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Pippin browser for TV

Bandai releases an easy-to-use browser from Spyglass for Pippin@World, a product that lets viewers surf the Net on television.

Bandai Digital Entertainment announced the release of an easy-to-use browser from Spyglass for Pippin@World, a product that lets viewers surf the Net on television.

In addition, sources said, the company is drawing up a marketing plan that would let consumers buy the product through a toll-free number. Such direct marketing has been a big success for many computer makers, such as Gateway and Dell Computer.

As reported by CNET last week, the product, dubbed the @World Browser, is meant to make static text look clear on television from couch-viewing distances--a major hurdle for companies banking on the convergence of the TV set and the personal computer.

Competition will be stiff for Bandai, however, as a number of rivals such as WebTV are launching similar products. Apple Computer developed Pippin's operating system.

Bandai also is expected to incorporate the SurfWatch software from Spyglass that lets adults filter Net content, the sources said. The browser has an onscreen keyboard that provides one-button access to the Net.

The licensing agreement is a major coup for Spyglass in the burgeoning market for browsers that let you surf the Net on TV. Netscape Communications just announced that it is entering the market with a newly formed company, Navio.

Pippin@world is expected to launch this fall. The price has been estimated around $599, with a six-month unlimited Internet account from PSINet for $24.95 per month.