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TV listings switch channels to PCs

Phoenix Technologies and TV Host go to the Web to take aim at TV Guide.

    In the rapidly emerging market for PC-TVs, Phoenix Technologies and TV Host today entered an agreement that the companies say will one day make the printed version of TV Guide obsolete.

    Phoenix Technologies has agreed to market to PC-TV equipment manufacturers an online version of TV Host's monthly television guide called Electronic TV Host.

    So far, TV Host says three major vendors have signed up to bundle ETV with their systems, including Gateway 2000, maker of the Destination PC intended to replace and improve the TV by letting users watch television, surf the Net, and play games all with the same device. The software is available directly from the TV Host Web site anyway, but the company is hoping to become a standard for such guides by being bundled with the PC-TV itself.

    The deal is an indication of companies not traditionally affiliated with the computer industry who believe that the long-anticipated convergence of the personal computer and the television set is on the verge of becoming reality. As a new kind of consumer electronic device, the companies are betting that PC-TVs will demand not only new equipment but also new content accessories such as electronic TV guides.

    Electronic TV Host lets users customize their electronic TV guide, block access to selected channels, play interactive crossword puzzles, and read weekly editorial features and interviews about television and movie stars.

    Electronic TV Host is currently available to Windows users for $29.95 for a six-month subscription or $49.95 for one year. A Macintosh version is expected to ship during the first quarter of 1997.

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