The devices also let viewers send and receive email using a handheld remote control. The Sanyo and Samsung deals follow last week's announcement by Sharp to sell a 27-inch Internet TV for about $3,000. Last week, WebTVsaid it would charge $19.95 a month for its service, and Bandai Entertainment today confirmed that it would use a custom browser by Spyglass for its Pippin Internet TV product, which was developed by Apple Computer.
The spate of announcements show that the idea of surfing the Web on TV--once dismissed as just another hyped high-tech fantasy--is on the verge of becoming a reality. Internet TVs could account for 10 percent of the wide-screen television market by the end of the decade, according to some estimates.
Sanyo will start selling Internet TVs in Japan on October 25 for as little as $1,000. It plans to sell 7,000 21-inch TVs per month and 3,000 per month of a 28-inch model.
Samsung Electronics plans to start selling its Net TV product in South Korea this fall and expects to begin exports to the United States by 1997.