and affordable way to enjoy the benefits of the Web and e-mail."

    Microsoft acquired the MSN TV technology when it bought WebTV in 1997.