Net surfing on television is coming to Europe.
NetChannel today launched its
Internet TV service in the United Kingdom and began distributing its
device at stores such as London's tony Harrods department store. Only last
month, the company began launching the product in the United States.
U.S. Internet companies increasingly are accelerating their assault on
Europe because of the high growth potential for Net-related businesses.
WebTV, which also provides email and Net surfing via TV, is in a beta trial
in Europe, a spokesman said today.
NetChannel's set-top box, made by NetProducts in the United Kingdom, sells
for about $480 (or 300 British pounds), a company spokeswoman said.
Net access costs about $24 per month (or about 15 pounds), she added.
NetChannel's U.K. programming partners include Associated Newspapers, B&Q,
Condé Nast, and the Independent and United Newspapers, among others.
According to NetChannel, the main barrier to mass market penetration of the
Net in the U.K. is a perception that computers are "too complicated and
The flip side, according to critics of these devices, is that they provide
too few features and that many PCs now are entering the market priced at
less than $1,000.
The launch of these devices in Europe closely follows a similar trend by
ISPs and Net backbone providers to expand into the European market. Those
companies include America Online, CompuServe, and UUNet, among others.